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Hinch gunning for revenge over Braidmen in battle for top four

AIL Division One

By Michael Sadlier

Ballymena host Ballynahinch tonight in Division 1B of the AIL (kick-off 8.00pm) in what should be a cracking Ulster derby as both sides seek to push on towards breaking into the coveted top four in what is a highly congested area of the table.

The Braidmen, who drew 13-13 with leaders Buccaneers last weekend, currently lie in sixth but only two points separate them from Old Wesley who are in third, while fifth-placed Hinch come into this game having seen off Dolphin in a 30-8 bonus-point victory.

Both sides have decent line-ups for this meeting under lights - Ballymena won when the sides met at Ballymacarn Park earlier in the season - with the Braidmen again able to deploy Ulster's Stephen Mulholland, Matty Rea and Mark Best. Brett Herron also plays, though Alan O'Connor and Ricky Lutton have not been released.

Hinch have again got Ulster's Peter Nelson - who played for the first time last week in over a year - as well as David Busby, John Donnan and Lorcan Dow while Conor Joyce and Johnny Simpson are also released - though there is no Angus Lloyd as he is with Munster - as the visitors go in search of what would be a very valuable result.

Hinch coach Derek Suffern said: "Ballymena edged it last time we played, which was at Ballynahinch, and we know that we have to front-up physically and hopefully tactically too against a strong Ballymena side.

"We're coming into this off a win while they impressively fought back to get a draw at Buccaneers so this should be a good Ulster derby."

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