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Graham urges Braidmen to boost top-four hopes

AIL Division 1B

By Michael Sadlier

With six regulation games to go, the need to put together a winning run is very much on Ballymena's minds as they still harbour ambitions of promotion.

Sitting in fifth, the Braidmen travel to Old Wesley, who are one place and a solitary point behind.

Indeed, both sides will be going all out to gain a victory that could elevate them into the all-important top four with Ballymena coming off the back of a nervy 14-13 win against Galwegians.

It at least means Andy Graham's men travel to Wesley's artificial surface with a sense of momentum from their hard-earned first AIL win of the year.

"It keeps us right in the mix with Ballynahinch (in fourth and one point ahead) and there is still plenty to play for," said Graham.

"We're only a win away from being in the top four and we have to try and build."

Selection-wise, Ballymena have Ulster squad member Mark Best and they are hopeful of picking up Stephen Mulholland and Brett Heron as releases from the Kingspan.

They should have Bryan Young, Chris Cundell, John Creighton and Richie McMaster all on board.

Ballynahinch need to put losing 39-18 at UCC behind them as they entertain Galwegians in a game Derek Suffern's side need to win to avoid being potentially shunted out of the top four.

Hinch should have Jonny Murphy and David Busby released by Ulster and could also be deploying John Donnan and Conor Joyce pending fitness tests.

The Co Down side should be strong, with Michael Graham, Callum Irvine and James Simpson likely to be in their pack while Blane McIlroy, Chris Quinn, Davy Nicholson and Jordan Grattan are expected to be in the backline.

Div 1B: Ballynahinch v Galwegians, Dolphin v Shannon, Old Wesley v Ballymena, UCC v Naas, UL Bohs v Buccaneers.

Belfast Telegraph

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