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Leaders Bann braced for a tough challenge

By Michael Sadlier

With four games to go, Division 2A pacesetters Banbridge know that today's game at Nenagh is critical in their bid to detach themselves from the chasing pack.

The pressure is certainly on Dan Soper's squad as they know that defeat to their sixth-placed opponents could well open things up for several sides to be in with a shout of pipping the Co Down outfit to the automatic promotion place.

So, Bann head south in search of some breathing space from Naas and UCC, who are currently three and seven points adrift respectively.

"It's important to get the result, but it certainly won't be an easy one to get," said Soper.

James McCrum and John Porter are the only changes for Bann from their bonus-point win at Skerries.

Elsewhere, Malone, in fourth, host UCC with play-off ambitions very much on the Gibson Park side's minds while, three places back, Queen's University are at Skerries.

The only Ulster derby of the day sees Division 2B leaders City of Derry at Armagh with Terry McMaster's squad seeking a return to winning ways again after losing their last two games.

Narrow defeats at Greystones and then, most alarmingly of all, at home to Dungannon have seen Derry's lead at the top cut to 10 points but McMaster is still confident that his side will hit their stride again.

"If we can put that right with a good performance the result should look after itself," McMaster stated.

Andrew Semple is back for Derry at scrum-half which sees Simon Logue back on the wing while Adam Bratton will be missing with a knee injury.

Elsewhere in 2B, seventh-placed Dungannon are hosting promotion-chasing Highfield while a place below the Tyrone side, Rainey travel to Sunday's Well who are in second and 10 back from City of Derry.

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