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Braidmen facing stern test of title hopes at Bohemians

By Michael Sadler

Ballymena's credentials as contenders in Division 1B face a rigorous examination today as they are away to unbeaten leaders UL Bohemians. The Braidmen are currently in third and are six points adrift of the in-form Limerick side so taking their scalp or, at the very least, coming away with bonus points should they lose, are very much on the agenda for Andy Graham's squad.

"You do want to try and stay in touch (with the top)," said Graham while admitting that the task in hand will be quite a challenge.

"You're obviously not going to win the league at this stage of the season so it's important that you stay in touch.

"It's a big test for us and we have a lot of injuries and unavailability so that makes it tough but we still have a fair enough side going down," the Ballymena coach stated.

"They are a good side and are very dangerous, they have a good back row and a good back three who if you give them a break at all will score.

"They are just a good all round side that like to play.

"They are top of the league and we're up in that sort of area as well so let's have a crack at them."

Dave Shanahan, Stephen Mullholland and Adam McBurney have been released by Ulster to play for the Braidmen who have lost once in the four games played so far.

"I have confidence in my own guys and they are the bread and butter of the team because they are there every week," said Graham.

"We know they are a talented bunch of guys and if you get a few boys released from Ulster, well, it adds to it."

Ballynahinch, in fifth, are at home to Naas and will be looking to get back to winning ways after losing in a dramatic 35-32 thriller at Old Wesley last time out which still brought the Co Down side two bonuses.

"We want victories and we don't want to lose too many more games as promotion is our main goal," said club skipper Michael Graham

Div 1B: Ballynahinch v Naas, Dolphin v Buccaneers, Old Wesley v Galwegians, UCC v Shannon, UL Bohs v Ballymena

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