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Ulster sides seek to keep title bids on right track

Jonathan Bradley

Three Ulster sides have enjoyed the perfect start to their All-Ireland 2A campaigns with City of Derry, Queen's University and Ballymena all boasting a pair of victories after the first two rounds of fixtures.

City of Derry take on Naas, the only team from south of the border to win both their games, in what should be a mouthwatering clash at Judge's Road.

Having already beaten Rainey Old Boys and NUIM Barnhall, as well as reaching the semi-finals of the Ulster Senior Cup with victory over Dungannon last week, City of Derry are in fine form but will be wary of opponents who have already won on the road this season having beaten UCC on the opening weekend.

"It will definitely be a tough one as they've made a good start to the season too," said City of Derry centre Adam Bratton.

"We don't know too much about them but if we can go out there and play our game then we'd be confident in our own ability to beat anyone when we're playing at home."

The Judge's Road men will be boosted by the return from injury of influential fly-half Richard McCarter while Steven Ferguson and Paul McVitty are also once again available for selection.

The province's two other form sides in the division will face off against each other with Ballymena travelling to south Belfast to tackle Queen's University.

Following their relegation from AIL 1B last season, Ballymena sit atop the standings by virtue of having collected one more try-bonus point than both City of Derry and their university opponents.

Andy Graham's men have secured a maximum five-point haul against both Highfield and Galwegians so far during this campaign while the students of Queen's also notched four tries in a win over Highfield in addition to beating Banbridge.

Elsewhere, Rainey Old Boys will look to build on a convincing performance last time out when they make the long trip to Limerick to face Old Crescent, while Banbridge are looking for a first win of the campaign when they face Seapoint at Kilbogget Park.

Victory would help propel the Co Down men back into the shake-up.

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