ALL IRELAND LEAGUE
Interesting reviewing the Round 10 fixtures and results from Round 9. Out of 25 fixtures played in Round 10 - Thirteen of the results were reversed from Round 9. In Div 1A two results were reversed with three teams completing the double. In Div 1B four results from round 9 were reversed with Old Wesley completing the double over St Mary's College. Banbridge ended a two match losing run by winning their return match with City of Armagh at the Palace Grounds with Ulster winger Rob Lyttle scoring in both games on his return from injury. Malone ended a three match losing run by defeating Ballynahinch at Gibson park with winger Rory Campbell scoring two tries. Ballymena had their three match unbeaten run ended by Buccaneers at Eaton Park as they returned to 10th place. In Div 2A Queens University ended their four match losing run by picking up a bonus point in their win over Dolphin at Dub Lane. In Div 2B 10th place Dungannon shocked 3rd place Rainey OB at Stevenson Park in picking up a bonus point in their 26 - 3 win to end a six match losing run with Hooker Malcolm Allister scoring three tries on his return from a long term injury. Ulster neighbours Belfast Harlequins swapped places with Dungannon in 10th place after losing 22 - 12 at home to Sligo as the Deramore Park side continue their search for their first home win this season. In Div 2C Omagh were the only Ulster team to win their back to back games defeating Bangor at the Thomas Mellon playing fields to remain in 3rd place and extend their three match unbeaten run. Both Bangor and City of Derry have now lost their last three AIL games. It was worth noting how Malone, Banbridge, Queens University, Dungannon and Omagh all benefitted from a three week break to win their Round 10 matches at the weekend.
We question why we play more matches in Ulster than the other three provinces. Xmas was a perfect example with one coach asking the question why they had to play five matches in December. After Round 9 of the AIL should we not have been resting players just like our opponents in the other three provinces. Also noted with interest that the four Ulster AIL teams, Ballynahinch, Ballymena, City of Armagh and Rainey OB who contested the First Trust Senior Cup semi finals on the 5th January all lost their Round 10 matches at the weekend. Which match would the coaches have preferred to have won. They would have all answered the AIL game. City of Armagh Head coach Willy Faloon acknowledged his players were tired in the latter stages of their defeat at home to Banbridge last Saturday. It is not surprising considering they have been playing back to back rugby for nine weeks without a break. Should we not be asking questions about player welfare and their safety. Who takes responsibility for the current demands on the players at this level. We complain of the demands on players at Schools level and burn out. Should we not be concerned why the age profile is getting younger for adult teams. Is this not telling us something about the demands of the game on players at all levels in Ulster.
ALL IRELAND BATEMAN CUP FINAL
The Final involving Garryowen and City of Armagh will be played at St Mary's College RFC Templeville Road, Dublin on Saturday the 20th April 2019.
KUKRI ULSTER RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
DIV 1 ROUND 12
The top three teams Ballyclare, Instonians and Dromore all picked up bonus point wins as they challenge for the league title with six rounds remaining.
Ballyclare required a late try from Willie Stewart to defeat Portadown at Chambers Park 28 - 24. Instonians again required a late effort from the returning Michael Melville to pick up the bonus point in their defeat of Enniskillen. Dromore scored six tries in a comfortable win over Coleraine. Cooke surprised 4th place Grosvenor by winning 14 - 12 at Shawsbridge. The outstanding league game between Grosvenor and Cooke will be played at Gibson Park on Thursday evening the 31st January at Gibson Park with a 7.30PM kick off. Out of the bottom five teams CIYMS were the only winners recording their first league win of the season in defeating Carrickfergus 13 - 12 at Belmont. There were defeats for Portadown, Enniskillen and Coleraine. Seven points separate the top three teams with Dromore having a game in hand to play against Carrickfergus. No spare dates are available at present to rearrange this fixture. Two points separate CIYMS, Coleraine and Enniskillen with Carrickfergus a further five points ahead with in a match in hand. Coleraine have home fixtures with Enniskillen and CIYMS over the next three weeks that they will be targeting to win.
DIV 2 ROUND 11
Limavady, Academy and Clogher Valley are level on 45 points with seven rounds remaining with Randalstown a further ten points behind with a game in hand away to Ards. At this time there are no spare dates to rearrange this match. Clogher Valley have played one match more than Limavady and Academy and host Academy at the Cran this weekend. They have failed to win a league match against the top three this season with Head coach Stevie Bothwell hoping they can reverse this run of results. Ballymoney, Ards and Lurgan are contesting the mid table positions. It is still not clear who will finish in the bottom two positions in this league. Two points separate UUC and Lisburn with Larne seven points ahead in 8th place.
DIV 3 ROUND 15
With seven rounds remaining Donaghadee have a 12 point advantage over second place Monaghan.
LEAGUE POSITIONS OF JUNIOR TEAMS IN LEINSTER, MUNSTER AND CONNACHT
Who will the Ulster league winners of Kukri Div 1 play against in the Round Robin Playoffs that commence on Saturday the 30th March 2019.
Enniscorthy have a 15 x point advantage over 2nd place Gorey with three matches left to play. These games will be played on the 16.2.19, 2.3.19 and the 9.3.19.
Leaders Clonmel suffered their first league defeat of the season losing 21 - 20 to Kilfeacle and District at the weekend with four points separating the top four teams that include Clonmel, Newcastle West, Bandon RFC and Kilfeacle and District. The remaining three fixtures will be played on the 10.2.19,17.2.19 and the 3.3.19.
Connemara lead Creggs by six points with Creggs having a game in hand. Both teams meet on the 3.2.19 with the result possibly determining who will win the league. The remaining three games to be played are on the 3.2.19, 24.2.19 and 2.3.19.
Weather permitting the other three provinces will complete their league programme on the 2nd and 9th March that will enable the league winners in each province to prepare for the Robin Robin Playoffs. In Ulster the final league games in Div 1 will not be completed until Saturday the 23rd March one week prior to the start of the Playoffs.
Last week I questioned why are we playing so many matches in Ulster at Junior Level compared to our neighbours in the other three provinces. Between the 29th December and the 23rd March we have 13 weeks of rugby left for the teams in Div 1. Potentially for the successful teams they could end up playing 13 back to back games without a break. Is this right. Does it answer the question why we can't compete with the other three provinces in National competitions. No Ulster teams made the semi finals of the AIL Junior Cup this season. For the league winners they will be asked to play three possibly four matches in the Round Robin on top of their long season if they have ambitions to play in the All Ireland league.
I have suggested before that we should look at reducing our leagues from ten to eight teams. This would also facilitate the playing of Cup competitions including AIL Junior Cup, Millar McCall Wylie Junior Cup, River Rock Towns Cup and the McCrea Cup. Looking at the current playing template there are very few openings to accommodate Cup Finals because of the packed playing schedule. In each league we can see the gulf that exists between the top and bottom teams. Should we not have four Kukri Ulster Championship leagues. How can any team or club enjoy playing in a league where they are struggling to win matches. CIYMS, Coleraine and Enniskillen are teams that have been promoted to Div 1 in recent seasons. They find themselves struggling to retain their place in the league this season. Would it not be better for teams to be playing in leagues where they are competitive and can enjoy their rugby. Promotion does not guarantee you success. There are many other component parts that need to be in place for your club team to be competitive. Ballyclare, Instonians, Dromore and Grosvenor stand out ahead of the other teams in Div 1 this season. Ulster you would have to say are out of touch with the other provinces in terms of player management. Perhaps we could learn something from how players are managed in the professional game on the island of Ireland. The word attritional keeps being used to describe the playing template we have in place in Ulster. The lengthy injury lists in clubs should be a cause of concern for both club officials and coaches. We are witnessing how players are expected to return to a preseason 4/6 weeks after a season has ended. Is there not a requirement to have a balance between rest, conditioning, skill development and a properly structured playing template to manage players each season to play rugby.
It always pleases me to hear of young players coming from outside the traditional big six schools to gain representative rugby honours. One example is JJ McKee the current Ballymena 1st xv second row who has been selected for the Ireland under 20 Six Nations Squad. He is a player who played Youth Rugby at Randalstown RFC and came through Antrim Grammar School to continue his rugby at Ballymena RFC. When you talk to Willie Allen at Randalstown and Andy Graham at Ballymena RFC they both recognise the contribution Antrim Grammar have made to producing rugby players to play at their clubs. Andy Graham is very excited about the future and what it holds for former Antrim Grammar prop Jack Francis at the club. Other former Antrim Grammar pupils making an impact at Randalstown RFC include, Dean McCroary, Ben McKnight and Dale Morrow. Bruce Houston who has been included in the Irish under 20 squad is another player who learned his rugby at Randalstown Mini Section before moving to Ballymena Academy.
Former Randalstown RFC 1st xv player Jamie Orr is the Director of Rugby at Antrim Grammar School with a number of Randalstown players helping out including Chris McGolderick, David Armstrong, Ben Worsley, Daniel McCandless and Becky Hall. Hopefully the selection of former pupil JJ McKee will encourage other pupils at the School to play rugby.
Frequently I am asked why so few players from West of the Bann are not selected to be part of Ulster Rugby Development squads. Hopefully the breakthrough of Robert Balacoune into the Ulster Rugby team will not be the last from the West of the province. The former Portora pupil has made a big impact since starting on the wing for the province. The emergence of Portora Royal Grammar School as one of the seeded teams in the Schools Cup will hopefully act as a platform to promote their players. Is it not of concern so few players from Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Fermanagh, Tyrone, Londonderry and Armagh make it through into development squads in Ulster.
WEEKEND RESULTS/TEAM LISTS SATURDAY 19TH JANUARY 2019
ALL IRELAND LEAGUE ROUND 10
Clontarf 24 young Munster 20
Cork Constitution 28 Terenure College 5
Garryowen 22 UCC 23
Lansdowne 66 Dublin University 33
UCD 24 Shannon 20
Old Belvedere 8 Naas 20
St Mary's College 15 Old Wesley 41
Ballymena 16 Buccaneers 20
Ballymena team: 1. Nacho Clandero Crespo, 2. Jonny Spence, 3. Chris Cundell, 4. David Whann, 5. JJ McKee, 6. Conor Smyth, 7. Marcus Rea, 8. Clive Ross, 9. Michael Stronge, 10. Timmy Small, 11. Dean Reynolds, 12. Darrell Montgomery, 13. Matthew Norris, 14. Jordan foster, 15. Rodger McBurney, 16. Andrew Ferguson, 17. Josh Bill, 18. Stephen Mulholland, 19. Connor White, 20. Glenn Baillie.
Points scorers: Jordan Foster 1 x try, Timmy Small 1 x con and 3 x pens.
City of Armagh 15 Banbridge 32
City of Armagh team: 1. Paul Mullen, 2. Andrew Smyth, 3. Philip Fletcher, 4. Josh McKinley, 5. Peter Starrett, 6. James Hanna, 7. Robert Whitten, 8. Neil Faloon, 9. Harry Doyle, 10. Cormac Fox, 11. Shea O'Brien, 12. Jonny Pollock, 13. Chris Colvin (Capt), 14. Andrew Willis, 15. Ryan Purvis, 16. Jonathan Morton, 17. Eoin O'Hagan, 18. James Morton, 19. Evin Crummie, 20. Chris Cousens.
Points scorers: Robert Whitten, Shea O'Brien 1 x try each, Cormac Fox 1 x pen and 1 x con
Banbridge team: 1. Michael Cromie (Capt), 2. Peter Cromie. 3. Stuart Cromie, 4. Chris Allen, 5. Alex Thompson, 6. Caleb Montgomery, 7. Ethan Harbinson, 8. Stephen Irvine, 9. Neil Kilpatrick, 10. Josh Cromie, 11. Adam Doherty, 12. James Hume, 13. Andrew Morrison, 14. Conor Field, 15. Robert Lyttle, 16. Andrew Jackson, 17. Corrie Barrett, 18. Mike Bentley, 19. Aaron Kennedy, 20. Hugo Harbinson.
Points scorers: Conor Field, Stuart Cromie, Caleb Montgomery 1 x try each, Robert Lyttle 1 x try, 1 x con and 1 x pen, Adam Doherty 2 x cons and 1 x pen.
Malone 15 Ballynahinch 8
Malone team: 1. Peter Cooper, 2. Adam McBurney, 3. Ricky Greenwood, 4. Michael Shiels, 5. Jonathan Davis, 6. Dave Cave, 7. Ross Todd (Capt), 8. Joe Dunleavy, 9. Graeme Curtis, 10. Callum Smith, 11. Rory Campbell, 12. Nathan Brown, 13. Josh Pentland, 14. Andy Bryans, 15. Jack Owens, 16. Dan Kerr, 17. Ben Halliday, 18. Josh Davidson, 19. Connor Spence, 20. Mark O'Connor.
Points scorers: Rory Campbell 2 x tries, Dave Cave 1 x try.
Ul Bohemians 10 Old Crescent 31
Blackrock College 19 Highfield 59
Navan RFC 20 Cashel RFC 13
Nenagh Ormond 38 Galwegians 17
Queens University 31 Dolphin 5
Queens University team: 1. Nicky Woods, 2. Alexander Clarke, 3. Brian Cunningham, 4. David Whitten (Capt), 5. Ali Burke, 6. David Swann, 7. Andrew McGrath, 8. Gary Dillon, 9. Matthew Keane, 10. Richie McMaster, 11. Jonny Hunter, 12. Conor Shiels, 13. Rory Bell, 14. Mark Keane, 15. Jonny McIIwaine, 16. David Chambers, 17. Matthew Millar, 18. James Catterson, 19. Curtis Pollock, 20. Michael Orr.
Points scorers: Rory Bell, Conor Shiels, Mark Keane, Jonny Hunter, Ali Burke 1 x try each, Richie McMaster 3 x cons.
Galway Corinthians 41 Wanderers 31
MU Barnhall 17 Greystones 11
Sunday's Well 11 Skerries 17
Belfast Harlequins 12 Sligo 22
Belfast Harlequins team: 1. Mark McGrath, 2. Toby Mannus, 3. James Harrison, 4. Troy Webber, 5. Danny Annett (Capt), 6. Zach Jordan, 7. Daryl Marshall, 8. Ben Alexander, 9. David Devine, 10. Timmy Emerson, 11. Peter Dunlop, 12. Mark Kettyle, 13. Mark Gribben, 14. James McConnell, 15. Richie McKee, 16. Rory Winters, 17. Charlie Sargaison, 18. Jona Siri, 19. Christian Bennison, 20. Jordan Hylton.
Points scorers: Toby Mannus, Christian Bennison 1 x try each, Mark Gribben 1 x con
Dungannon 26 Rainey OB 3
Dungannon team: 1. Ross Stewart, 2. Malcolm Allister, 3. Glen Sinnamon, 4. Guilhem Lopez, 5. Stephen Todd (Capt), 6. David Leyburn, 7. Mark Riddell, 8. Alex Gormley, 9. John Russell, 10. John Buckley, 11. Caolan Mulgrew, 12. Mark Faloon, 13. Mervyn Brown, 14. Matthew Montgomery, 15. Andrew McGregor, 16. Jamie McNeill, 17. James Gamble, 18. Peter Doran, 19. Andrew McPhillips, 20. Adam Evans.
Points scorers Malcolm Allister 3 x tries, Stephen Todd 1 x try, John Buckley 2 x cons, Andrew McGregor 1 x con.
Rainey OB team: 1. Kieran Donaghy, 2. Brad Roberts, 3. Aidan McSwiggan, 4. John McCusker, 5. Jack McIntosh, 6. Matthew Millar, 7. Michael McCusker, 8. George Fritz, 9. Jason Bloomfield, 10. Andrew Magrath, 11. Oisin Quinn, 12. Andrew Browne, 13. Conor Fitzsimons, 14. Andrew Donaghy, 15. Michael O'Neill, 16. Fintan Quinn, 17. Michael Caithness, 18. Eunan Shaw, 19. Scott McLean, 20. Caolan Devlin.
Points scorers: Andrew Magrath 1 x pen.
Malahide 26 Seapoint 17
Thomond 22 Bruff 17
Midleton 13 Tullamore 10
Ballina 39 City of Derry 10
City of Derry team: 1. James Hamilton, 2. David Ferguson, 3. Sam Duffy, 4. Adam Bratton, 5. Gerard Doherty, 6. Conor McMenamin, 7. Chris Lamberton, 8. Stephen Corr (Capt), 9. Philip Duffy, 10. Alex McDonnell, 11. Colin Campbell, 12. Thomas Cole, 13. David Lapsley, 14. David Graham, 15. James Perry, 16. Ross Harkin, 17. Paddy Owens, 18. Craig Huey, 19. Matthew Orr, 20. Rory Maginty.
Omagh 25 Bangor 18
Omagh team: 1. Richard Hemphill, 2. Phil Ewing, 3. Peter Todd, 4. James Sproule, 5. Kaine Holden, 6. Mervyn Edgar, 7. Adam Longwell, 8. Matthew Clyde, 9. Stewart McCain, 10. Stuart Ballantine, 11. Matthew Eccles, 12. Luke Hanson, 13. Scott Barr, 14. Neil Brown, 15. Ali Beckett, 16. Kyle Alexander, 17. Richard Smyth, 18. Richard harper, 19. Jack Mitchell, 20. Scott Elliott.
Points scorers: Ali Beckett, Matty Eccles, Neil Brown 1 x try each, Stuart Ballantine 2 x cons and 1 x pen, Scott Elliott 1 x pen
Bangor team: 1. Philip Whyte, 2. Andrew Shaw, 3. James Leary, 4. Lewis Stevenson, 5. David Caughey, 6. David Bradford (Capt), 7. Jamie Clegg, 8. Curtis Stewart, 9. Liam Preston, 10. Gareth Millar, 11. Mark Widdowson, 12. Adam Alexander, 13. Phil Broderick, 14. Nathan Brown, 15. Declan Maguire, 16. Andrew Jackson, 17. Charlie Clegg, 18. Craig Burton, 19. Michael Ferguson, 20. Desi Fusco, 21. Adam McCusker.
Points scorers: Mark Widdowson, Curtis Stewart 1 x try each, Liam Preston 1 x con and 2 x pens.
KUKRI ULSTER RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
CIYMS 13 Carrickfergus 12
CIYMS team: 1. Michael Lilly, 2. Scott McNarry, 3. Gavin woods, 4. Cory Tipping, 5. Timothy Acheson, 6. Scott Dowle, 7. Jason Gilliland, 8. Mark McConkey, 9. Ruari Meharg, 10. Paddy Beverland, 11. Rob Haldane, 12. Matthew Kilgore, 13. Nathan Burns, 14. Gareth Peden, 15. Johnny Haldane, 16. J Harrison, 17. Harry Jenkins.
Points scorers: Johnny Haldane, Nathan Burns 1 x try each, Matthew Kilgore 1 x pen
Carrickfergus team: 1. Gareth McKeown, 2. Alan Whitley, 3. Paul Greenaway, 4. Chris Rodgers, 5. Ian McMenamin, 6. Jack Millar, 7. Ross Marsden, 8. Andy Kinkaid, 9. Conor Cambridge, 10. Jack Burton, 11. Ross Crymble, 12. Jonny Sheriff, 13. Fionn McCormick, 14. David Moore, 15. David Carse, 16. Joel Bell, 17. Neil Hastings.
Points scorers: Ross Crymble, David Carse 1 x try each, Fionn McCormick 1 x con
Cooke 14 Grosvenor 12
Cooke team: 1. Jonathan McClune, 2. Ian Moxen, 3. Russell Hunter, 4. Jonathan McClune, 5. Andrew Quigley, 6. Josh Harper, 7. Matthew Elliott, 8. Jason Lyons, 9. Ryan Flavelle, 10. Andrew Hanna, 11. Andrew Pollock, 12. Kyle Mitchell (Capt), 13. Jonathan Backus, 14. Phil Wood, 15. Alex Gourley. 16. Declan McClements, 17. Andrew Nelson.
Points scorers: Jonathan Backus, Kyle Mitchell 1 x try each, Andrew Hanna 2 x cons.
Grosvenor team: 1. Mark Rainey, 2. Stuart Rainey, 3. Willie Rea, 4. Peter Dawson, 5. Andrew Kelly (Capt), 6. Sam Purdon, 7. Ben Davies, 8. Conor McKee, 9. Adam Skelton, 10. Neil Adams, 11. Dean Swift, 12. Cameron Knell, 13. Peter Davison, 14. David Egner, 15. Matthew Fitzsimons, 16. Mark Cartmill, 17. Jonny Farquhar.
Points scorers: Andrew Kelly 1 x try, 1 x penalty try + con
Dromore 39 Coleraine 5
Dromore team: 1. Justy Savage, 2. Fraser Mulholland, 3. Tom Lyttle, 4. Jonny Maguire, 5. Matthew McMaster, 6. Adam MacGregor, 7. Peter Elliott, 8. Ben Heath, 9. TJ Morris, 10. David Lyttle, 11. Andrew Gilmore, 12. Graeme McCandless, 13. Aaron Stewart, 14. Brian McClearn, 15. Adam McDonald, 16. Mark Hylands, 17 . Ross Bingham.
Points scorers: Brian McClearn 2 x tries, Matthew McMaster, Aaron Stewart, Adam MacGregor, Adam McDonald 1 x try each, David Lyttle 1 x pen and 3 x cons.
Coleraine team: 1. Cillian Butler, 2. Marek Juzl, 3. Chris Breadon, 4. Fergal Wiseman, 5. Daniel McKinley, 6. Andy McKee, 7. Jake King, 8. Simon McLean, 9. Matthew Kennedy, 10. Adam Parke, 11. Stevie Callaghan, 12. Kyle McAuley, 13. Martin Senk, 14. Neil Graham, 15. Brian Cochrane, 16. Aidy Nevin, 17. Scott Moffat.
Points scorers: Aidy Nevin 1 x try.
Instonians 24 Enniskilllen0
Instonians team: 1. John Andress, 2. Conor Gallagher, 3. Alan Whitten, 4. Robert McGibbon, 5. Sean Shuttleworth, 6. Johnny Mooney, 7. Cameron Barr, 8. Massimo Kiri Kiri, 9. Paul Marshall, 10. Richard McCarthy, 11. Ross O'Donnell, 12. Wayne Kelly, 13. Matthew Kilpatrick (Capt), 14. Donal Moloney, 15. Michael Melville, 16. Tom Matthews, 17. David Scott.
Points scorers: Donal Moloney, Matthew Kilpatrick, David Scott, Michael Melville 1 x try each, Richard McCarthy 2 x cons.
Enniskillen team: 1. Alan Ferguson, 2. Ryan Cathcart (Capt), 3. Gareth Beatty, 4. Gavin Parke, 5. James Carleton, 6. Jamie Kelly, 7. Jack Rutledge, 8. David Taylor, 9. Matthew Dane, 10. Adam Lendrum, 11. John McClaughrey, 12. Nick Finlay, 13. Nathan Richmond, 14. Jarlath Maguire, 15. Conor Hoy, 16. David Patton, 17. Stevie Welsh.
Portadown 24 Ballyclare 28
Portadown team: 1. Mark Henderson, 2. Robert Reid, 3. Matthew Davison, 4. Matt Stevens, 5. Danny Alexander, 6. James Wright, 7. Jordan Taylor, 8. Lloyd Gravatt, 9. Brian Forrestal, 10. Brett Flack, 11. Jack Orr, 12. Josh Matchett, 13. Mark Adamson, 14. William Holden, 15. Tom Caesar, 16. Aaron McMaster, 17.Gary Hall.
Points scorers: Danny Alexander, Lloyd Gravatt, Jack Orr, Matt Stevens 1 x try each, Mark Adamson 2 x cons.
Ballyclare team: 1. Dean Jones, 2. Jack Black, 3. Al Boyd, 4. Robert Boyd, 5. Grant Bartley (Capt), 6. Aaron Playfair, 7. Gary Weatherup, 8. David Clarke, 9. Andy Eastop, 10. Robbie Reid, 11. Michael Kirk, 12. Willie Stewart, 13. Joel McBride, 14. Owen Kirk, 15. Gary Clotworthy, 16. Matthew Coulter, 17. Niall Lawther.
Points scorers: Willie Stewart 2 x tries, Owen Kirk, Michael Kirk 1 x try each, Robbie Reid 4 x cons.
ULSTER PREMIERSHIP SECOND XV LEAGUE
Ballynahinch seconds 37 Malone seconds 7
Ballynahinch team: 1. Ben Cullen, 2. Conor Piper, 3. Kelvin Hamilton, 4. John Gunson, 5. Daniel Dawson, 6. Graeme McKitterick, 7. Stuart Elwood, 8. Brian Howard, 9. Lewis Finlay, 10. James McBriar, 11. Jonny McCoubrey, 12. Ralph Mealiff, 13. George Pringle, 14. Aaron Ferris, 15. Joe Bingham, 16. Jerry Cronin, 17. Ricky Gill.
Points scorers: Lewis Finlay, James McBriar 2 x tries each, Joe Bingham, Stuart Elwood, Aaron Ferris 1 x try each, James McBriar 1 x con.
Malone team: 1. Gary Crawford, 2.Scott Finlay, 3. Charlie Shannon, 4.Lee Barlow (Capt), 5. Aaron McKechnie, 6. Tiarnan Dillon, 7. Stuart Doddington, 8. Tom Dullage, 9. Callum Leckey, 10. Bruce Duff, 11. Chris Tait, 12. Ricky McCullough, 13. Andy McConnell, 14. Chris Jordan, 15. Jack Knox, 16. Matthew Hamilton, 17. Ali Barnes.
Points scorers: Stuart Doddington 1 x try, Bruce Duff 1 x con.
Banbridge seconds 7 City of Armagh seconds 63.
Banbridge team: Ross Haughey, 2. Scott Cromie, 3. James McCrum, 4. Martin Vorster, 5. Alex Megaw, 6. John Wilson, 7. Dale Carson, 8. Paul Ross, 9. Frazer Wallace, 10. Jeff Dodds, 11. Chris Patterson, 12. Ross Cartmill, 13. John Porter, 14. Troy Pinion, 15. Callum Russell, 16. Colin Bickerstaff.
Points scorers: John Porter 1 x try, ross Cartmill 1 x con.
City of Armagh team: 1. Neil Lutton, 2. Jack Sleator, 3. Philip Matthews, 4. Ryan Morton, 5. Willie Martin, 6. Nigel Simpson, 7. Ollie Millar, 8. Gareth McNeice, 9. Trevor Girvan, 10. Gerard Treanor, 11. Dan Reynolds, 12. Stuart Lester, 13. Luke Crozier, 14. Misi Boginiti, 15. Kyle Faloon, 16. Peter Lamb, 17. Barry Finn.
Points scorers: Nigel Simpson 2 x tries, Misi Bogitini, Ryan Morton, Ollie Millar, Gerard Treanor, Luke Crozier, Dan Reynolds 1 x try each, Kyle Faloon 1 x try and 9 x cons (23 x points)
KUKRI ULSTER RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
Academy 45 Larne 0
Academy team: 1. Chris Nash, 2. Peter Jackson, 3. Troy Wilson, 4. Kyle Gregg, 5. Jonny Torrens, 6. Richard Henderson (Capt), 7. Brian Cahill, 8. Keith Dobbin, 9. David Kenny, 10. Jordan Buchanan, 11. Jamie Wilson, 12. Stewart martin, 13. Stevie Stewart, 14. Simon Beattie, 15. Chris Cooper, 16. Adam Martin, 17. Callum Lyle.
Points scorers: David Kenny, Keith Dobbin, Stewart Martin, Simon Beattie, Jamie Wilson, Chris Nash 1 x try each, Chris Cooper 1 x try and 5 x cons (15 x points)
Larne team: 1. Micah Stevenson, 2. Craig Gibson, 3. Jack Hill, 4. Matt Crampsey, 5. Barry Petticrew, 6. Dan Campbell, 7. Ryan McAllister, 8. Eddie hunter, 9. Ryan Garrett, 10. Aaron McBride, 11. James Bell, 12. Matthew Agnew, 13. Jordan Burns, 14. Ty Mackness, 15. Anton White, 16. Andrew Hyndman, 17. Bryan Blair.
Ballymoney 17 Clogher Valley 29
Ballymoney team: . Matthew Blair, 2. Kenny McAneaney, 3. Andrew Brown, 4. Danny Platt, 5. John McFetridge, 6. Daniel Ramage, 7. Lewis Wray, 8. Timmy Woods, 9. Matthew Steele (Capt), 10. John Hyndman, 11. Matthew Bell, 12. Martin Irwin, 13. Connor Creith, 14. Michael Armstrong, 15. James Cleland, 16. Jack Dowey, 17. Garin Bellingham.
Points scorers: Matthew Bell 2 x tries, Lewis Wray 1 x try, John Hyndman, 1 con.
Clogher Valley team: 1. Michael Treanor (Capt), 2. Kyle Cobane, 3. Neil Henderson, 4. Mark McKenna, 5. Eugene McKenna, 6. Aaron Dunwoody, 7. Josh Fegan, 8. David Sharkey, 9. Mark Ellis, 10. Paul Armstrong, 11. Josh Coulter, 12. Reece Smyton, 13. Fleming Agnew, 14. Adam Boles, 15. Ewan Haire, 16. Ryan Wilson, 17. Philip Hopper.
Points scorers: David Sharkey 2 x tries, Ewan Haire, Reece Smyton, Kyle Cobane 1 x try each, Paul Armstrong 2 x cons
Lisburn 14 Limavady 48
Lisburn team: 1. Jamie Dickson (Capt), 2. Matthew Nelson, 3. Uate Caquea, 4. Cameron Brough, 5. Andy Barron, 6. Andy Hamilton, 7. Kitione Dominiqbau, 8. Matt Edgar, 9. Dinis Manso, 10. Richard McGregor, 11. Conor Gascoigne, 12. Ryan Hill, 13. Jonny Dunlop, 14. Craig Walsh, 15. Craig Walsh, 16. Jack Nedza, 17. H Boyd.
Jamie Dickson 1 x try, Richard McGregor 1 x try and 2 x cons.
Limavady team: 1. Clive Scott, 2. Luke Montgomery, 3. Michael Rice, 4. John Purcell, 5. Perry Semple, 6. Stuart Simpson, 7. Ben Riley, 8. Jonny Lees, 9. Peter Wilson, 10. Gavin Martin, 11. Stuart Roddy, 12. Jody McMurray, 13. Jim McCartney, 14. Graham McAleese, 15. Matthew Haslett, 16. John McCollum, 17. Jason Kerr.
Points scorers: Matthew Haslett 3 x tries, Jonny Lees, Peter Wilson, Ben riley 1 x try each, Jody McMurray 2 x tries and 4 x cons (18 x points)
Lurgan 45 UUC 19
Lurgan team: 1. Graham Currie, 2. Lewis Lawson, 3. Andrew Gray, 4. Richard Shilliday, 5. Ryan Emerson, 6. Sam Longstaff, 7. Ryan Osbourne, 8. Dean Wilson (Capt), 9. Chris Jenks, 10. Dylan Gill, 11. Richard Hull, 12. Jack Wilson, 13. Ben McIIwaine, 14. Ryan Mooney, 15. Stephen Nolan, 16. Philip McRoberts, 17. Chris Clague.
Points scorers: Ben McIIwaine 2 x tries, Richard Hull, Ryan Mooney, Sam Longstaff, Chris Jenks 1 x try each, Stephen Nolan 1 x try and 5 x cons (15 x points)
UUC team: 1. Dan Morgan (Capt), 2. Peter Hugh, 3. Samuel Hetherington, 4. Sam McComb, 5. Ryan McKay, 6. Neil Stewart, 7. Chris Allen, 8. Jack Kilgore, 9. John Allen, 10. David McCluggage, 11. Stephen Logan, 12. Adam Johnston, 13. David Gilkinson, 14. Jacob Cavanagh, 15. Hayden Maxwell, 16. James Blair, 17. Lewis Henry.
Points scorers: Neil Stewart, Chris Allen, Adam Johnston 1 x try each, David McCluggage 2 x cons.
Randalstown 26 Ards 17
Randalstown team: 1. Matty O'Brien, 2. Marty O'Neill, 3. Gary Hume, 4. Scott McClenaghan, 5. Scott McClenaghan, 6. Peter Knowles, 7. Ian Hume, 8. David smith (Capt), 9. Tommy Holland, 10. Martin Connolly, 11. Niall McGlade, 12. Dan McGlade, 13. Jordan Foster, 14. Eoin Letters, 15. Michael Smith, 16. Neil Foster, 17. Dan Wilson.
Points scorers: Niall McGlade, Tommy Holland, David Smith, Eoin Letters 1 x try each, Martin Connolly 3 x cons.
Ards team: 1. Andrew Foster (Capt), 2. Tom Arthur Donnan, 3. Matty Kane, 4. Ross Torney, 5. Gareth McBurney, 6. Paddy Bond, 7. Ryan Thompson, 8. Graeme Taylor, 9. Alex Hendrickse, 10. Paul Cox, 11. Matthew Warnock, 12. Mark Banford, 13. Michael Taylor, 14. Mark McLean, 15. Aaron May, 16. Robert Hull, 17. Lewis English.
Points scorers: Mark McLean, Lewis English, Mark Banford 1 x try each, Paul Cox 1 x con.
KUKRI ULSTER RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
Cavan 27 Civil Service 25
Donaghadee 41 Holywood 31
Letterkenny 29 BHSFP 17
Ophir 22 PSNI 55
Strabane 3 Monaghan 50
Virginia 8 Newry 13
FIXTURES SATURDAY 26TH January 2019
ALL IRELAND LEAGUE ROUND 11
Shannon (5) v Garryowen(4). Played Friday 25.1.19. KO 8PM
Dublin University (7) v Clontarf(3)
Terenure College (10) v UCD (6)
UCC (9) v Lansdowne (2)
Young Munster (8) v Cork Constitution (1)
Ballynahinch (6) v Ballymena (10)
Banbridge (4) v St Mary's College (7)
Buccaneers (9) v Old Belvedere (8)
Naas (3) v City of Armagh (5)
Old Wesley (2) v Malone (1)
Ballynahinch v Ballymena
Home coaches Brian McLaughlin and Tom Rock will be looking their team to bounce back from their defeat at Malone to maintain their promotion challenge this weekend. Ulster releases include Zac McCall, Aaron Hall and Jack Regan with Jonny McPhilllips and Tom O'Toole to be confirmed for the match with Ballymena. Former Ulster player Ross Adair maintained his good form scoring his third try in his last four AIL games.
Ballynahinch coach Tom Rock is not expecting too many changes to the team that lost at Malone. There are a few players carrying knocks who will face late fitness tests. The coaches are looking a response from the players this week against Ballymena.
Talking to Andy Graham this will be the 5th meeting between the two playing squads this season. There was the preseason friendly played at Ballymacarn Park followed by games in the Ulster Premiership League, First Trust Senior Cup, All Ireland league and now the reverse league fixture in round 11. Ballymena lost the Premiership game 20 - 17 on the 8.9.18 at Eaton Park. In round 8 of the All Ireland League Ballymena won 18 - 10 at Eaton Park. In the semi final of the First Trust Senior Cup at Eaton Park on the 5.1.19 Ballymena won 22 - 20 with out half Timmy Small kicking a last minute penalty to win the match. Ballymena had their three match winning run ended by Buccaneers at Eaton Park losing 20 - 16. Ballymena may be in 10th place but they only find themselves six points behind 6th place Ballynahinch who are three points behind league leaders Malone.
Andy Graham felt his side let themselves down last week after building up a 9 - 0 lead against Buccaneers. Mistakes at the set piece and poor handling errors allowed Buccaneers back into the game. He felt the players allowed Buccaneers to disrupt their patterns and get amongst them to unsettle the team with the team unable to deal with this approach from Buccaneers. He is looking forward to the game at Ballynahinch this week with the players having an opportunity to redeem themselves. In the video reviews and on the pitch the players have been working hard to rectify their mistakes. These can be fixed to get these things right for Saturday. Fundamental lapses in defence allowed Buccaneers to gain the initiative. With Ballymena having a man in the bin Buccaneers were able to use their advantage to convert a penalty try. For the coaches this week it is ensuring the team look after the ball and play their rugby in the right areas of the pitch. It is all about winning the unit battles, the 50/50 balls, breakdowns and winning the aerial battles with their kicking game.
Selection this week will not be finalised until Thursday night. Clive Ross has not been released with his place to be taken by Stephen Mulholland at number 8. No decision has been made on the release of Irish under 20 players Bruce Houston and JJ McKee. Winger Jordan Foster who scored against Buccaneers will be available. Johnny McMullan who missed the game last Saturday is expected to come into contention this week. Front row cover Andrew Ferguson picked up a knock and is rated 50/50 with James Taggart available after missing last week due to illness. Jack Bolger, James Wheeler, Jack Lewis along with Eoin Ritson have all trained this week. If JJ McKee is not released Connor White is likely to start alongside David Whann in the second row with Willy McKay and Matthew Dick in contention for inclusion in the match day 20. Conor Smyth is expected to start alongside Marcus Rea and Stephen Mulholland in back row with Glenn Baillie on the bench.
The coach is expecting another difficult game. In the Cup match both teams were missing players with Andy Graham expecting another tight game. His team have to be at their best and not let themselves down on Saturday. It is about making the game about ourselves. We have to take the confidence that we have defeated them twice this season into the game on Saturday. It is about this Ballymena team dominating their opponents and building momentum to win this match.
Banbridge v St Mary's College
The home side ended their three match losing run with a convincing 32 - 15 win at City of Armagh last Saturday. Head coach Simon McKinstry was delighted with the strong start made by his team against Armagh with the home side looking dangerous with the ball in hand. This was emphasised by the terrific try they scored before halftime. Banbridge bounced back with Rob Lyttle looking dangerous with ball in hand to score a fine individual try. Adam Doherty had to leave the pitch with a Groin injury and will see the physio this week otherwise the squad has a fairly clean bill of health Ben Carson who picked up a finger injury in the round 8 match with St Mary's has now been ruled out for the remainder of the season. Ben Thompson has trained this week with a decision to be made on his fitness. Second row Alex Thompson has been released by Ulster and will become a key player for the remaining matches after playing for Terenure College and the Ireland Club xv last season.The coach is waiting on releases by Ulster Rugby. Caleb Montgomery has been released with James Hume, Rob Lyttle and Jonny Stewart to be confirmed. One piece of good news is the return of Johnny Little to the squad this week. In the first meeting between the two teams in round 8 St Mary's College gave this Banbridge team a real hiding in the first half with the second half finishing in a 7 - 7 draw. Unfortunately the damage had been done in that first half with the team losing 28 - 7. St Mary's College will be looking to end their losing run after losing back to back games with Old Wesley. Simon McKinstry is looking a reaction from his players in the same way they reacted to the defeat against City of Armagh in Round 9. Selection will be along similar lines to the team that played at the Palace grounds.
Naas v City of Armagh.
Coaches Willy Faloon and Chris Parker will well aware of the arduous run their City of Armagh team has been involved in over the last nine weeks. Tiredness is an area that the coaches picked up on in the final quarter at home to Banbridge. Injuries to centres Chris Colvin and Jonny Pollack will have disrupted their backline. With the second xv having no game this week the coaches may steps to freshen up their starting xv.
City of Armagh won a tightly contested game at the Palace Grounds 16 - 11 in round 8. Naas recorded an impressive 20 - 18 win at Old Belvedere last weekend and like any of the top eight teams in this league are in contention to secure promotion. Both teams will be looking a win before the teams have a break before round 12 resumes on the 16th February.
Chris Parker: Jonny Pollock is ruled out this week due to injury and will be replaced by Evin Crummie. Nigel Simpson will return to the pack after getting 80 mins with the seconds at Banbridge. Further rotations are expected with a few players to be monitored in training on Thursday night before selection is finalised.
Old Wesley v Malone
Both teams are level on points at the top of the table with Malone ending a three match losing run after defeating Ballynahinch at Gibson Park last Saturday. The Dublin side have already defeated Ulster sides City of Armagh and Malone away from home with wins at Donnybrook against Banbridge and Ballymena. The only Ulster side to defeat them in Dublin was Ballynahinch. Old Wesley are undefeated in their last three AIL games and have become serious title contenders. They defeated Malone 16 - 12 at Gibson Park in round 8.
Ulster releases include Jack Owens, Graeme Curtis and Joe Dunleavy with the release of Adam McBurney and Matty Dalton to be confirmed. Injury rules out Matty Agnew and Stewart Moore.Paddy Armstrong: He and his players are expecting another tough game away to Old Wesley at Donnybrook in Dublin this week. He welcomes Shane Kelly back into contention after returning from injury. Winger Ben McCaughey remains on the injured list with second row James McAllister a couple of weeks away from returning from injury. He expects his backline to be similar to the Ballynahinch game and is still waiting on injuries and Ulster releases before confirming his pack. The coach was pleased with the effort and attitude shown by the players against Ballynahinch and is looking more of the same against Old Wesley.
Cashel RFC (2) v Queens University (5)
Dolphin (8) v UL Bohemians (4)
Galwegians (10) v Navan RFC (3)
Highfield (1) v Nenagh Ormond (7)
Old Crescent (6) v Blackrock College (9)
Cashel RFC v Queens University
Coaches Derek Suffern and DJ Creighton were delighted with the performance of their team as they scored five tries to defeat Cork side Dolphin 31 - 5 at the Dub to end a four match losing run in the AIL. The challenge is for the players to back up this performance when they travel to Tipperary to play second place Cashel who won 19 - 13 at the Dub in their round 8 meeting. Cashel lost 20 - 13 away to 3rd place Navan RFC last week and will want to bounce back with a win to maintain their promotion challenge. Cashel had won their previous five AIL matches with their only other defeat coming at home to leaders Highfield in round 2 on the 13th October when they lost 17 -12. The only team to defeat leaders Highfield are Queens University who defeated them in Cork 43 - 41 in round one. Can Queens match this performance at Cashel this weekend.
Greystones (2) v Dungannon (8)
Rainey OB (3) v Sunday's Well (9)
Skerries (7) v Belfast Harlequins (10)
Sligo (5) v Galway Corinthians (6)
Wanderers (4) v MU Barnhall (1)
Greystones v Dungannon
Greystones will be looking to bounce back from back to back defeats against leaders MU Barnhall in round 9 and 10. Can Dungannon turn in another performance after defeating 3rd place Rainey OB 26 - 3 at Stevenson Park last week to end a six match losing run. In round 8 Dungannon led Greystones for most of the match before losing 20 - 17 at Stevenson Park.
Head coach Andy Hughes was pleased with the performance of his team against Rainey. The five points he would take at this stage of the season. The players stuck to their game plan with the first up Rainey runners being stopped behind the game line. It was all about his team playing on the front foot to close down the Rainey half backs Jason Bloomfield and Andrew Magrath as they struggled to find their runners. The Dungannon forwards stood up and were able to maul their opponents over the line for three tries from returning hooker Malcolm Allister. Another plus for the coach was the strong carrying of prop forward Ross Stewart who carried well throughout the match with the forwards putting in a good shift. The back row of Alex Gormley, Mark Riddell and David Leyburn put a lot of pressure on the Rainey ball carriers forcing errors. The only disappointment for the coach was three of his backs pitched up injuries including the centre pairing of Mark Faloon and Mervyn Brown along with replacement Andrew McPhillips. Both McPhiilips and Faloon will be out for several weeks with hamstring and hip flexer injuries. The coach is hoping Mervyn Brown will be available to play this week. Conor McGeough has informed the club he is returning to NZ in four weeks to follow in the footsteps of Jonah Mau'u.
For the match at Greystones Andrew McGregor remains a doubt due to work commitments. Former Captain James McMahon has returned to full training and will come into contention this week for selection. The coach was delighted to welcome back Guilhem Lopez for the Rainey game. Centre Lucca Avelli has had the cast removed from his injury and is targeting the Wanderers game for his return. Conor McGeough is likely to come into contention for a starting place depending on the availability of Andrew McGregor. Hooker Daniel Maxwell along with prop Sean O'Hagan continue their rehab from injury. The club are considering bringing home centre Andrew Weir for this weekend. The only selections to be confirmed are the two centres and full back positions. The same pack is expected to start with Jamie McNeill, Jonathan Gamble and Peter Doran covering from the bench with Adam Evans and Conor McGeough covering the backs. Adam Milligan had a run out against Bangor seconds last week and is expected to start against Enniskillen on Saturday week in the Towns Cup.
Andy Hughes: His players don't fear Greystones whether it is home or away. Games between both teams are always tight. If the weather continues as it is it may favour the Dungannon team. Players not fearing them. If the players turn up with the same enthusiasm and aggression they displayed against Rainey OB they can take valuable league points from this match. The team have been guilty of not picking up points from a number of matches this season.
Rainey OB v Sunday's Well
Head coach John Andrews will be disappointed his Rainey side slipped up at Dungannon last Saturday to lose their six match unbeaten run in the All Ireland League. The coach will be aware that Galway Corinthians along with Sligo are now challenging them for a top four finish. They welcome Cork side Sunday's Well to Hatrick Park knowing nothing less than five points will be required after defeating the Munster side 41 - 6 at Irish Independent Park in round 8.
John Andrews: He was missing half of his team for the match at Dungannon but acknowledged Dungannon deserved their win. He again felt it was a really disappointing from his team and is looking a much improved performance against Sunday's Well. Forwards Timmy Barker, John McCusker and Captain Paul Pritchard remain unavailable with Damien McMurray unavailable in the backs. He is hoping to have back row forwards Charlie Clarke and Andy Harbinson available this week.
Skerries v Belfast Harlequins
Five points separate the bottom four teams with Quins in need of much needed league points to move away from 10th place. They have lost four from five AIL games and drew their round 8 meeting with Skerries 10 - 10 at Deramore Park. Skerries have won their two back to back games against Sunday's Well in round 9 and 10 to move up to 8th place. Their two wins this season have come away from home away to Wanderers and Galway Corinthians. Can they make it three wins on the road. It has been another difficult season for Head coach Nicky Wells as his team fight once again to avoid relegation.
Bangor (6) v Ballina (1)
Bruff (4) v Malahide (5)
City of Derry (8) v Midleton (2)
Seapoint (10) v Omagh (3)
Tullamore (7) v Thomond (9)
Bangor v Ballina
You would have to say that if Bangor have any ambitions of making the playoffs this is a must win game for them at Upritchard Park this week against league leaders Ballina. In the round 8 meeting between the two teams Ballina held on to win 14 - 12. Back to back defeats against Omagh have set back their promotion ambitions. Ballina have only lost once away from home this season and will test the ambitions of this Bangor squad.
Michael Ferguson: Bangor will make a few changes this week. Centre Adam Alexander is ruled out and will be replaced by Desi Fusco with Adam McCusker coming on to the bench. The Head coach is hoping he will be available to take his place on the bench in place of Orran McIImurray. He recognises the importance of this match and is hoping his team get the right side of the result this week after losing at Omagh.
Bangor team with replacements: 1. Philip Whyte, 2. Andrew Shaw, 3. James Leary, 4. Lewis Stevenson, 5. David Caughey, 6. David Bradford (Capt), 7. Jamie Clegg, 8. Curtis Stewart, 9. Liam Preston, 10. Gareth Millar, 11. Mark Widdowson, 12. Desi Fusco, 13. Phil Broderick, 14. Nathan Graham, 15. Declan Maguire, 16. Andrew Jackson, 17. Charlie Clegg, 18. Michael Ferguson, 19.Craig Burton, 20. Adam McCusker.
City of Derry v Midleton
Paul O'Kane is aware of the importance of his side picking up league points from their home games. Three back to back defeats have City of Derry sitting one point ahead of 9th place Thomond who defeated 4th place Bruff last week. City of Derry need a result like this against 2nd place Midleton this weekend. They lost 36 - 7 away to their opponents this week in round 8. City of Derry will have noted that Tullamore only lost by one score in their narrow defeats against Midleton in round 9 and 10.
Paul O'Kane makes a few changes in the backs with Ulster under 18 scrum half Rory McGinty getting a start at 9. Simon Logue moves to full back with Callum O'Hagan starting on the wing. Both Colin Campbell and James Perry drop down to the bench. In the forwards Ben Pollin comes in at tight head for the injured Sam Duffy with the remainder of the side to be similar to the one that played at Ballina. City of Derry were in the match at Ballina for the first 50 mins with a few calls going against the team that swung the game in favour of the home side. The coach felt that the game was much closer than the final score line suggested. It is worth noting that all three Ulster teams Omagh, Bangor and City of Derry have lost at the home venue of Ballina. It certainly takes a strong match official to wave aside the home advantages they have at Hefferan Park. It is also worth noting Ballina remain undefeated at home this season. The only game Ballina have lost this season was away to Bruff in round 4 when they lost 26 - 18.
Paul O'Kane is looking forward to the challenge that Midleton will bring to his side at the Craig Thompson stadium this week. The team have eight league games left that the coaches and players are treating as eight Cup Finals as they try to remain as a Senior team.
City of Derry team and replacements: 1. James Hamilton, 2. David Ferguson, 3. Ben Pollin, 4. Adam Bratton, 5. Gerard Doherty, 6.Conor McMenamin, 7. Chris Lamberton, 8. Stephen Corr (Capt), 9. Rory McGinty, 10. Alex McDonnell, 11. Callum O'Hagan, 12. Thomas Cole, 13. David Lapsley, 14. David Graham, 15. Simon Logue, 16. Ross Harkin, 17. Paddy Owens, 18. Craig Huey, 19. Colin Campbell, 20. James Perry.
Seapoint v Omagh
Omagh have won their last three AIL games including back to back matches against Bangor in round 9 and 10. They played Seapoint at home in round 8 and won 34 - 5. The Eric Miller coached side have lost their last six AIL games and will be dangerous opponents for Omagh if they show any signs of complacency in their preparations for this match.
Philip Marshall: Back row forward Stuart Allen remains unavailable due to hip and groin problems with prop Kyle Alexander unavailable to travel due to travel and work issues. Young seconds prop Nathan Kilfedder will replace Kyle Alexander on the bench. Otherwise the squad will be similar to the one that defeated Bangor last Saturday.
KUKRI ULSTER RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
DIV 1 ROUND 13
Ballyclare (1) v Grosvenor (4)
CIYMS (10) v Instonians (2)
Carrickfergus (7) v Portadown (6)
Coleraine (9) v Enniskillen (8)
Dromore (3) v Cooke (5)
Ballyclare v Grosvenor
Mike McKeever: In the forwards Hooker Matthew Coulter will move from the bench into the starting front row this week. In the backs Niall Lawther is really challenging for a starting place and could move back into 10 this week which will be decided on Thursday night. With the squad having such a versatile set of backs it provides the coaches with a number of options. The coach has also mentioned how second xv players ross Patterson, Callum Wilson and Sam Caldwell are performing and challenging for a place on the 1st xv at Ballyclare.
Robert Ford: Pearce Jamison will return to the front row this week for Grosvenor with Jas McConkey, Allen McCluggage and Cameron Knell facing late fitness tests. Unfortunately for the coaches at Grosvenor their injuries continue to mount each week. It will be a tough ask at Ballyclare this weekend but it is one the players are looking forward to.
In the previous meeting between these two teams at Gibson Park on the 6.10.18 Ballyclare won a high scoring game 34 - 22.
CIYMS v Instonians
When these two teams met at Shawsbridge on the 22.9.18 Instonians won an entertaining game 39 - 20 with former Ulster scrum half Paul Marshall scoring three tries.
Carrickfergus v Portadown
Warren McClean: The coach is missing several players due to injury before he finalises his team on Thursday night. Carrickfergus will be looking to bounce back from their defeat at CIYMS last week.
Stuart Lamb: Portadown make one change with centre Mark Adamson unavailable with Luke Ashton returning to a reshuffled backline at full back. The coach is looking for a win after his side lost to a last minute try against Ballyclare in their 28 - 24 defeat.
In the meeting between the two teams at Chambers Park on the 6.10.18 Carrickfergus won a closely contested match 22 - 15
Coleraine v Enniskillen
Benjy van Der Byl: The Coleraine coach is still working on his selection for Saturday with a win crucial for both teams. Since Xmas Coleraine have won one, lost one and drawn one match at home as they look to pick up valuable league points this weekend. Coleraine have three crucial league games coming at home against Enniskillen, CIYMS and Portadown at home before completing their programme with fixtures against Grosvenor, Ballyclare and away to Carrickfergus in their final league match.
Stevie Welsh: The Enniskillen Head coach is having to deal with a number of injuries and absentees before selecting his side to play at Coleraine in this crucial relegation decider. Enniskillen have lost their last four league games and now face five league games away from home on the road.
In the first meeting between these two teams at Mullaghmeen on the 29.9.18 Enniskillen won a close game 22 - 20.
Dromore v Cooke
Jonny Cullen: The Dromore coach has one injury doubt over second row Matthew McMaster. If he fails a late fitness test Jonny Maguire will come in to partner Ross Bingham in the second row with the experienced Rory Pepper coming on to the bench.
Colin Atkinson: The Cooke coach will be looking to see if his team can back up their 14 - 12 win over Grosvenor when they travel to Dromore. He will be waiting anxiously on several late fitness tests on Josh Harper, Andy Hanna and Andy Pollock with injury ruling out Ian Moxen and Alan Gourley.
When these two teams met at Shawsbridge on the 15.9.18 Dromore won 17 - 8.
KUKRI ULSTER RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
DIV 2 ROUND 12
Ards (6) v Lisburn (9)
Ballymoney (5) v UUC (10)
Clogher Valley (3) v Academy (1)
Larne (8) v Randalstown(4)
Limavady (2) v Lurgan (7)
Ards v Lisburn
John West: Ards will make one change to the second row with Gareth McBurney unavailable otherwise the team will be along similar lines to side that played at Randalstown.
Mike Knowles: Injuries continue to dominate Lisburn selection with Andy Hamilton, Ryan Hill and Craig Lewis picking up injuries against Limavady to add to the injuries picked up by Adam Jameson and Noel Hooke against UUC.
In the first meeting between the two teams at Blaris on the 10.11.18 Ards scored five tries in a 31 - 5 win.
Ballymoney v UUC
Jonny Wright: The students pack struggled with five forwards missing for the game at Lurgan which led to winger Chris Allen playing in the back row. A front row crisis resulted in forwards coach James Blair taking his place on the bench. The return of David McCluggage has added some stability at 10 while both Ryan McKay and Jack Kilgore continue to impress each week. The side are confident that they can cause a few upsets before the end of the season.
Ballymoney won the first game between the two teams 34 - 0 on the 10. 10.18
Clogher Valley v Academy
Had the opportunity this week to catch up with new Clogher Valley Head coach Stephen Bothwell - six months into his first season incharge of the 1st xv. Despite being relegated from Div 1 last season the Fivemiletown side have made a strong start to their league campaign in Div 2. They find themselves in 3rd place level on points with Limavady and Academy having played one match more than the top two sides with the team having progressed to the last sixteen of the River Rock Towns Cup. The focus for Stephen and his assistant PC Faulkner is to develop a squad with depth in strength that can return the team to Div 1. As he pointed out to me there is no point in the side returning to Div 1 if they do not have the quality and depth to compete at the top of Div 1 otherwise you end up in a situation playing negative rugby to keep your place in the league. This season a number of young players are coming through including Reece Smyton, Ewan Haire, Aaron Dunwoody and Josh Fegan. The return of Paul Armstrong and Rodney Bennett from Dungannon has added experience to the squad with Paul Armstrong taking on and enjoying the responsibility for steering the backs and implementing the teams game plan from the out half position on the pitch. Others helping out are Henry Richmond with the front row and refereeing along with Philip Moore, David Sharkey and Ryan Wilson.
The key for the club is maintaining the structures they have in place to provide opportunities for players to play Mini, Youth and Adult rugby. Upskilling the coaches and keeping the parents involved is an ongoing process. Clogher Valley have links to Portora Royal Grammar School, Royal School Dungannon and Royal School Armagh with former Mini players attending these Schools. This season the club have not been able to put out a regular under 18 team with Davy Black and their Community Development Offier Eugene McKenna able to put out under 14s and under 16 teams. Again Eugene is doing great work in the area attracting future players to the club to play both Mini and Youth rugby. The challenge for the club is making inroads into Fivemiletown College to develop a strong rugby ethos. Again Eugene McKenna's work is ongoing in this area. To sustain Clogher Valley RFC it is important the club continues to identify and develop the opportunities for players to play rugby at the club. The club are looking 2/3 young players coming through each season to add to the 1st xv squad.
Getting back to the rugby - Clogher Valley are looking to end a losing run against top four sides Limavady, Academy and Randalstown when they play Academy at the Cran on Saturday. A win for Clogher Valley would make them serious contenders for promotion with Limavady also having to travel to the Cran. The coach will welcome back Ryan Wilson to his starting lineup up after benching him against Ballymoney with Rodney Bennett another option to be considered. Last weekend the coach played Aaron Dunwoody, Josh Fegan and David Sharkey in the back row to great effect with Aaron Dunwoody putting in another man of the match performance. As the coach put it you can't beat the youthful exuberance of these young players on the pitch. Another player who was given his opportunity in the second row at Ballymoney is promising second row Mark McKenna who has made a big impact this season. Centre Andrew Johnston is another player who is hoping to return next week after fracturing his hand to add options to the squad.
For the Clogher Valley coaches - this season has been about the team playing a more expansive type of game rather than the traditional tight game Clogher Valley have previously relied on. It is about his team concentrating on their style of rugby and being able to impose it on the opposition. The players have to concentrate on what they are doing and learn to be patient with the ball in keeping it through several phases. The challenge is the tip pass with the ball carrier being taken out by a tackler. Once the receiver is tackled it is having a trail runner to take the pass on or ruck the ball. The secret is the passer has to get back on the bike after passing to support the ball carrier. As Stephen put it more teams are looking to play positive rugby and prevent defensive teams getting on top. The coach was disappointed the team did not perform in their first match at Academy when they lost 18 - 5. The ambitions for this Clogher Valley team are to finish in the top four this season. They don't want to go up and end up struggling. They want to play at a level to develop and build strength in depth to challenge at the top end of Div 1. The coach is happy with the way the squad is developing and performing each week.
The key against Academy is the team adopting their shape and imposing their style on Academy to win the match.
The coach is delighted to have PC Faulkner alongside him each week with PC looking after all the responsibilities expected of a 1st xv Manager. He is well respected by all in the club and the players. As Stephen put it PC keeps him on the straight and narrow. We all know how important it is to have good people supporting the coaches in any club.
Academy won the first match between the two teams on the 1.12.18 at Roughfort 18 - 5.
Larne v Randalstown
Graham Cloke: Larne had to travel to Academy with a much changed team due to injuries and unavailability last week. The coach knew it would not be easy with a patched up side. This week he welcomes back Luke Burford, Jonny McKinty, Jack Hill and Captain Jonny Cole in the forwards with BJ McFaul and Jordan Burns in the backs. He is expecting his team to be more competitive this week but is aware that Randalstown are a good unit.
Willie Allen: Head coach Gary Longwell is awaiting late fitness test on hooker Scott Stevenson before finalising his side on Thursday night. Centre Coby Mason fractured his jaw against Academy and has had a plate inserted that will rule him out for the remainder of the season. Ryan O'Dea who picked up a dead leg at Academy is likely to play for the seconds this week with the coach retaining the centre partnership of Jordan Foster and Dan McGlade. Neil Foster who covered the bench against Ards is unavailable and will probably be replaced by Simon Adams otherwise the team will be similar to the side that played against Ards.
Randalstown won the first meeting between the two teams on the 1.12.18 at Nelisbrook 26 - 11.
Limavady v Lurgan
Graeme Eastwood: The Limavady coach is delighted with the work being put in by the playing squad each week. He is expecting another physical test against a big Lurgan pack that the team are looking forward to. There will be a few changes this week with Rory Squires, Darren Corrigan and Jamie Millar coming into the squad. It is the first home game for the players since Xmas with the players really looking forward to this game.
Lurgan lost the first meeting at Pollack Park 19 - 12 between the two teams on the 1.12.18.
KUKRI ULSTER RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
DIV 3 ROUND 16
Cavan (11) v Letterkenny
Civil Service (9) v Donaghadee (1)
Monaghan (2) v Virginia (8)
Newry (5) v BHSFP (8)
Ophir (12) v Holywood (4)
PSNI (3) v Strabane (7)
Updated 16:58 - 24 Jan 2019 by Roger Corbett
Thank you once again for your support. Enjoy your rugby this week.