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Bann boosted as Cromie and Hughes return


By Ronnie Ingram

Banbridge, narrowly pipped by Malone 9-7 in the league at the weekend, will have a couple of key players back in action when they face Bank of Ireland Cup holders Armagh at Palace Grounds today.

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Club captain Michael Cromie returns to prop while the pack will have added experience thanks to Ryan Hughes coming in at No 8.

Bann have lost a few players from their pack with Charles Allen going to Lurgan, Alex Thompson now at Jersey and Caleb Montgomery at Warwick.

Nevertheless they have a number of good prospects coming through the ranks including former Lurgan College back row Reuben McCreery.

City of Armagh have a fairly settled squad and will have gained confidence from their four-try 24-7 victory at City of Derry.

They did sustain a couple of impact injuries so Neil Faloon, who scored two tries at the weekend, and Chris Colvin will be rested while Tim McNeice is unavailable.

Coach Willie Faloon is pleased with the progress so far.

"Our squad is much the same. In other words they are a year older and more experienced with 40-plus players turning up regularly at training," he said.

"They are still as ambitious and will need to be at their best in the AIL as I feel 1B will be stronger this season."

Wingers David Agnew from Queen's and Mervyn Brown from Dungannon have joined the squad.

Round One: Dungannon v Malone, Ballynahinch v Queen's, Bangor v Omagh.

Byes: Ballymena, Belfast Harlequins, City of Derry and Rainey

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