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Hinch are within touching distance of play-off target

Ballynahinch have control of their own destiny going into the final round of regulation games and a home win over Clontarf will secure the Co Down side fourth place in Division 1A and a play-off spot at Lansdowne.

It certainly looks like advantage Hinch for this vital encounter as they have not been beaten this season in the league at Ballymacarn Park and Clontarf have already secured their own play-off position and cannot improve on third place.

However, Hinch will still be very wary as Clontarf did storm fortress Ballymacarn by getting the better of them by 24-20 in last month's Bateman Cup semi-final.

"It's a good position to be in," said Hinch coach Derek Suffern reflecting on last season's struggles when they battled against the drop.

"And we've got a good record at home with the carrot of a play-off awaiting us. But we need to beat Clontarf and if we do we finish fourth and get a semi-final away to Lansdowne on their artificial surface.

"While that's not the fixture you would necessarily want, or the surface you would want, it will be a great achievement for us this season to get into a semi-final," he added.

Elsewhere, in 1B, Belfast Harlequins are at Dublin University where the third-placed students have a chance of finishing in the top two while Quins could yet be overhauled for fifth.

Ballymena will finish up in fourth regardless of how they fare when hosting Buccaneers in what could be veteran Ian Caldwell's last senior outing.

Relegated Malone entertain Shannon as they prepare to bid farewell to the top flight.

Belfast Telegraph

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