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Energia Men’s All-Ireland League: Division 2B Previews

Energia Men’s All-Ireland League: Division 2B Previews

Greystones remain the team to beat in Division 2B, with six wins out of six so far ©Greystones RFC

It is top versus bottom in Division 2B as Greystones make the trip to Galwegians, while a tasty top-four clash between Sligo and Belfast Harlequins should draw a big crowd to Strandhill.

ENERGIA MEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE – DIVISION 2B:

ROUND 7: Saturday, November 27

Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –

DUNGANNON (5th) v BALLINA (8th), Stevenson Park

It is no coincidence that all three of Dungannon’s wins so far have come at home. They look well capable of making it a fourth here, but only if they have learned the lessons of last week’s heavy loss out west.

Conceding seven tries and 52 points to Galway Corinthians will have certainly dented their confidence. Third-from-bottom Ballina will put it up to them, as they continue to fight for every point.

Centre Calum Quinn is averaging a try every round for the Moy men, with winger Bradley Nealon opening his account with a brace against Wanderers. Out-half Craig McCormick has kicked 31 points.

* Unfortunately due to Covid-19 concerns, the decision has been taken to call off the Dungannon v Ballina match. The game will not be re-fixed.

As with Covid-19 affected matches, both teams are awarded tw0 league points and a 0-0 scoreline will be entered.

GALWEGIANS (10th) v GREYSTONES (1st), Crowley Park

The form book points to a decent away win here, but Galwegians are always a tough nut to crack in Glenina. Just ask Belfast Harlequins who scraped to a 16-14 victory over the Blues three weeks ago.

Greystones had their own battle with ‘Quins last week, emerging as 13-9 winners. It was a thorough test of ‘Stones’ title credentials, with their well-organised defence a huge factor in the result.

With a local derby looming large on the horizon, Galwegians will want to bring some momentum forward. However, ‘Stones’ razor-sharp attack, marshalled by top scorer Killian Marmion (87 points), will take some stopping.

MALAHIDE (9th) v GALWAY CORINTHIANS (6th), Estuary Road

With the league season now a third of the way through, Malahide gave themselves a timely boost last week with their maiden win. It was a long time coming, but a Mick McGrath brace helped to see off ‘Wegians.

Nonetheless, Galway Corinthians look in rude health at the minute with Cathal Forde and Matthew Devine starring behind a dynamic pack. Ireland Under-20 centre Forde has scored 45 points in the last two rounds alone.

As Corinthians climb back within reach of the top four, head coach JP Cooney commented: “It’s another huge game, we need results. If we want to be in the mixer come the business end of the season, these are the games where we need results.”

* Unfortunately due to Covid-19 concerns, the decision has been taken to call off the Malahide v Galway Corinthians. The game will not be re-fixed.

An allocation of league points and the scoreline applied will be determined at a later stage.

SLIGO (4th) v BELFAST HARLEQUINS (3rd), Hamilton Park

Sligo’s challenge for promotion is gathering pace, with their new head coach Josh Reeves doing the business both on and off the pitch. His match-winning kick against Blackrock could be huge come the end of the season.

Reeves’ charges are unbeaten in four matches, but this is a big test for them as Neil Doak’s Belfast Harlequins come to town, battle-hardened from last week’s duel with Greystones.

Only a point separates these two sides in the table. One area that the James McKinney-led Harlequins are keen to improve on is their rate of scoring. They are only the seven highest scorers across the division.

WANDERERS (2nd) v BLACKROCK COLLEGE (7th), Merrion Road

This is Wanderers’ second Dublin derby of the league campaign – they dispatched Malahide 40-10 on Halloween weekend – and a must-win contest if they are to prevent Greystones from pulling away at the summit.

Three tries in six first half minutes against Ballina showed how devastating Wanderers can be in attack. Injuries picked up by Cian Doddy, one of their try scorers, and Geoff Mullan are a concern.

Blackrock may be seventh in the standings, but there is only a six-point gap to Wanderers in second. Captain Brian Colclough continues to lead by example in midfield, popping up with some crucial scores.