Ballyclare out for revenge in Towns Cup
Kukri URC Division 1 contenders Ballyclare have won their last five games and start favourites to defeat Portadown in the River Rock Towns Cup tie at Chambers Park this afternoon.
The two teams met in October when Portadown came out 23-15 victors but since then Ballyclare have lost only once - 13-6 against Enniskillen, a result they later avenged 7-3.
The Ports lost at the weekend against Omagh when, despite losing their half-backs early on, they took a 10-7 interval advantage and then led 13-10 before the visitors retorted with 15 points.
The contest took its toll and scrum-half Brian Forrestal has not fully recovered. As a result, Michael Orr moves in from out-half and full-back and captain Chris Cousins takes the No.10 slot. Niall Davidson comes into the back-line but the pack will be strengthened as Matthew Wilson returns after a shoulder injury.
"There was just over one score between us the last time so we can anticipate another close encounter," stated Portadown coach Richard Hedley, who will be busy with his RBAI side taking on Ballyclare High in the Schools' Cup earlier in the day.
"A win would be very welcome as we play them again in the return league fixture next Saturday."
Clogher Valley, meanwhile, eliminated Rainey II 20-5 on Thursday evening.
Ballynahinch II should prove too strong for Dromore this afternoon.
Other ties: Bangor II v Larne, Dungannon II v Enniskillen, Carrickfergus v Ballymoney, Ards v Randalstown, Armagh II v Omagh.
In last night's All-Ireland League Division 1B clash, Ballynahinch got revenge for their November defeat by Ballymena with a 24-12 win at Eaton Park.
Blane McIlroy kicked a penalty and converted a penalty try for Hinch before adding the points to scores from James Simpson and Stuart Morrow.
Ballymena replied with a penalty try and one from Glen Bailie, the former converted by Mark Best.