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Smyth is hoping Rainey can keep firm grip on that winning feeling


By Michael Sadlier

With Queen's slipping up last weekend at home to Cashel, Rainey Old Boys are now the leading Ulster side in 2A and, as it happens, they take on the Co Tipperary club this weekend.

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After putting together a hat-trick of wins, the Magherafelt club, who secured promotion last season to take their place in 2A, are now second as they head south to fourth-placed Cashel's backyard.

"We've had a good start," said Rainey director of rugby Brian Smyth, alluding to their recovery after a surprise opening-day defeat to Nenagh.

"And the three wins have been great so we're happy enough with where we are.

"If our boys front up I can't see Cashel bullying us so we're ready to go and give it a dig."

Selection-wise, Andy Magrath is expected to shunt one in and start at out-half as Conor Fitzsimmons will start at 12. Martin Connelly, who has been starting at 10, is relocated to full-back.

Queen's, now in third, are at fifth-placed Old Crescent.

Coach Derek Suffern could have Lewis Pollock and scrum-half Conor McKee back from Irish U19 camp.

Ballymena, who won their first game last weekend, travel to bottom side Dolphin.

In 2B, Belfast Harlequins are at home to Blackrock, who are five places above the Deramore side in second.

Quins have won only once in four games, and this came from their last home tie which was against Galway Corinthians, so coach Nicky Wells will be looking for another positive outcome.

The Belfast side acquitted themselves reasonably well at leaders Greystones last weekend when losing 14-8 so Quins will be hopeful they can bring more improvement to the clash.

Dungannon, who are down in ninth, are also at home and have a vital meeting with bottom side Ballina.

As for 2C, the table there makes for pretty unpleasant viewing when it comes to Ulster representation in the division.

City of Derry are eighth, Omagh ninth and Bangor are propping it all up in 10th spot.

Derry are at home to fifth-placed Clonmel and Bangor take on Tullamore, who are sixth.

Omagh are the only one of the three on the road and they go to Midleton, who are sitting in seventh.

2A: Old Crescent v Queen's University, Dolphin v Ballymena, Cashel v Rainey.

2B: Belfast Harlequins v Blackrock, Dungannon v Ballina.

2C: Bangor v Tullamore, City of Derry v Clonmel, Midleton v Omagh.

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