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Ballynahinch title bid on line in derby with Armagh


Comeback: Prop Tommy O’Hagan is in line to play for Hinch after injury
Comeback: Prop Tommy O’Hagan is in line to play for Hinch after injury

By Michael Sadlier

A massive Ulster derby awaits when City of Armagh host Ballynahinch with much still to be finalised regarding who gets to make the cut in the division's top four.

With just one round of regulation season games remaining after this weekend, Hinch travel to the Palace Grounds in second place with a win potentially securing a top two finish as well as keeping Brian McLaughlin's squad in the race for the title and automatic promotion.

Armagh, currently in fifth but just a point behind Naas, also need to hunt down a win in their bid to taste play-off rugby.

Several of Hinch's Ulster-linked players will be returning to the fold with Zack McCall and Jack Regan back on board.

Prop Tommy O'Hagan should also feature after recovering from injury and it is believed that David Busby may be ready for a run-out for his first game-time this season after recovering from a serious knee issue.

"Winning could take us top, or put us in a very strong position for second but, in actual fact, (today) is all about getting the result and then we'll worry about where that leaves us," said Hinch director of rugby Harry McAleese.

Malone, who are in third, are at St Mary's College who are three places behind them but with just the same number of points separating the sides.

"The league has been so crazy, but it has been a very pleasing season so far and we just want to make sure we finish it off well," said Malone coach Paddy Armstrong.

Jack Owens, Joe Dunleavy, Adam McBurney and Stewart Moore all return to Malone's starting side.

Down in eighth, Banbridge face what looks a season-definer at ninth-placed Buccaneers as the Rifle Park squad bid to stay out of the relegation play-off zone.

Elsewhere, already-relegated Ballymena host Naas at Eaton Park.

1B: B'mena v Naas, Armagh v Hinch, Buccs v Banbridge, St Mary's v Malone

Belfast Telegraph


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