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Ballynahinch keeping it positive

By Michael Sadlier

After managing a very respectable losing bonus point against Cork Constitution at Ballymacarn Park, Ballynahinch next face another testing afternoon in their top flight debut season, though this time they are on the road to take on Young Munster.

Despite last weekend's 24-17 result, Hinch coach Derek Suffern saw plenty of encouragement in his side's performance which was far from succumbing to an honourable defeat as the Co Down side took the game to Con and pushed them all the way.

"We were two points off with four or five minutes to go and then we chased it really late and they got a score out of it," he said.

"But we're taking huge positives out of it and we now know that we can compete with other sides in this division."

Suffern accepts that Young Munster will be a formidable task at their home ground, especially after winning at St Mary's College last week on the opening weekend, and has been preparing by focusing on bringing greater accuracy to Hinch's game.

"We need to be more clinical and our game has got to be five to 10 per cent better. We're very upbeat about getting a result down there," he added.

Hinch have Ulster prop Paddy McCallister on board and he may have another stint at tight-head, but Kyle McCall misses the trip as he has a foot injury which, in turn, should see Chris Taylor make the bench.

Malone are also travelling and they meet Buccaneers tomorrow evening under the Dubarry Park lights (7.30 kick-off) buoyed by their opening win in last weekend's derby clash with Dungannon.

Overall, Jacques Benade's squad should be much along the same lines as last weekend. However, Mike McComish will not be with them as he has not been released by Ulster and, in his absence, Michael Ferguson may start with Richard Millar coming in for a bench place.

Alan O'Connor and Connor Joyce are also on board again to bring their edge to the forward exchanges, though Branson Ross may not be involved as he is with Ulster, which means that Lee McClure could start in the front row.

As for Dungannon, they host Dublin University after both sides registered opening day defeats, and Gannon coach Paddy Johns is boosted by the return of Chris Farrell to club colours.

He will partner fellow Ulster player Chris Cochrane in a new-look and powerful midfield starting line-up. Peter Nelson starts again at out half while Cormac McCartney is moved from centre to full back after Mark O'Shea's season-ending injury at Malone.

Up front, Gannon have Sean Doyle involved again while second row Brian Davidson impressed on his AIL debut in the 20-10 defeat at Malone, as did hooker Paul Jackson.

Gannon will also have veteran props Glen and Steven Sinnamon to bring their experience to the set-piece exchanges which, all told, gives the Tyrone side plenty of optimism ahead of meeting the Dublin students.

Belfast Harlequins have been licking their wounds after their 29-21 home reverse – they actually led 21-8 – against Buccaneers and coach Adam Larkin will be eager to get something from their trip to UL Bohemians, who were heavily beaten at Terenure last time out

Quins should have Niall Annett on board, but will be travelling without Michael Heaney and the influential Neil McComb. Callum Leckey is likely to be brought in for McComb while Ulster under-19 scrum half Josh Fullerton will be given the number nine jersey for Quins.

Otherwise, Quins are likely to be unchanged with centre Willie Stewart hopefully having shaken off a dead leg. "We're obviously very disappointed with last week's defeat," Larkin said.

"Going down to Limerick will be very difficult but we've got to go and do the best we can.

"They'll be hurting after that heavy defeat at Terenure so we know they'll be desperate to turn that around."

Belfast Telegraph


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