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All Ireland League Rugby: Undefeated Derry will be out to turn up heat on Highfield

By Ronnie Ingram

City of Derry are now the only undefeated team in the whole of the AIL and have a six point advantage in Division 2B over Highfield, their opponents at Woodleigh Park on Saturday.

The Cork side have lost only once and that was in the first game of the season, by the narrowest of margins, at Bective, 28-27. On Saturday, Derry defeated third placed Greystones 20-17 at Judge's Road where the visitors scored a late try to secure a bonus point.

"It was a game of two halves but we should have been out of sight by half-time," said Derry manager Mike Poole.

"We had more control, possession and lots of opportunities but the final pass went astray time and again.

"In the second half we made too many errors. We held them in defence and our pack was dominant with the front row of Sam Duffy, David Ferguson and Rory Squires and replacement Ross Harkin excelling.

"The big one is this weekend at Highfield and we know they have a formidable pack, but if we play the right type of game and run them round the park, we have an excellent chance - and we hope to have forwards David Houston and John Burns back in action."

Derry had first half tries by Chris Cooper and Stephen Dickey both converted by Neil Burns while Andrew Semple kicked two second half penalties.

Armagh move up to third after a 29-15 bonus point win at Barnhall and Rainey, with the help of four penalties and a conversion by Josh McIlroy, defeated Dungannon 22-13.

The surprise in 2A was not Malone's victory over the previously undefeated Cashel but the margin of their success, 29-18, especially in Tipperary.

It was very physical with Malone building up a 21-6 lead before, within three minutes, two clearance kicks were charged down and Cashel had reduced the arrears to three points.

The visiting defence steadied for the final 12 minutes and another try gave them a bonus point. Neil Alcorn, Jack McMurtry, Adam Liddell and Darren Maxwell were the try scorers for Mark O'Connor to convert three and add a penalty.

Banbridge are second in the table following a somewhat flattering 11-0 win over Naas, while Queen's needed a late converted Josh Atkinson try to draw 34-34 with UCC and earn three points.

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