| 9.5°C Belfast

Struggling Hinch seeking to build on recent momentum for Limerick contest

All Ireland League


Key player: Callum Reid will feature for Banbridge

Key player: Callum Reid will feature for Banbridge

�INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Key player: Callum Reid will feature for Banbridge

With just three points separating bottom club Ballynahinch from this weekend's opponents Young Munster, there is plenty of added tension surrounding their Division 1A clash.

'Hinch at least travel to Limerick having put together some form again, thanks to a combination of the All-Ireland League, Ulster Premiership and Ulster Senior Cup, as well as only just losing out 26-24 to their seventh-placed hosts at Ballymacarn Park early last month.

Brian McLaughlin's squad could do with getting something from this game ahead of another break until next month when they host unbeaten leaders Cork Constitution, to not only potentially move away from propping up the table but also creep ahead of both UCC and Dublin University, who currently sit on the same points as 'Hinch (18) but are in eighth and ninth respectively.

Beating Clontarf at home two weekends ago was a huge fillip for the Co Down club, who welcome back Ulster squad member Clive Ross following injury.

He joins regular releases Zack McCall, Jack Regan, Marcus Rea and Conor Rankin. Though out-half Sean O'Hagan is fit again, Robin Harte is out with a knock, while there are doubts surrounding Ross Adair and Paddy Wright.

"We've now put together several wins in various competitions, so we've built a bit of momentum," said 'Hinch director of rugby Harry McAleese.

In 1B, fourth-placed Banbridge are at home to struggling Navan and the Rifle Park side know they cannot afford any slip-ups with just four points between them and City of Armagh, who are down in eighth.

Indeed, Bann's three-game winning run came to an end at Armagh in the last round, which completed the back-to-back clashes, and they also just got past Navan last month.

"We're under no illusions about the threat Navan will bring, though we've also been focusing on our own processes and what we need to push on up the league," said Bann coach Mark McDowell, for whom Callum Reid, Jonny Stewart and Bruce Houston are all likely to feature.

Gibson Park is the scene of an Ulster derby as Armagh are aiming to do the double over Malone, who sit three points ahead of them in sixth.

It's been an inconsistent campaign for Armagh, though they do bring some form to the game.

In 2A, it's a huge occasion for Rainey Old Boys, and not just because this is second clashing with first in the table as unbeaten leaders MU Barnhall come to Hatrick Park.

With Barnhall 12 points clear of Rainey, the Magherafelt side's focus is largely on what is directly behind them. As such, they badly need to get a result as Old Crescent, Queen's University and Cashel are all within range of overhauling John Andrews' second-placed squad.

Rainey face quite a task as Barnhall have won all 10 games played, though when the sides met at Parsonstown early last month, the Magherafelt side only lost 8-3. However, Rainey are not at full strength for this game as Tommy O'Hagan, Michael O'Neill, Aiden McSwiggan and John McCusker are all missing.

Also in 2A, Queen's host Ballymena, with the fourth-placed students gunning to avenge narrowly losing at Eaton Park last month.

Ballymena, in eighth, will be confident after drawing last time out with Rainey as they face a fourth straight Ulster derby.

In 2B, Belfast Harlequins meet Galwegians, who are a place above them in seventh.

With Ballina now looking certain to be automatically relegated, ninth-placed Dungannon's goal will be to overhaul 'Quins and escape the play-offs.

The Tyrone side face quite a task this weekend as they are at Greystones, who are in third.

Bangor cross swords with Omagh in what is sure to be a keenly contested 2C Ulster derby.

Eighth-placed Bangor could really do with backing up their result over leaders Enniscorthy, and Omagh, though they are in fourth, will want this one too having lost to Bangor last month and not won in their last four outings.

City of Derry, meanwhile, travel to Enniscorthy.

Div 1A: Young Munster v Ballynahinch

Div 1B: Banbridge v Navan, Malone v City of Armagh

Div 2A: Queen's University v Ballymena, Rainey Old Boys v MU Barnhall

Div 2B: Belfast Harlequins v Galwegians, Greystones v Dungannon

Div 2C: Enniscorthy v City of Derry, Omagh v Bangor

Belfast Telegraph