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Club rugby: Malone and Ballynahinch in crunch ties

By Michael Sadlier

It's the penultimate weekend of the regulation season and only Ballynahinch and Malone find themselves with something to play for though their situations could hardly be more different.

In Division 1A, Hinch are still in with a shout of making the top four play-offs but must manage to win away from home for the first time this season when they travel to bottom side Dolphin who look to be scrapping against the odds to avoid the automatic drop.

Fifth placed Hinch - beaten at home last weekend in the Bateman Cup by Clontarf - know that they really have to deliver in Cork to stay in the hunt.

As for Malone, it's a desperate battle for survival in Division 1B and though there are only a spread of two points separating the bottom three sides - UL Bohemians, Malone and Corinthians - with the Gibson Park squad being one off the basement the prospects of them dropping down are very real indeed. Their situation isn't helped by having to travel to second placed Garryowen.

Malone should have Alan O'Connor and Conor Joyce in their ranks but they could go down if Bohs get the better of Buccaneers.

With Ballymena's hopes of promotion extinguished, they will be looking to restore pride at Shannon and will have Ricky Andrew on board while Andy Warwick and John Andrew's involvement is dependent on Ulster game-time.

Harlequins are in the safety zone but host leaders Galwegians.

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