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Adair on brink of title glory after injury hell

Hinch star: Former Ulster and Jersey player Ross Adair has had two hip ops
Hinch star: Former Ulster and Jersey player Ross Adair has had two hip ops

By Michael Sadlier

At least the situation is pretty clear cut for Ballynahinch. Win today and the title is theirs, along with a return to 1A for the first time since 2016.

So the task for the 1B leaders is to beat St Mary's College at Ballymacarn Park though the fifth-placed visitors are not likely to roll over as they are still in the hunt for a top four finish should they spoil Hinch's day.

For Hinch's Ross Adair, a victory to claim the title will be a special moment after the former Ulster and Jersey utility back's recent return to playing following two hip operations which ended his time in the Channel Islands.

He turns 25 next weekend and is enjoying his rugby again which is a bonus as his operations were as much about just living without pain than running around a pitch.

"It would be nice to be back up again with the best teams in Ireland. It would be really amazing for the club as well to get back into 1A," he explains.

And Adair has been in sparkling form in this his second stint at Hinch - he recently scored a hat-trick of tries against Old Belvedere - prompting him to consider the possibility of being a professional again.

"I'm just really, really happy to be back and I'm really enjoying my time with Hinch," he says.

"But I want to go and try and play professionally again and hopefully will next season."

If today sees Hinch bag their title, and proves to be Adair's last game before moving on, both club and player will want it to be a special occasion.

Hinch will have Johnny McPhillips at 10 while Tommy O'Hagan and David Busby should start.

Malone will be aiming for a big result over relegated Ballymena at Gibson Park which ought to secure at least fourth as long as Hinch win.

Banbridge host Old Belvedere and City of Armagh are at second-placed Old Wesley.

Both Ulster clubs have remote chances of finishing fourth.

1B: Hinch v St Mary's, Bann v Belvo, Wesley v Armagh, Malone v Ballymena

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