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Chris Moore wary of derby rivals as Queen’s bid to increase their lead

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Pay back: Rainey OB coach Ian McKinley will be keen to see his side put up a better show against Queen’s. Credit: INPHO/Ryan Hiscott

Pay back: Rainey OB coach Ian McKinley will be keen to see his side put up a better show against Queen’s. Credit: INPHO/Ryan Hiscott

©INPHO/Ryan Hiscott

Return of Mac: Paddy McAllister is back for Belfast Harlequins. Credit: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Return of Mac: Paddy McAllister is back for Belfast Harlequins. Credit: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

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Pay back: Rainey OB coach Ian McKinley will be keen to see his side put up a better show against Queen’s. Credit: INPHO/Ryan Hiscott

Queen’s Univeristy have built up a 10-point cushion at the top of the All-Ireland Div 2 A table and will be aiming for a 10th win in 11 games against Rainey who, with just two victories, are scrapping for points to avoid being sucked into a relegation play-off. The students certainly had to work for their 40-8 triumph last week at Buccaneers, only pulling clear in the second half, and Derek Suffern’s squad will be in no mood for a repeat when facing Rainey who lost narrowly to second place Ballymena seven days ago. When the two sides last crossed swords in the league, back at the start of December, Queen’s annihilated the Magherafelt club by a margin of 54-0 so Ian McKinley and his squad will be eager to avoid a repeat when they tog out at the Dub. Queen’s should be strong enough with David Whitten and Conor McMenamin ready to lead from the front though both Ben Power and Lorcan McLoughlin are both out with injuries. “With Ulster derbies, form goes out the window and with Rainey scrapping for their survival in this league, they will be looking to turn us over at home and especially so as we turned them over at home earlier in the season,” said Queen’s team manager Chris Moore. Rainey will be without Josh McAuley, Marti Connolly and most likely also Conor Fitzsimmons. “We’ll have to front up but we know how tough this will be after the first time round,” Rainey director of rugby Brian Smyth stated. Also in 2A, Ballymena host UL Bohemians – who are in eighth and the same number of points ahead of Rainey – and the Eaton Park side can certainly do their near neighbours a favour by beating their visitors and denying them any bonus points. Up in 1A, Ballynahinch take on Terenure College at Ballymacarn Park with the first win still eluding the hosts after 10 rounds. Basement side Hinch have injury issues coming into the contest, especially at hooker, but are intent to keep battling with a relegation play-off looking increasingly unavoidable. In 1B, sixth-placed City of Armagh host Highfield, who are second, with Chris Parker’’s squad determined to atone for last week’s loss at leaders Old Wesley. Ninth-placed Banbridge, with two wins behind them, get to take on Wesley this week and Malone, in eighth, are at Shannon. Belfast Harlequins, with Paddy McAllister back in the squad, are at Wanderers for their 2B clash and Dungannon host Blackrock College. Bangor, third in 2C, meet bottom club Sundays Well while in eighth spot City of Derry take on Skerries who are second. Omagh Academicals, in fifth, face a trek to Midleton who are a point behind them and located in sixth. Fixtures, Division 1A: Ballynahinch v Terenure. Division 1B: City of Armagh v Highfield, Banbridge v Old Wesley, Shannon v Malone. Division 2A: Queen’s’ University v Rainey Old Boys, Ballymena v UL Bohemians. Division 2B: Dungannon v Blackrock, Wanderers v Belfast Harlequins. Division 2C: Bangor v Sundays Well, City of Derry v Skerries, Midleton v Omagh.

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