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Battling Instonians aiming to keep hopes of promotion alive

Experienced: Paddy Bell returns for Instonians
Experienced: Paddy Bell returns for Instonians

By Ronnie Ingram

Instonians are still aiming for second place in the All-Ireland League round robin qualifying competition but probably need a bonus point at Connemara tomorrow before defeating Clonmel at home in the final game.

Enniscorthy are now the favourites to gain the automatic place in 2C next season as they easily overcame Instonians 27-12 and have home advantage to Clonmel.

The team finishing second still have an opportunity to qualify for 2C but will face a play-off against the side that finishes in the penultimate position in a fortnight - Tullamore, Bangor, City of Derry or Seapoint.

The setback has not dampened Inst's hopes, although they travel to Clifden with a couple of enforced changes.

The squad will still be as formidable as the experienced Paddy Bell returns to the back row for Cameron Bell, who was concussed last week.

Mark Mairs is unavailable so Lewis McNamara, the older brother of full-back Bradley who impressed in his first senior outing, joins the pack.

The backs are expected to be the same assuming that a couple of players overcome niggling injuries.

Inst will be hoping to regain the AIL place they lost five seasons ago, but a big improvement is required after that disappointing first half - 0-24 - against Enniscorthy.

Connemara will be a difficult hurdle to overcome especially on their own territory, and although they were defeated 31-21 by Clonmel last weekend, they deservedly led 14-3 at the interval.

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