With the match between Old Wesley and Nass refixed for 9th November 2018 there are only four fixtures in the All Ireland League 1B his weekend and with Nass cooling their heals one of four Ulster clubs have the chance of finishing the weekend at the top of the table.
The fixtures this weekend are as follows:
|Sat 27th Oct 18||14:30||Ballynahinch||v||Buccaneers||Ballymacarn Park|
|Sat 27th Oct 18||14:30||Banbridge||v||Ballymena||Rifle Park|
|Sat 27th Oct 18||14:30||Malone||v||Old Belvedere||Gibson Park|
|Sat 27th Oct 18||14:30||St Mary’s College||v||City of Armagh||Templeville Road|
We expect to be at Banbridge and Malone this weekend with both the host teams eager to claim that top spot though Ballynahinch and City of Armagh will also fancy their chances after their big wins last week.
Ballynahinch v Buccaneers.
Hinch retain the services of Zac McCall and they’ll be going into this match with a fair amount of confidence after their win on the road against Old Belvedere last week and start this game as favourites against Buccaneers who are sitting in the bottom two.
However the Athlone team did record their first win last weekend and a rather substantial win it was too as they put over 40 points past Old Wesley in Dubarry Park.
The Connacht team were scoreless in their last trip north and a resurgent Hinch should be too strong at Ballymacarn Park.
Banbridge v Ballymena
We haven’t mentioned Ballymena so far as they are the only Ulster club that can’t go top of the league irrespective of how the matches turn out. That doesn’t mean to say that they can’t win this one though. Marcus Rea remains available up front and he may be joined by John Andrew and Clive Ross, giving the visitors a potential match winning pack.
Banbridge will be missing a few returnees from last week and they’ll be watching the game time of a few players in tonight’s PRO14 match but they will still start the match at Rifle parks as favourites.
I think this will be a tight one but the lure of finishing the weekend at the top of league should give the Bann boys the edge.
Malone v Old Belvedere
Malone should be welcoming back Ross Kane for this one which is just the sort of boost they need after their surprise loss to City of Armagh last week. They will be hurting at the size of he loss and they’ll be keen to get their season back on track against a Belvedere side who make their first trip up north this season.
Belvo will also be keen to recapture their early season form having recorded a draw and a defeat since their opening round win against Banbridge. However, Hinch dealt with them reasonably comfortably at Anglesea Road last week and I suspect an angry Malone should be too hot for them at Gibson Park.
City of Armagh v St Mary’s College
After coming close in the opening two rounds, Armagh will be delighted to have picked up their first win last week and they will be doubly delighted that it was a sizable one against Malone. The big question is will they be too busy bathing in the euphoria of that win to continue to push on this week?
St Mary’s have only played Ulster sides so far this season and they will be disappointed that they shipped two defeats following their opening day win against Hinch. The Dublin outfit will be keen to record a second win from their northern exposure!
However, after missing out on wins in their first two games this season Armagh now seem to have got their game management sorted and, if that continues, they could be sitting at the top of the table come Sunday after a bonus point win.