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Coach Soper wants Bann to maintain title initiative

By Michael Sadlier

Published 29/01/2016

Banbridge coach Dan Soper
Banbridge coach Dan Soper

Banbridge's ambitions of staying on top of Division 2A, and keeping some daylight between themselves and their nearest challengers, will come under rigorous examination this weekend when they travel to meet second-placed Naas.

With six points between the sides, there is much to strive for with the same number of games remaining to sort out who goes up automatically and who enters a four-team play-off.

Bann coach Dan Soper admitted: "It's a pretty important game.

"If we lose it keeps two or three teams in with a chance of finishing first and if we win it gives us a bit of a cushion."

Bann beat Naas by just 11-0 first time around, so the in-form Co Down side are expecting another tight encounter.

"League tables tell the truth and both teams are up there for a reason. But there are six games to go and a lot can change," Soper added.

Fourth-placed Malone will be looking to get that winning feeling back again when they host Cashel, who are in fifth, and the Gibson Park side welcome James McAlister back to the second row while Michael Cartmill is at centre.

Queen's University, who are back in sixth, travel to third-placed UCC. Rob Lyttle and Jonny McPhillips are not available due to Ireland U20s involvement while Ulster Academy players Alex Thompson and Liam Free should be in the students' squad.

In 2B, leaders City of Derry's charge towards automatic promotion - they are 16 ahead of second-placed Highfield - faces a tricky trip to Greystones, who are in fourth.

Derry coach Terry McMaster said: "Until it's mathematically impossible for someone to catch us, we won't be popping any champagne corks."

Fifth plays sixth when Armagh host Barnhall while eighth-placed Dungannon welcome Rainey, in ninth, to Stevenson Park.

Belfast Telegraph

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