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Bann aiming to remain unbeaten by taming derby rivals Malone

By Michael Sadlier

Published 07/10/2016

On the up: Dan Soper wants Bann to build on their lead at the top of 2A
On the up: Dan Soper wants Bann to build on their lead at the top of 2A

Three games in and Division 2A's Ulster derby between Malone and Banbridge sees the sides arriving accompanied by very different backdrops.

Bann are top of the league and have yet to be beaten with two wins and a draw behind them, while their hosts Malone are down in seventh with one victory, a draw and the humiliation of last week's spanking at Queen's University.

The Gibson Park side will be going all out to avoid back-to-back derby defeats, and Bann coach Dan Soper is certainly expecting a fiery encounter.

"I'm sure they will be looking for a reaction," stated Soper.

"We have set ourselves a target for the first block of four games and to reach that target we have to win."

Selection-wise, out-half Andrew McGrath is injured, while Adam Doherty is unavailable, so Josh Cromie and Josh Agnew come in.

Fourth-placed Queen's are at Nenagh Ormond and the students will be without Nick Timoney, Marcus Rea and Conor Kelly who are with Ulster 'A', but will have hooker Zac McCall and lock Alex Thompson on board.

Also in 2A, eighth-placed Belfast Harlequins go to Blackrock College in a game which kicks off at 4pm.

In 2B, leaders Armagh are chasing four wins from four when they host Barnhall, while third-placed Dungannon are at basement side Thomond. City of Derry are at Greystones for a 4pm kick-off.

With maximum points, Rainey Old Boys are looking to further consolidate their position at the summit of 2C when they host Seapoint, who are in third.

Rainey are missing Tommy O'Hagan, who is with Ulster 'A', but interestingly have seven brothers - three McCuskers, two Donaghys and two McMurrays - in their ranks.

Bangor, in fourth, are at Tullamore, who are a place below them. The Seasiders have injury issues while centre Lewis Sampson is with the 'A' team.

Belfast Telegraph

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