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Richard McCarter's return is a huge boost for Derry

By Ronnie Ingram

City of Derry travel to Banbridge in the Ulster Senior League tomorrow afternoon but the real action starts the following week when they go to Rainey in the All-Ireland League, division 2A.

"We came so close to promotion last season and I feel we are perfectly capable of doing so this year," commented their CMO Moss Dineen.

"We were one of the best sides but finished third, mainly due to a couple of lapses at the beginning of the year. We defeated the promoted Ballymena 8-3 but then lost to Banbridge 28-13 and surprisingly to Highfield 17-14 who were eventually relegated.

"Since then we have lost four regulars and, although we have the strength in depth, every team needs a bit of luck to keep injuries to a minimum.

"We have been rebuilding and the return of Richard McCarter after 10 months out is a big asset. I would rate him one of the best out-halves in the AIL and if he can remain free of injury he should steer us to plenty of successes. McCarter will be playing against Banbridge but Peter Henderson, an outstanding asset from Malone, is unavailable," Dineen added.

Derry will be without speedy winger Simon Logue for 12 weeks after he broke his leg in a pre-season friendly against Ballymena and he is a massive loss.

Bann will be confident after running in 59 second-half points against Ards. The result will be interesting as they have to meet in the AIL, again at Rifle Park, at the start of November.

Fixtures: Ballymena v Ards, Banbridge v City of Derry, Belfast Harlequins v Queen's, Malone v Dungannon and Rainey v Ballynahinch.

Ulster U20s have had an encouraging start to their season after a 12-12 draw against a strong Italian side, a 76-0 success against the Exiles and a narrow 27-24 loss at London Irish. In last season's inter-provincials they finished third behind champions Leinster and Connacht so will be hoping to avenge that 27-25 defeat tonight. With so many players still eligible they are favourites at home this evening (7pm).

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