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Instonians aiming to shine in derby clash with Ards under lights

by Jonathan Bradley

INSTONIANS will host Ards tonight in a rare chance for rugby fans in Ulster to get a taste of the All-Ireland League's 'Friday Night Lights' initiative.

The south Belfast side's head coach Wilbur Leacock believes that the unusual kick-off time will help create a better atmosphere at Shaw's Bridge, stating: "I think it's a great idea to have some of our game's played on a Friday night and I am sure it will result in the boys getting a bit more support for the game.

"With the Saturday afternoon kick-offs you get a lot of people busy doing their own thing so sometimes you just don't get the crowds."

And Leacock is sure that the spectators will witness a typically competitive game between two Ulster sides.

"Local derby games are always physical so I'm sure it will be no different against Ards and we'll see a tight game.

"They've had a good start and had some close wins so we'll need to give it everything," Leacock added.

Instonians are currently second from bottom in the table, coming off a defeat to Nenagh Ormond last weekend, but gave a reasonable account of themselves against the league's early pacesetters.

The defeat has added to their growing injury list however and they will be without captain Paddy Bell, Irish u19 international Connor Young and Ulster u20 player Josh Atkinson.

Ards, meanwhile, are hoping to bounce back from a dispiriting 30-0 loss to Sligo last time out.

In the other 2B game involving an Ulster side, Armagh will travel to Co Meath to take on Navan.

The Leinster side are ninth in the table after a 34-10 defeat at Thomond last week while Armagh will be buoyed by their impressive win against Skerries at the Palace Grounds.

The triumph did not lift Armagh above their previous standing of fourth place in the table but still kept them within touching distance of the league leaders.

With two of the three teams above them playing each other, Andy Hughes' side will be looking for another win in order to close the gap.

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