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Ballynahinch planning to reverse losing trend at home


Neil Simpson is back for Belfast Harlequins after injury

Neil Simpson is back for Belfast Harlequins after injury

Neil Simpson is back for Belfast Harlequins after injury

With a record of three games and three defeats behind them, Ballynahinch know that, right now, they could really do with a reversal in fortune.

And with last season's champions Lansdowne coming to Ballymacarn Park tomorrow, there is no better time for Hinch to shake things up a bit by securing their all-important first victory in Division 1A, particularly as their visitors, so far, have hardly been setting much of a pace this season when it comes to defending their title.

"We're only three games in," Hinch coach Derek Suffern said, before adding, "And it's really a matter of us now building confidence and competing.

"We need to get it right on the pitch and we're close to doing it but we know that we need to do it soon," he stated while giving a nod towards last weekend's bonus point defeat at St Mary's College, which has left Hinch one place off the bottom in ninth and three points adrift of Lansdowne.

"The further we go on, we know that we've just got to perform," added Suffern.

However, Hinch will have to get their win without prop Kyle McCall and utility back David McIlwaine, who are both in the Ulster squad for the Scarlets, while the club's injury list just keeps growing now that hooker John Murphy and prop Chris Stevenson are both out with the latter looking like spending some time on the sidelines after sustaining a suspected leg fracture at St Mary's.

Gavin Armstrong is likely to come in for Murphy to hook between last weekend's starting props Michael Cromie and Chris Taylor while Aaron Ferris looks good to come in for McIlwaine in a backline which will probably again see James McBriar at out-half and Ritchie Lobb at full-back.

The situation in Division 1B is hardly much more uplifting, with Ulster's entire representation currently making up three places in the bottom four, though at least none are actually at the foot of the table which is being propped up by Dublin University.

Having said that, only three points separate ninth-placed Belfast Harlequins from Shannon who are in fifth, so a lot can, and probably will, change as the season evolves.

Quins are going in search of their first victory against Blackrock College at Deramore in full knowledge that a second successive home reverse – they narrowly lost to leaders Terenure College last week – will undoubtedly do them severe damage.

Michael Heaney was expected to be released to Quins, who at least have skipper Neil Simpson back in the mix again after the prop has been out for nearly two months with a torn calf.

"We've basically got to learn how to win," Quins coach Adam Larkin said.

"Our confidence is lacking a bit but fortunately we're at home and we know we have to get over that hurdle to get a result," Larkin added.

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Eighth-placed Dungannon host unbeaten Corinthians and will be looking to raise their game after last weekend's disappointing showing at Shannon. They have Peter Nelson and Chris Cochrane available, though they will be missing Sean Doyle and Chris Farrell.

Malone – currently sitting in seventh – will be eager to bounce back after their 31-6 trouncing at the hands of UL Bohemians at Gibson Park, though taking on leaders Terenure in Dublin hardly looks, on paper, as if it will offer much required therapy.

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