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Braidmen can push forward as Quins aim to hit back

By Michael Sadlier

There may be a World Cup on, but that doesn't halt the AIL.

Across the top two divisions, Ballynahinch and Belfast Harlequins are at home while Ballymena are out on the road.

The Braidmen were the only one of the trio to win in last week's initial outing, when they overcame Belfast Harlequins at Eaton Park, and Andy Graham's Division 1B squad make the long trek to Cork where they meet Dolphin (1.00pm).

Ballymena will be encouraged after tomorrow's opponents were whacked at St Mary's College last Saturday and Graham has former Ulster and Ireland prop Bryan Young in at hooker as James Taggart is unavailable.

Ross Kane will be propping beside Young due to Bronson Ross not being released while Alan O'Connor is in the second row again. In the backs, Martin Irwin is unavailable so Glen Bailie starts at inside centre.

As for Quins, they entertain UL Bohemians (1.30pm) and are missing Ulster-contracted players Lewis Stevenson and Sean Reidy though Frank Taggart, Paul Jackson and Conor Young are available, as is Mark Best.

Even though his charges lost their way in the derby at Eaton Park, Quins coach Adam Larkin was encouraged.

"We've been working on our defence alignment this week as that didn't function too well at Ballymena," said Larkin.

In Division 1A, Ballynahinch take on UCD at their Ballymacarn Park fortress (2.30pm) and will be seeking to make amends for the defeat at Garryowen.

Flanker Paul Pritchard is back from injury and will skipper the side which might include Conor Joyce. Richard Reaney should be available to play centre and David Busby is back from sitting on Ulster's bench.

Meanwhile, Division 2A's early pace-setters Queen's University will be going all out to make it two wins from two when they meet Thomond at the Dub (1.00pm).

Banbridge host Corinthians with only one change from the side which shaded matters over Malone which sees John Porter on the wing as Adam Doherty has a hamstring problem. Meanwhile, Malone travel to take on Naas.

In 2B, City of Derry are top on points differential from Bective Rangers, who they happen to host in the division's second round of games.

Armagh travel to Greystones fuelled from their narrow win over Dungannon, who will be looking to bounce back when Seapoint come to Stevenson Park, while Rainey are at home to Barnhall.

Belfast Telegraph


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