Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Coach Graham is urging Braid to repeat classy triumph

By Michael Sadlier

Only the second week in and already the first Ulster derby of the campaign in Division 1B is cropping up today when Belfast Harlequins cross swords with newly promoted Ballymena at Deramore.

The Braidmen travel to Belfast with a fair wind behind them after opening up last weekend with a 20-0 dismissal of Corinthians. Coach Andy Graham is ready to do battle with Quins and is confident that his charges can make it two wins from two.

The visitors are boosted by having the presence of Ulster squad members Mike McComish and Ricky Andrew while Dave Shanahan, John Andrew and Clive Ross are also released.

However, Graham does not have the services of Ritchie McMaster, who has pulled a hamstring in training, with Tim Small now moving to 10

"The boys had a great attitude and commitment against Corinthians and you can't ask for more than that," said Graham.

"We'll take confidence and belief from last week and we'll be hoping for a similar performance."

Quins narrowly lost at UL Bohemians last weekend and coach Adam Larkin is hoping his side can bounce back even though they are without Ulster squad member Rory Scholes, who has had surgery on a fracture in his foot which he picked up down in Limerick.

Still, Quins should benefit from having Michael Allen and Sean Reidy released along with regular Frank Taggart.

Meanwhile, Malone travel to Corinthians in fairly upbeat mood after their impressive dismissal of Buccaneers at Gibson Park and have Ulster squad members Alan O'Connor and Conor Joyce on board for the trip.

Coach Jacques Benade has tweaked things at half-back and with Josh Bingham away on Ulster underage duty, John Creighton moves to out-half with Shane Kelly inside him while, at full-back, Rudolph Benade is in for the unavailable Andy Bryans.

In Division 1A, Ballynahinch entertain Old Belvedere for their first home game but coach Derek Suffern is looking for an improved performance after their opening defeat at Terenure College.

"It (last week) was one of the worst performances of my time at Hinch," said Suffern. "We've got to get a reaction as we missed a great chance to have a good start."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph