It was a disappointing weekend for the Ulster clubs in Round 17 of the Ulster Bank All Ireland League with one round left to play this weekend. Out of the six Ulster teams competing for league titles and playoffs only Ballynahinch managed a 14 – 14 draw with Old Wesley at Donnybrook. Banbridge lost 32 – 31 at UCC, Malone lost 26 -24 away to Highfield. City of Armagh lost 39 – 36 at home to Galwegians. Rainey OB lost 15 – 6 at home to Navan RFC and Omagh lost 13 – 7 away to Midleton. Out of the four teams that travelled to Cork only Ballymena won at Dolphin with Banbridge, Malone and Omagh all losing despite picking up a losing bonus point. Queens Uni ended their nine match losing run in the UBL by winning 35 – 30 away to Nenagh Ormond in County Tipperary. For the six Ulster teams at home City of Armagh, Rainey OB and Dungannon lost with Belfast Harlequins winning the Ulster derby 56 – 17 at home to struggling City of Derry. Bangor added to the poor results in the UBL by losing 13 – 6 at home to Seapoint. Not the results we were looking or expecting last weekend. Only two winners namely Ballymena and Queens Uni with Ballynahinch earning a draw at Old Wesley. What impact will these results have on the teams pursuing promotion as they complete their league programme this weekend. One encouraging result was the performance of Instonians in their opening Round Robin match holding on for a 24 – 24 draw away to All Ireland Junior Cup winners and Leinster league winners Ashbourne.
Last season Banbridge were winners of Div 2A with City of Armagh and Rainey OB coming through the playoffs to secure promotion. Omagh finished runners up in the Round Robin tournament and had to play Boyne in a Div 2C playoff to secure their place in the All Ireland league. Can either Ballynahinch or Banbridge and Malone secure automatic promotion this weekend. It would appear Rainey OB and Omagh will have to come through the playoffs to gain promotion. City of Armagh have an outside chance of making the playoffs with Ballymena needing a win to retain their place in Div 1B next season. It all makes for an exciting weekend as we conclude the Round 18 matches.
ULSTER BANK ALL IRELAND LEAGUE: RESULTS FROM ROUND 17: WEEKEND 7TH APRIL
Ballynahinch 14 Old Wesley 14
Team: 1. Campbell Classon, 2. Conor Piper, 3. Jerry Cronin, 4. Peter Browne, 5. John Donnan, 6. Jack Regan, 7. Zac Ward, 8. Conall Boomer, 9. Chris Gibson, 10. Peter nelson, 11. Richard Reaney, 12. Stuart Morrow, 13. Callum McLaughlin, 14. Aaron Cairns, 15. Conor Kelly, 16. Andrew Harper, 17. Jonny Blair, 18. James Simpson, 19. Josh Donaldson, 20. Ryan Wilson, 21. Paddy Wright.
Points s corers: Conall Boomer 1 x try, Richard Reaney 3 x pens.
Banbridge 31 UCC 32
Team: 1. Eric O’Sullivan, 2. Peter Cromie. 3. Michael Cromie, 4. Chris Allen, 5. Stephen Irvine, 6. Caleb Montgomery, 7. Nick Hayes, 8. Greg Jones, 9. Jason Gribben, 10. Johnny Little, 11. Adam Ervine (Captain), 12. James Hume, 13. Andrew Morrison, 14. Conor Field, 15. Adam Doherty, 16. Ross Haughey, 17. Stuart Cromie, 18. Mike Bentley, 19. Neil Kirkpatrick, 20. John Porter.
Points scorers: James Hume, Nick Hayes ,Andrew Morrison, Conor Field 1 x try each, Adam Doherty 4 x cons 1 x pen.
Ballymena 43 Dolphin 27
Team: 1. Josh Bill, 2. Adam McBurney, 3. Ross Kane, 4. David Whann, 5. Mark Foster, 6. Clive Ross (Captain), 7. Matthew Agnew, 8. James Gallagher, 9. Michael Stronge, 10. Brett Herron, 11. Dean Reynolds, 12. Alan Smyth, 13. Callum Patterson, 14. Glenn Baillie. 15. James Beattie, 16. James Taggart, 17. Chris Cundell, 18. Connor Smyth, 19. Ben O’Ryan, 20. Dominic Gallagher.
Points scorers: Clive Ross and Dominic Gallagher 2 x tries each. Adam McBurney and Alan Smyth 1 x try each. Brett Herron 5 x cons and 1 x pen.
Malone 24 Highfield 26.
Team: 1. Ben Halliday, 2. Dan Kerr, 3. Philip Eadie, 4. James McAllister, 5. Joe Dunleavy, 6. Dave Cave, 7. Ross Todd (Captain), 8. Ryan Clarke, 9. Connor Spence, 10. Callum Smith, 11. Michael Cartmill, 12. Nathan Brown, 13. Josh Pentland, 14. Rory Campbell, 15. Jack Owens, 16. Lee Barlow, 17. Neil Alcorn, 18. Daryl Maxwell, 19. Jack McMurtry, 20. Andy Bryans.
Points scorers: Michael Cartmill, Andy Bryans and Dan Kerr 1 x try each. Rory Campbell 3 x cons and 1 x pen.
City of Armagh 36 Galwegians 39
Team: 1. Simon Carlisle, 2. Andrew Smyth, 3. Paul Mullan, 4. Josh McKinley, 5. Peter Starrett, 6. Daryl Morton, 7. Robert Whitten, 8. Neil Faloon, 9. TC Campbell, 10. Cormac Fox, 11. Ryan Purvis, 12. Johnny Pollock, 13. Chris Colvin (Captain), 14. Andrew Willis, 15. Evan Crummie, 16. Jonathan Morton, 17. Philip Matthews, 18. James Morton, 19. Harry Doyle, 20. Ryan Faloon.
Points scorers: Evan Crummie 2 x tries, Andrew Smyth, Neil Faloon 1 x try each + penalty try. Cormac Fox 4 x cons and 1 x pen.
Queens University 35 Nenagh Ormond 30
Team: 1. Anton Lupari, 2. David Swann, 3. Andrew Clingan, 4, Marc Campbell, 5. David Whitten, 6. Nigel Simpson(Captain), 7. Jonny Lees, 8. Gary Dillon, 9. John Creighton, 10. Richie McMaster, 11. Mark Keane, 12. Rory Bell, 13. C Dundas, 14. Falenaka El Valve, 15. Jack Milligan, 16. Alexander Clarke, 17. Nicky Woods, 18. Jordan Southway, 19. Connor McKee, 20. Johnny Stewart.
Points scorers: Rory Bell, Jonny Lees, David Whitten and Johnny Stewart 1 x try each. Ritchie McMaster 5 x cons and 1 x try.
Rainey OB 6 Navan 15
Team: 1. Tommy O’Hagan, 2. Aidan McSwiggan, 3. Kieran Donaghy, 4. Ronan McCusker 5. John McCusker, 6. Timmy Barker, 7. Michael McCusker, 8. Darren Corrigan, 9. Jason Bloomfield, 10. Andrew Magrath, 11. Nicholas Sterling, 12. Jodie McMurray, 13. Damien McMurray, 14. Andrew Donaghy, 15. Oisin Quinn, 16. Andrew Harbinson, 17. Josh McIIroy.
Points scorers: Andrew Magrath 2 xpens
Dungannon 21 Sunday’s Well 31
Belfast Harlequins 56 City of Derry 17
Team: 1. Mark McGrath, 2. Steven Weir, 3. Richard Lutton, 4. Daniel Annett, 5. Callum Leckey, 6. Jaz Andress, 7. Daryl Marshall, 8. Toby Mannus, 9. David Devine, 10. Conor McAuley, 11. Peter Dunlop, 12. Matthew McKenzie, 13. Mark Glover, 14. Richard McKee, 15. Paul Kerr, 16. Rory Winters, 17. Thomas Gallagher, 18. Jonathan Siri, 19. Christian Bennison, 20. Mark Gribben.
Points scorers: Mark Glover and Conor McAuley 2 x tries each. Toby Mannus, Thomas Gallagher, Christian Bennison and Mark Gribben 1 x try each. Mattie McKenzie 5 x cons and 2 x pens.
City of Derry team: 1. Ross Harkin, 2. David Ferguson (Captain), 3. Rodney Hill, 4. Gerard Doherty, 5. Jack Townley, 6. Stephen Corr, 7. Jake McDevitt, 8. Adam Bratton, 9. Tiernan Thorton, 10. Alex McDonnell, 11. Jack Beattie, 12. David Graham, 13. Patrick Blennerhassett, 14. Conor Cummings, 15. Thomas Cole, 16. Ryan King Magee, 17. Barry Laverty, 18. Callum McDonnell, 19. Callum O’Hagan, 20. Craig Huey.
Omagh 7 Midleton 13
Team: 1.Peter Todd, 2. Adam Pollock, 3. Richard Smyth, 4. Johnny Sproule, 5. Jamie Sproule, 6. James Catterson, 7. Adam Longwell, 8. Matthew Clyde, 9. Stewart McCain (Captain), 10. Scott Elliott. 12. Luke Hanson, 13. Yonga Taleni, 14. Ryan Mitchell, 15. Eoin Murnaghan, 16. Philip Ewing, 17. Richard Hemphill, 18. Stewart Allen, 19. Scott Barr, 20. Stephen MacLaine.
Points scorers: Scott Barr 1 x try, Scott Elliott 1 x con.
Bangor 6 Seapoint 13
Team: 1.Andrew Shaw, 2. Coner McEvoy, 3. James Leary, 4. Lewis Stevenson, 5. Dave Caughey, 6. Mike Apsley, 7. Ethan Murray, 8. Jack Cooke, 9. Gareth Wright, 10. Mark Widdowson, 11. Desi Fusco (captain), 12. Mike weir, 13. Chris Jordan, 14. Charlie Blair, 15. Nathan Graham, 16. Evan Wellard – McMillan, 17. Charlie Clegg, 18. Matthew Nesbitt, 19. James Stewart, 20. Zac Kerr.
Points scorers: Mark Widdowson 2 x pens.
Instonians 24 Ashbourne 24
Team: 1. John Andress, 2. Conor Gallagher, 3. Alan Whitten, 4. Rory McCurry, 5. Roger Wilson, 6. Aaron Davis, 7. Josh Atkinson (Captain), 8. Ben Alexander, 9. Matthew Keane, 10. Fraser Wright, 11. Matthew Kilpatrick. 12. David Scott, 13.Ben Scott, 14. Michael Melville, 15. Gareth Burns Delaney, 16. Neil Saulters, 17. Francesco Mezzavilli, 18. Lewis McNamara, 19. Sean Shuttleworth, 20. Andrew Keane.
Points scorers; Matthew Kilpatrick 2 x tries, Ben Alexander 1 x try. Fraser Wright 3 x cons and 1 x pen.
BALLINA 45 BANDON 26, Heffernan Park
Scorers: Ballina: Tries: Marc Feeley 2, Kieran Lindsay 2, Daniel Molloy 2, Conor Mason; Cons: Kieran Lindsay 5
Bandon: Tries: Santiago Gonzalez 2, Scott Kingston, Gearoid Crowley; Cons: Kerry Desmond 3
HT: Ballina 26 Bandon 14
ASHBOURNE 24 INSTONIANS 24, Milltown House
Scorers: Ashbourne: Tries: Sean McKeon, Jack O’Brien, Colm Craigie, Ciaran Roche; Cons: Casey Dunne 2
Instonians: Tries: Ben Alexander, Matt Kilpatrick 2; Cons: Fraser Wright 3; Pen: Fraser Wright
HT: Ashbourne 7 Instonians 1
In Div 1B Shannon took advantage of points dropped by Ballynahinch and Banbridge to move one point ahead of Ballynahinch and two in front of Banbridge. Shannon play 4th Place UCC as the Cork students look to overtake 3rd place Banbridge and avoid St Mary’s College in the playoffs. Ballymena in 7th place find themselves locked in a battle with UL Bohemians, Old Wesley and Naas to avoid finishing in 9th place with two points separating these four teams.
In Div 2A Malone suffered the heartbreak of losing to a late converted try to lose 26 – 24 at Highfield. A win would have delivered the league title to Gibson Park. Paddy Armstrong’s side still have a three point advantage going into their final home game against Nenagh Ormond. City of Armagh need Malone to deny Nenagh Ormond any points and take maximum points at Greystones to make the playoffs. The win for Queens has secured their place in Div 2A next season.
In Div 2B Rainey OB will have an anxious weekend as they try to secure home advantage in their 2nd/3rd playoff match. Their loss at home to Navan has narrowed the gap between them and MU Barnhall to five points. Rainey travel to undefeated Old Crescent whilst Barnhall travel to play Sunday’s Well. Dungannon and their miserable run continued as they lost at home to Sunday’s Well. Head coach Andy Hughes will be looking his team to end their six match losing run. It is all about Belfast Harlequins continuing to build momentum for the playoffs after back to back wins over Skerries and City of Derry. City of Derry complete their season with their final UBL match at home to Wanderers.
In Div 2C the focus for Omagh has to be to secure second place and home advantage in the playoffs with the top two teams Sligo and Thomond meeting each other this week. They have a four point advantage over Malahide and Omagh with Malahide travelling to relegated Bective Rangers and Omagh home to Bruff. Bangor once again have survived by the narrowest of margins with the club needing to strengthen their squad in key positions for next season.
In the Kukri Ulster Rugby Championship Div 1 Carrickfergus secured 4th place with an emphatic 42 – 0 win over struggling Clogher Valley to take their place in the All Ireland Junior Cup next season. Enniskillen avoided the playoffs by defeating Coleraine 6 – 0 at Mullaghmeen with Portadown now facing Randalstown in a playoff match at Chambers Park on Saturday 14th April to decide who plays in Div 1 next season. One match remains to be played in this Division with Dromore entertaining Cooke at Barban Hill on Thursday night 12th April.
Carrickfergus 42 Clogher Valley 0
Team : 1. David McKeen, 2. Alan Whitley. 3. James Graham, 4. Chris Rodgers, 5. Chris Taylor, 6. Bradley Luney, 7. Ryan McGonigle, 8. Andy McKeen (Captain), 9. Conor Cambridge, 10. David Carse, 11. David Moore, 12. Adam White, 13. Peter Simpson, 14. Fionn McCormick. 15. Michael Black, 16. Stuart Cheshire, 17. Ross Crymble.
Points scorers: Conor Cambridge 2 x tries, David Carse, Andy McKeen, Fionn McCormick, Bradley Luney 1 x try each. Adam White 6 x cons.
Enniskillen 6 Coleraine 0
Team: 1. Steven Fox, 2. Ryan Cathcart (Captain), 3. Gavin Warrington, 4. David Buchanan, 5. Grayson Donnelly, 6. Kaine Holden, 7. Gavin Parke, 8. Alex Gormley, 9. Matthew Dane, 10. Adam lendrum, 11. Patrick McCleery, 12. Gareth McCoy, 13. James Ferguson, 14. Jarleth Maguire, 15. Ashley Finley, 16. Richard Beatty, 17. Jamie Kelly.
Points s corers; Adam Lendrum 2 x pens.
Coleraine team: 1.Cillian Butler, 2. Andy McKee. 3. Chris Breadon, 4. Michael ferguson, 5. Peter Wisener, 6. Kyle McAuley, 7. David Greatorex, 8. Josh Chrisitie, 9. Matthew Leighton, 10. Bokkie Carstens, 11. Richard McGregor, 12. Niall Irwin, 13. Brian Cochrane, 14. Stevie Callaghan, 15. Mikey Poskitt, 16. B Kirkpatrick, 17. J King.
In Div 2 Grosvenor remain undefeated after 17 league games as they look to make it a perfect 18/18 when they play Larne at Gibson Park on the 21st April. Randalstown won 18 – 12 at Larne to finish second. They travel to play Portadown on Saturday in the Div1/2 playoff match. We had an interesting contest going on at the bottom of Div 2 between UUC and Lisburn to see who would finish in 9th place and the playoff match with the 2nd place team in Div 3. Lisburn won 29 -14 at Ballymoney on Sat and followed this up with another 63 – 15 win over PSNI tonight (Wednesday) to guarantee their place in Div 2 after the UUC lost 29 – 3 at home to Ards on Sat and 36 – 7 at home to Limavady last night (Tuesday). UUC will await the result of the Lurgan v Donaghadee match on Saturday to see who they will play in the playoff match on the 21st April. Both UUC and Lisburn meet at the Sam Logan Stadium this week to complete their league programme.
Grosvenor 59 Academy 6
Points scorers: Philip Stoops, Stuart Smyth, David Egner, Peter Davison, Mark Johnston, Peter Dawson, Mitchell McComb, Matthew Johnston and Adam Skelton 1 x try each. Adam Skelton 4 x cons and 2 x pens.
Ballymoney 17 Lisburn 29
Lisburn team: 1. Jamie Dickson (Captain), 2. Peter Graham, 3. Uate Caquea, 4. Andy Barron, 5. Matt Millar, 6. Kenny McCombe, 7. Andy Hamilton, 8. Matt edgar, 9. Josh Cardosi, 10. Adam Heaps, 11. Conor Gasgoine, 12. Jonny Creighton, 13. Wili Lil Tee, 14. Chris Nimmons, 15. Craig Walsh. 16. Jake gardener, 17. Phil Jefferson.
Points scorers: Josh Cardosi 2 x tries, Matt Edgar, Conor Gasgoine 1 x try each. Adam Heaps 3 x cons and 1 x pen
Larne 12 Randalstown 18
Randalstown team: 1. S McLaughlin, 2. A Watt, 3. Marty O’Neill, 4. Peter Knowles. 5. Scott McClenaghan, 6.Kyle Hetherington, 7. Ian Hume.8. D McGranleese, 9. Chris McGolderick, 10. Martin Connolly, 11. Conor Murray, 12. Jamie Orr, 13. Daniel McGlade, 14. Coby Mason, 15. M Smith.
Points s corers: Jamie Orr and Scott McClenaghan 1 x try each. Martin Connolly 1 x con and 2 x pens
Limavady 52 PSNI 7
Limavady points scorers: Tom McClelland 3 x tries, Sam Mackey 2 x tries, Adam Millar, Matthew Haslett and Jamie Millar 1 x try each. Peter Wilson 6 x cons.
UUC 3 Ards 29
Ards team 1. Andrew Foster (Captain), 2. Tom Arthur Donnan, 3. Matty Kane, 4. John Dowey, 5. Peter Croan, 6. Josh McFarland, 7. Onisi Burekama, 8. Graeme Taylor. 9. Stuart Paul, 10. Scott young, 11. Matthew Neill, 12. Trevor Devlin. 13. David Armstrong, 14. Adam Coulter, 15. Paul Cox. 16. Paddy Bond, 17. Ryan Thompson.
Points scorers: Trevor Devlin, Graeme Taylor, David Armstrong 1 x try each. Paul Cox 1 x try, 3 x cons and 1 x pen.
UUC 7 Limavady 36 Played Tuesday 10th April
Limavady team: 1. Rory Squires, 2. Luke Montgomery, 3. Clive Scott, 4. Colin Henry, 5. Michael Rice, 6. Adam Millar, 7. Perry Semple, 8. Sam Mackey, 9. Jamie Millar, 10. Peter Wilson, 11. Jack Connor, 12. Jamie ‘Mo’ Millar, 13. William McCleery, 14. Tom McClelland, 15. Matthew Haslett, 16. Thomas McAuley, 17. Ben Brown.
Points s corers: Clive Scott 2 x tries, William McCleery, Matthew Haslett, Rory Squires 1 x try each, Peter Wilson 3 x cons and 1 x pen. Thomas McAuley 1 x con.
Lisburn 63 PSNI 15. Played Wednesday 11th April
Team: 1. Jamie Dickson (Captain), 2. Willi Lil Tee, 3. Phil Jefferson, 4. Andy Barron, 5. Matt Millar, 6. Kenny McCombe, 7. Andy Hamilton, 8. Matt Edgar, 9. Josh Cardosi, 10. Ryan Duddy, 11. Conor Gasgoine, 12. Jonny Creighton, 13. Epi Ratu, 14. Craig Walsh, 15. Adam Heaps, 16. Pete Graham, 17. Dave Montgomery.
Points scorers: Craig Walsh 3 x tries, Andy Barron 2 x tries, Matt Millar, Josh Cardosi and Adam Heaps 1 x try each Ryan Duddy 7 x cons and 3 xpens.
In Div 3 the meeting of league leaders Lurgan and second place Donaghadee at Donaldson Park will decide the destination of the league title this season. Lurgan have a three point advantage going into this game with the 2nd place team facing a playoff away to UUC on Saturday the 21st April.
The Nutty Krust 2018 Final will take place at Chambers Park on Wednesday 25th April when Ballynahinch RFC U18’s will play Armagh RFC U18’s. All supporters will be made to feel very welcome at the final of this prestigious event which will kick off at 8-00pm.
ULSTER BANK ALL IRELAND LEAGUE: ROUND 18
Clontarf (5) v Cork Constitution (2)
Garryowen (4) v St Mary’s College (9)
Lansdowne (1) v Buccaneers (10)
Terenure College (3) v Dublin Univ (8)
UCD (7) v Young Munster (6)
Ballymena v Old Wesley
Head coach Andy Graham will be looking more of the same commitment and effort from his players when they meet Old Wesley at Eaton Park on Saturday. Two impressive results over UL Bohemians and Dolphin have the team locked in a battle with UL Bohs, Old Wesley and Naas to avoid finishing in 9th place and the playoffs with three points separating these four teams. 10th place Dolphin may have already been relegated but when the two teams met at Irish Independent Park last weekend it was the Cork side who built up a 14 -0 lead after 15minutes. Ballymena were also forced to make changes with second row David Whann leaving the pitch due to illness to be replaced by Connor Smyth and winger Glenn Baillie picking up a groin injury to be replaced by back row forward Dominic Gallagher. Ballymena did get back in the game scoring a converted try before two penalties allowed Dolphin to increase their lead to 20 – 7. Two tries, one converted allowed Ballymena to narrow the Dolphin lead to 20 – 19 at halftime. With the wind advantage in the second half the visitors went on to outscore their opponents 24 – 7 to pick up a valuable bonus point win. Captain for the day Clive Ross led by example scoring two tries with stand in winger Dominic Gallagher contributing another two of the teams six tries.
The coach has been loyal to players including Mark Foster and Alan Smyth who have been outstanding for the team in the second half of the season. Another player who came off the bench was Ben O’Ryan to make an impact on the back of strong recent performances for the 1st xv. Injuries this week rule out Glenn Baillie with James Gallagher another who will face a late fitness test after picking up an ankle injury at Dolphin. Ulster prop Ross Kane has not been released this week with Chris Cundell taking his place. Josh Bill drops down to the bench after another strong performance last week with Nacho Clandero Crespo taking his place. Depending on game time with Ulster David Shanahan and Michael Stronge will contest the scrum half jersey. Who will start in the second row will be decided on Thursday with Mark Foster, David Whann and Connor Smyth in contention.
Ulster releases include: Callum Patterson, Brett Herron, Clive Ross, Adam McBurney and David Shanahan. Injury rules out Marcus Rea.
Ballymena team: 1. Nacho Clandero Crespo, 2. Adam McBurney, 3. Chris Cundell, 4/5 David Whann, Mark Foster and Connor Smyth, 6. Clive Ross (Captain), 7. Matty Agnew, 8. Azur Allinson, 9. Michael Stronge, 10. Brett Herron, 11. Angus Kernohan, 12. Alan Smyth, 13. Callum Patterson, 14. James Beattie, 15. Rodger McBurney, 16. Josh Bill, 17. James Taggart, 18. Mark Foster/David Whann and Connor Smyth. 19. James Gallagher/Dominic Gallagher, 20. Dean Reynolds. JJ McKee is available but can’t make the squad along with Ben O’Ryan.
As Andy Graham put it to me he wishes the season was starting now the way the team is playing at present. This Saturday is all about Ballymena winning the game against Old Wesley. It is in the teams own hands to be safe. The players have made it happen in recent games with the infectious team spirit in the squad. Both Michael Stronge and Brett Herron have been playing well at 9 and 10 with the recent games having concentrated the minds of the players. This league has been very competitive as illustrated by Ballymena winning games against Naas, Shannon and Old Belvedere this season. Dolphin maybe relegated but they were difficult opponents for Ballymena, Ballynahinch and Shannon in recent games.
When these two teams met at Donnybrook in Round One on the 16.9.17 Ballymena won a close game 21 – 18. Old Wesley proved difficult opponents for Ballynahinch last weekend in their 14 – 14 draw. Ballymena will be looking to extend their winning run at home to five games this weekend.
Ballynahinch v Old Belvedere
Brian McLaughlin and his Ballynahinch players had to dig deep at Donnybrook to come away with a 14 – 14 draw to Old Wesley last week. Their league destiny is still in their own hands with Old Belvedere safe in mid table outside the playoffs.
Ulster releases include: Peter Browne (Confirmed on Thursday), Peter Nelson, Aaron Cairns, David Busby and Jack Regan. Injury rules out Aaron Hall, Rory Butler and Zac McCall.
When these two teams met in Round One on the 16.9.17 Old Belvedere won 13 – 6.
Banbridge v UL Bohemians
Two teams at opposite ends of the table in need of the win and league points this week. Banbridge Head coach Daniel Soper felt it was an opportunity missed last Saturday in his teams 32 – 31 defeat at UCC with Shannon not picking up a bonus point and Ballynahinch drawing at Old Wesley with two points separating these three teams at the top of Div 1B. He feels both Shannon and Ballynahinch will not make the same mistake this weekend as both go in search of the maximum five points with Shannon having the one point advantage over Ballynahinch.
Training this week was again focused on improving the teams defence that once again let them down on Saturday. The focus for the players is only on their game with UL Bohemians and being better than last week. What happens in the two other games is out of their hands. UL Bohemians are in a difficult position with Banbridge needing to be at their best to get a result.
Team wise Banbridge lost full back Adam Doherty with a hand injury last week which has ended his season. No other changes will be made to the squad from last Saturday.
Ulster releases include: Caleb Montgomery, Eric O’Sullivan, Greg Jones and James Hume with injury ruling out Michael Lowry. Rob Lyttle, Tom O’Toole and Nick Timoney have not been released by Ulster.
When these two teams met on the 4G pitch at the University of Limerick Banbridge won 20 – 13.
Blackrock College (8) v Highfield (2)
Galwegians (9) v Cashel RFC (3)
Greystones (7) v City of Armagh (5)
Malone (1) v Nenagh Ormond (4)
Queens University (6) v Galway Corinthians (10)
City of Armagh v Greystones
There was disappointment for the City of Armagh coaches Willy Faloon and Chris Parker when their team let slip a 31 – 19 halftime lead to lose 39 – 36 at home to Galwegians at the Palace Grounds last week. The lost has seriously dented their playoffs hopes with the team needing to pick up a maximum five points at Greystones and hope Malone deny 4th place Nenagh Ormond any points at Gibson Park. The team have scored 13 tries in their last two matches but what has alarmed the coaches is the fact they have conceded 8 tries.
Armagh coach Chris Parker described last Saturday as disappointing to let a lead slip. The focus for the players is going to Greystones and picking up a bonus point and then let other results take their course. There will be some changes to the team with selection to be confirmed at training on Thursday night. Full back Timmy McNeice is available after injury with back row Stuart Hooks available for selection this week.
When these two teams met in Round One on the 16.9.17 at the Palace Grounds, Armagh won a close game 30 – 26.
Malone v Nenagh Ormond
There was disappointment for the Malone players in their late 26 – 24 defeat away to second place Highfield in Cork last week. Despite going behind 19 – 7 and 19 – 10 at halftime the team fought back to lead 24 – 19 only for a late converted try to deny them the win and the league title. It is all in their own hands as they hold a three point advantage over Highfield going into the final game at home to Nenagh this weekend.
Ulster releases include: Matthew Dalton, Joe Dunleavy and Jack Owens with Peter Cooper and Graham Curtis ruled out due to injury.
When these two teams met in Round One Malone won 37 – 7 at New Ormond Park.
Queens University v Galway Corinthians
The students ended their nine match losing run in the UBL by scoring six tries in their impressive 35 – 30 win at Nenagh Ormond last week. Their Rugby Consultant Neil Doak will be looking to end his tenure at the Dub with another win before he takes up his new post at Worcester Warriors.
Ulster releases include: Alexander Clarke, Jonny Stewart and Angus Curtis.
When these two teams met at Corinthian Park in Round One on the 16.9.17 Queens Univ won 25 – 18.
City of Derry (10) v Wanderers (5)
Navan RFC (4) v Belfast Harlequins (9)
Old Crescent (1) v Rainey OB (2)
Skerries (8) v Dungannon (7)
Sunday’s Well (6) v MU Barnhall (3)
City of Derry v Wanderers
For the North West club they will look to draw their season to a close when they complete their Round 18 match with visitors Wanderers at the Craig Thompson Stadium on Saturday. The team suffered another heavy 56 – 17 defeat away to Belfast Harlequins last Saturday with the team being asked to play three matches in the next eight days. They had hoped to complete their playing programme this weekend against Wanderers. They are now faced with playing two SONI Ulster Premiership games against Banbridge (Thursday) and Ballynahinch (Saturday) next week. These games will have no bearing on the outcome of Div 1 of the Premiership League with the match between Malone and City of Armagh deciding the winners of the Stevenson Shield. City of Derry are in 6th place and will be relegated to Div 2 of the Ulster Premiership next season. Is it reasonable to ask City of Derry to play these matches at this stage of the season.
When these two teams met at the Aviva Stadium in Round One on the 16.9.18 City of Derry lost 71 – 3.
Belfast Harlequins v Navan RFC
Quins continued their revival by scoring another eight tries in a 56 points – 17 win over struggling City of Derry at Deramore Park last Saturday. The Belfast side are destined for the playoffs and are looking to maintain their good form when they travel to play 4th place Navan RFC.
When these two teams met at Deramore Park in Round One on the 16.9.18 Navan won 26 – 17.
Rainey OB v Old Crescent
The Magherfelt side have a five point advantage over 3rd place MU Barnhall going into the final game. They will be looking to pick up points with Barnhall travelling to play inform Sunday’s Well in Cork.
Ulster releases include: Tommy O’Hagan and John McCusker.
Dungannon v Skerries
Both these teams are level on 33 points in 7th and 8th place with Dungannon on a six match losing run in the UBL. Head coach Andy Hughes will be looking a morale boosting win to end their season.
When these two teams met in Round One at Stevenson Park on the 16.9.17 Dungannon lost 29 – 27.
Bective Rangers (10) v Malahide (3)
Omagh (4) v Bruff (8)
Seapoint (7) v Midleton (5)
Sligo (1) v Thomond (2)
Tullamore (9) v Bangor (6)
Omagh v Bruff
It was in their opening UBL game Omagh made the long journey to Limerick to record a impressive 14 – 13 win on the 16.9.17. They find themselves going into their final game four points behind the top two teams Sligo and Thomond and level on 47 points with 3rd place Malahide. Their 13 – 7 defeat at Midleton seriously damaged their title ambitions. They need results to go their way to win the league this week.
Bangor v Tullamore
The North Down side are safe despite losing 13 – 6 at home to Seapoint last Saturday. When news came through that 9th place Tullamore had lost 10 – 7 at Thomond Bangor knew they were safe and had a six point advantage over the County Offaly side they travel to play this week in their Round 18 game.
When these two teams met at Upritchard Park in Round One on the 16.9.17 Bangor won 21 – 15.
ULSTER RUGBY PREMIERSHIP SECOND XV LEAGUE
Ballymena seconds v Ballynahinch seconds
Banbridge seconds v Omagh seconds. Played Friday 13.4.18. KO 7.45PM
KUKRI ULSTER RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
Dromore (5) v Cooke (7). Played Thursday 12.4.18. KO 7.30PM
Portadown v Randalstown
Head coach Richard Hedley will welcome back forwards James Wright, Danny Alexander and Robert Reid along with Michael Orr and Ollie Montels in the backs for this play off match with Randalstown. Prop Mark Henderson is not available.
Randalstown Head coach Gary Longwell has a number of injury concerns before finalising his team for this match at Chambers Park with selection not being finalised until Thursday night.
Academy (6) v Larne (7)
Ards (4) v PSNI (10)
UUC (9) v Lisburn (8)
Civil Service (11) v Donegal Town (12)
Donaghadee (2) v Lurgan (1)
Holywood (8) v BHSFP (9)
Monaghan (4) v Letterkenny (10)
Strabane (3) v Cavan (6)
Virginia (5) v Newry (7)