Domestic club review - Saturday 2nd March

Domestic club review - Saturday 2nd March

By Roger Corbett
28th February
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George Millar's review and look ahead to this weekend's games

Round 13 was not the most forgiving weekend for the 12 Ulster teams in the All Ireland League with Ballynahinch and Queens University the only winners. Also worth noting - comparing the reverse fixtures from Round 6. 14 teams completed the double with 11 teams reversing their round 6 results. Seven Ulster teams including Malone, Ballynahinch, Banbridge, City of Armagh, Queens University, Rainey OB and Omagh are in contention for top four finishes and the playoffs with Ballymena, Belfast Harlequins, Dungannon, Bangor and City Derry battling to avoid relegation.

Interesting noting the points collected by the Ulster teams from their opening four AIL games in 2019. Maximum 20 points.
Ballynahinch 10/20. Points from 4 games
Ballymena 2/20. Points from 2 games
Banbridge 11/20. Points from 4 games
Bangor 2/20. Points from 2 games
Belfast Harlequins 6/20. Points from 2 games
City of Armagh 7/20. Points from 2 games
City of Derry 9/20. Points from 3 games
Dungannon 10/20. Points from 3 games
Malone 13/20. Points from 4 games
Omagh 10/20. Points from 3 games
Queens University 15/20. Points from 3 games
Rainey OB 9/20. Points from 3 games

Malone had hauled themselves back from a 14 - 0 deficit against Naas at Forenaughts to lead 20 - 19 with the game on the blow only for the home side to be awarded a late penalty to win 22 - 20. Winger Mark O'Connor contributed 10 points from the boot for the Gibson Park side. In the Ulster derby at Rifle Park Banbridge twice led Ballynahinch 14 - 0 and 17 -12 only to lose out 18 - 17 to two late Richard Reaney penalties. City of Armagh were faced with several late changes to their front row as they went down 29 - 5 to Old Belvedere at Anglesea Road. Ballymena suffered another heavy defeat - this time at home to leaders Old Wesley as they went down 57 - 7 at Eaton Park. They now find themselves 10 points adrift of 9th place Buccaneers with five matches remaining. Upcoming games against City of Armagh and Banbridge could decide their fate in Div 1B. Four points now separate the top four teams in this Division with two points separating the five teams in 5th to 9th place. Every match is a Cup Final in the remaining five rounds with teams fighting it out for the league title and a top four finish never mind the fact that only nine points separate nine teams as they look to avoid finishing in 9th and 10th place.

Queens University backed up their bonus point win over Navan RFC with another bonus win over 4th place UL Bohemians 35 - 3 in a thrilling game at the Dub. Centre Rory Bell was the stand out performer scoring two of his teams five tries. Having secured a maximum 10 points from their last two AIL games Queens find themselves in 4th place as they target the playoffs. They are now level on 35 points with Old Crescent and UL Bohemians with five games remaining. Coaches Derek Suffern and DJ Creighton along with their inspirational Captain David Whitten will be hoping to build on the progress the team are making in 2019 as they target promotion to Div 1B.

Rainey OB suffered a surprise 16 - 12 at home to 4th place Sligo at Hatrick Park. They remain in 3rd place four points ahead of Sligo with leaders MU Barnhall and 2nd place Greystones favourites to fill the top two positions. Six points separate the teams in 3rd to 6th place for the playoffs with five points separating the bottom four teams with Belfast Harlequins and Dungannon in competition with Skerries and Sunday's Well to avoid finishing in 9th and 10th place. The remaining five games in this league are all Cup Finals for the three Ulster teams. Dungannon put on a good show at leaders MU Barnhall as they led 10 - 7 at halftime only to lose out in the second half 20 -13. Coach Andy Hughes felt his team were unlucky not to salvage a draw in the closing minutes with poor handling letting them down. Still a valuable losing bonus point picked up by the County Tyrone side. Belfast Harlequins have yet to win at home this season. On the road they have won three matches and nearly made it four in losing out narrowly to Greystones 28 - 26 at Dr Hickey Park. Despite trailing 14 - 8 at halftime they scored three tries with full back Mark Glover picking up a brace to leave with two valuable league points. Every match for these three Ulster teams is about picking up points from their remaining games. Belfast Harlequins and Dungannon meet at Deramore Park on the 23rd March in what could be a decisive match for both teams.

Omagh Head coach Phil Marshall will be disappointed his team have only picked up one point from their last two away games losing out to Tullamore 26 - 21 at the weekend and Seapoint 23 - 14 as they compete for a top four finish and the playoffs. Malahide picked up another five points at City of Derry to close the gap on Omagh to one point as both teams battle it out for 4th place. In their Round 17 match Omagh have to make the journey to play Malahide away. Just like the bottom end of Div 2B we have two Ulster teams Bangor and City of Derry embroiled in a battle with Seapoint, Thomond and Tullamore to avoid finishing in 9th and 10th place. Seven points separate these five teams with five matches left to play. Bangor suffered their 6th AIL defeat in a row going down to 3rd place Bruff 25 - 11 at the weekend. City of Derry despite conceding six tries in a 45 - 27 defeat at home to Malahide secured a try scoring bonus point courtesy of a late try from back row forward Tiernan Thornton.

Holders Ballyclare were made to work hard for their 31 - 14 win over Randalstown at the Cloughan with winger Michael Kirk adding another two tries to his tally of five tries in his last three games. Junior Cup holders Dromore went down 15 - 12 to many peoples favourites for this seasons Towns Cup - City of Armagh seconds at the Palace Grounds with back row forward Stuart Hooks scoring both their tries. Two teams with a great tradition in the Towns Cup - Clogher Valley and Enniskillen both progressed at the expense of Portadown and Ballymena seconds to the last four. Clogher Valley were level with Portadown 14 - 14 at halftime with the Fivemiletown club outscoring their opponents 19 - 5 in the second half with full back Ewan Haire picking up a brace of tries. Their neighbours Enniskillen built up a 21 - 3 lead by halftime against Ballymena seconds with prop Gavin Warrington once again on the scoresheet with another try. Ballymena rallied in the second half but were unable to breach the well organised Enniskillen defence.

Ballyclare v City of Armagh seconds
Clogher Valley v Enniskillen

Both semi finals are to be played on/before Saturday 16th March with the Final to be played at the Kingspan stadium on Easter Monday the 22nd April.

Holders Malone seconds were surprisingly defeated by Provincial league Div 1 league leaders Queens University seconds 24 - 20 at the Dub with their winger Chris Jennings bagging two tries. Last seasons finalists Cooke received a bye after CIYMS conceded their match against the Shawsbridge team. Instonians fielded a weakened side against Grosvenor and were not unsurprisingly beaten 71- 0 by Belfast neighbours Grosvenor at Shawsbridge with the referee blowing up the match 20 minutes early. Grosvenor scored 11 tries with their number 8 Connor McKee scoring three and their centre Conor Knell contributing 21 points. Div 2 league leaders Academy proved too strong for Belfast Harlequins seconds at Roughfort scoring 9 tries with out half Chris Cooper contributing 22 points.

Have to say I was disappointed to hear that both CIYMS and a weakened Instonians side were unable to be competitive in this seasons McCrea Cup. Both teams had been in good form and would have been contenders for the Cup. The priorities for both teams are their remaining league games. Instonians travel to Ballyclare this weekend in a vital league match that could decide the destiny of this seasons Div 1 league title. CIYMS find themselves fighting relegation to keep their place in Div 1. They have a crucial league game at home to Enniskillen this week with one point separating the two teams.

Cooke v Grosvenor
Queens University seconds v Academy

Both semi finals are to be played on/before Saturday 16th March with the Final to be staged at the Kingspan stadium on Easter Monday the 22nd April.

Once again - due to the congested fixture schedule in Ulster two of our premier club cup competitions are being forced to stage their semi- finals on the same afternoon as the final games in the 2019 Six Nations. Italy play France at 12.30PM, Wales play Ireland at 2.45PM with England playing Scotland at 5PM. For whatever reason our clubs despite the rules changes are unwilling to play club games on a Sunday afternoon or use the option to play on a Friday night. Societal and work changes along with the reluctance of clubs to play matches outside the traditional Saturday afternoon window are I believe denying players the opportunity to play rugby. Having these semi finals on the same day as the final games in the Six Nations illustrates the challenges the administrators of the game have in encouraging clubs to think outside the box and look at alternatives for hosting and staging fixtures.

The match between City of Armagh and City of Derry had to be postponed at Chambers Park on Wednesday the 27th February 2019 due to severe fog. The match has been provisionally rescheduled for Wednesday 20th March. The next scheduled fixture is due to take place on Wednesday 6th March 2019 when Enniskillen play Randalstown at Chambers Park. KO 7.45PM


We have a top of the table clash involving leaders Instonians and 2nd place Ballyclare at the Cloughan this weekend. Three points separate these two teams with Ballyclare having a game in hand away to Cooke. A win for Instonians would make them clear favourites to win the league with two games remaining to be played against Carrickfergus and Cooke. The remaining games for Ballyclare are against Coleraine and 3rd place Dromore. One more win should secure 3rd place for Dromore with Grosvenor needing two more wins to finish in 4th place. If Coleraine lose this weekend at Grosvenor and pick up no points they will be favourites to be relegated to Div 2 with games remaining against Ballyclare and Carrickfergus. They are currently 10 points behind 9th place Enniskillen. Eight points separate the five teams in 5th to 9th place with CIYMS meeting Enniskillen at Belmont on Saturday. One point separates the two teams in 8th and 9th place with Enniskillen having a game in hand away to Dromore. Cooke, Carrickfergus and Portadown all know that one more win should secure their place in Div 1 next season. Points could become very difficult to secure in the remaining games for these five teams. Teams in Div 1 will be following very closely the events in Div 2C of the All Ireland League to see whether City of Derry and Bangor can retain their place in the AIL. If the Div 1 winners are not promoted to the AIL through the Round Robin we could see two teams relegated from Div 1 if one of these teams in Div 2C are relegated. No doubt the teams involved will be watching results very closely over the remaining weeks of the season.

Like Div 1 we have another top of the table clash involving leaders Academy and 2nd place Limavady at Roughfort this weekend. Two points separate these two teams with Limavady having a game in hand against Ballymoney. Clogher Valley in 3rd place are level on points with 2nd place Limavady having played one game more. They will be looking to take maximum points from Larne at the Glynn to keep the pressure on Limavady and Academy. 4th place Randalstown are 11 points behind 3rd place Clogher Valley with two games in hand against Ards and Clogher Valley. They will welcome Limavady to Nelisbrook on Saturday week. You cannot rule out Gary Longwell's team from being in the mix if they can win the games with Limavady and Clogher Valley. Again every point earned will be crucial from the remaining games to decide who will finish in 1st and 2nd place. Ballymoney and Ards were two teams I expected to be competing with the top four this season for promotion. Along with newly promoted Lurgan who have impressed in their first season in Div 2 they will be looking to finish in 5th place. Larne occupy the bottom three places alongside Lisburn and UUC. Can the students overhaul Lisburn to finish in 9th place.

Donaghadee remain in pole position with five games left to play. They hold a 7 point advantage over 2nd place Monaghan who have played one game more than the league leaders.



Young Munster 12 Garryowen 10
Clontarf 36 UCC 29
Cork Constitution 22 UCD 27
Shannon 24 Dublin University 27
Terenure College 35 Lansdowne 26

Buccaneers 24 St Mary's College 17

Banbridge 17 Ballynahinch 18
Banbridge team: 1. Michael Cromie (captain), 2. Jonny Murphy, 3. Stuart Cromie, 4. Alex Thompson, 5. Robin Sinton, 6. Caleb Montgomery, 7. Ethan Harbinson, 8. Stephen Irvine, 9. Ian Porter, 10. Josh Cromie, 11. Hugo Harbinson, 12. Jonny Little, 13. Andrew Morrison, 14. Conor Field, 15. Adam Doherty, 16. Peter Cromie, 17. Corrie Barrett, 18. Matthew Laird, 19. Aaron Kennedy, 20. Adam Ervine.

Points scorers: Caleb Montgomery, Hugo Harbinson 1 x try each, Ian Porter 2 x cons and 1 x pen.

Ballynahinch team: 1. Jonny Blair, 2. Zack McCall, 3. Tom O'Toole. 4. John Donnan, 5. James Simpson, 6. Jack Regan, 7. Keith Dickson, 8. Conall Boomer, 9. Rhys O'Donnell, 10. Ryan Wilson, 11. Aaron Cairns (Captain), 12. Rory Butler, 13. Robin Harte, 14. Richard Reaney, 15. Ross Adair, 16. Clayton Milligan, 17. Ben Cullen, 18. Bradley Luney, 19. Paddy Wright, 20. James McBriar, 21. Conor McPhillips.

Points scorers: Aaron Cairns, Ross Adair 1 x try each, Richard Reaney 1 x con and 2 x pens.

Naas 22 Malone 20
Malone team: 1. Peter Cooper, 2. Dan Kerr, 3. Ricky Greenwood, 4. Ryan Clarke, 5. Michael Shiels, 6. Dave Cave, 7. Ross Todd (Captain), 8. Joe Dunleavy, 9. Shane Kelly, 10. Callum Smith, 11. Mark O'Connor, 12. Nathan Brown, 13. Josh Pentland, 14. Rory Campbell, 15. Andy Bryans, 16. Ben Halliday, 17. Josh Davidson, 18. James McAllister, 19. Connor Spence, 20. Chris Jordan.

Points scorers: Peter Cooper, Ricky Greenwood 1 x try each, Mark O'Connor 2 x cons and 2 x pens

Old Belvedere 29 City of Armagh 5
City of Armagh team: 1. Paul Mullen, 2. Jack Treanor, 3. John Clarke, 4. Peter Starrett, 5. Josh McKinley, 6. James Hanna, 7. Nigel Simpson, 8. Neil Faloon, 9. Gerard Treanor, 10. Cormac Fox, 11. Shea O'Brien, 12. Chris Cousens, 13. Chris Colvin (Captain), 14. Evin Crummie, 15. Tim McNiece, 16. Simon Carlile, 17. Matthew Nelson, 18. James Morton, 19. Johnny Pollock, 20. Harry Doyle.

Points scorers: Shea O'Brien 1 x try.

Cashel RFC 56 Blackrock College 19
Dolphin 46 Nenagh Ormond 17
Navan RFC 17 Highfield 12
Old Crescent 35 Galwegians 22

Queens University team: 1. Matthew Millar, 2. Alexander Clarke, 3. Brian Cunningham, 4. David Whitten (Captain), 5. Ali Burke, 6. James Catterson, 7. Curtis Pollock, 8. David Swann, 9. Matthew Keane, 10. Richie McMaster, 11. Jonny Hunter, 12. Conor McKee, 13. Rory Bell, 14. Mark Keane, 15. Michael Orr, 16.Davy Chambers, 17. James Longwell, 18. Martin Withers, 19. Fal El Valve, 20. Robbie Johnston.

Points scorers: Rory Bell 2 x tries, David Swann, David Whitten 1 x try each, Richie McMaster 1 x try and 4 x cons.

Galway Corinthians 55 Skerries 38
Wanderers 17 Sunday's Well 13

Greystones 28 Belfast Harlequins 26
Belfast Harlequins team: 1. Toby Mannus (Captain), 2. Rory Winters, 3. James Harrison, 4. Callum Leckey, 5. Troy Webber, 6. Thomas Gallagher, 7. Jona Siri, 8. Ben Alexander, 9. Connor Young, 10. Timmy Emerson, 11. Peter Dunlop. 12. Mark Kettyle, 13. Kyle Adams. 14. James McConnell, 15. Mark Glover, 16. Mark McGrath, 17. Charlie Sargaison, 18. Danny Annett, 19. James Boville, 20. Jordan Hylton.

Points scorers: Mark Glover 2 x tries, Kyle Adams, James McConnell 1 x try each, Timmy Emerson 3 x cons.

MU Barnhall 20 Dungannon 13
Dungannon team: 1. Ross Stewart, 2. Daniel Maxwell, 3. James Gamble, 4. Guilhem Lopez, 5. Alex Gormley, 6. David Leyburn, 7. Mark Riddell (Captain), 8. James McMahon, 9. John Russell, 10. John Buckley, 11. Caolan Mulgrew, 12. Lucca avelli, 13. Mervyn Brown, 14. Matthew Montgomery, 15. Andrew McGregor, 16. Jamie McNeill, 17. Glen Sinnamon, 18. Stephen Todd, 19. Andrew weir, 20. Conor Milnes.

Points scorers: James McMahon 1 x try, Lucca Avelli 1 x con and 2 x pens.

Rainey OB 12 Sligo 16
Rainey OB team : 1. Kieran Donaghy, 2. Brad Roberts, 3. Fintan Quinn, 4. John McCusker, 5. Timmy Woods, 6. Mattie Millar, 7. Andrew Harbinson, 8. Paul Pritchard (Captain), 9. Jason Bloomfield, 10. Andrew Magrath, 11. Andrew Donaghy, 12. Conor Fitzsimons, 13. Oisin Quinn, 14. Mark Mulholland, 15. Scott McLean, 16.Aidan McSwiggan, 17. George Fritz, 18. Michael Caithness, 19. Eunan Shaw, 20. Andrew Browne.

Points scorers: Scott McLean 4 x pens

Ballina 28 Seapoint 22
Midleton 22 Thomond 17

Bruff 25 Bangor 11
Bangor team: 1. Philip Whyte, 2. Andrew Shaw, 3. James Leary, 4. Lewis Stevenson, 5. David Caughey, 6. Mike Weir, 7. Jamie Clegg, 8. David Bradford (Captain), 9. Liam Preston, 10. Gareth Millar, 11. Mark Widdowson, 12. Desi Fusco, 13. Phil Broderick, 14. David Charles, 15. Nathan Graham, 16. Andrew Jackson, 17. Charlie Clegg, 18. Michael Ferguson, 19. Craig Burton, 20. Ricky Armstrong.

Points scorers: Lewis Stevenson 1 x try, Gareth Millar 2 x pens

City of Derry 27 Malahide 45
City of Derry team: 1. Ross Harkin, 2. David Ferguson, 3. Jimmy Hamilton, 4. Conor McMenamin, 5. Gerard Doherty, 6. Tiernan Thornton, 7. Craig Huey, 8. Stephen Corr, 9. Rory McGinty, 10. Matthew Orr, 11. Ian Bratton, 12. Thomas Cole, 13. David Lapsley, 14. David Graham, 15. Simon Logue, 16. Cathal Cregan, 17. Barry Lavery, 18. Jack Townley, 19. Keelan Coyle, 20. James Perry.

Points scorers: Simon Logue, David Lapsley, David Graham, Tiernan Thorton 1 x try each, Matthew Orr 1 x pen and 1 x con, Keelan Coyle 1 x con.

Tullamore 26 Omagh 21
Omagh team: 1. Richard Hemphill, 2. Phil Ewing, 3. Peter Todd, 4. Kaine Holden, 5. Mervyn Edgar, 6. Richard Harper, 7. Adam Longwell, 8. Matthew Clyde, 9. Adam Beattie, 10. Scott Elliott, 11. Matthew Eccles, 12. Luke Hanson, 13. Scott Barr, 14. Ryan Mitchell, 15. Eoin Murnaghan, 16. Richard Smyth, 17. Nathan Kilfedder, 18. Michael Gibson, 19. Peter Scott, 20. Stuart Ballantine.

Points scorers: Mervyn Edgar, Scott Barr, Richard Smyth 1 x try each, Scott Elliott 3 x cons


Clogher Valley 33 Portadown 19
Clogher Valley team: 1. Stephen McWilliams, 2. Kyle Cobane, 3. Neil Henderson, 4. Eugene McKenna, 5. Michael Treanor, 6. David Sharkey, 7. Aaron Dunwoody, 8. Ryan Wilson, 9. Neil Trotter, 10. Paul Armstrong, 11. Fleming Agnew, 12. Rodney Bennett, 13. Reece Smyton, 14. Josh Coulter, 15. Ewan Haire, 16. Josh Fegan, 17. Mark McKenna.

Points scorers: Ewan Haire 2 x tries, Stephen McWilliams, Kyle Cobane, Rodney Bennett 1 x try each, Paul Armstrong 4 x cons.
Portadown team: 1. Mark Henderson, 2. Rab Reid, 3. Matthew Davison, 4. James Wright, 5. Danny Alexander, 6. Jordan Taylor, 7. Gary Hall, 8. Lloyd Gravitt, 9. Brian Forrestal, 10. Brett Flack, 11. Aaron Morton, 12. Craig Woods, 13. Mark Adamson, 14. Josh Matchett, 15. Jack Orr, 16. Matthew Wilson, 17. Matt Stevens.

Points scorers: Jordan Taylor, Rab Reid, Craig Woods 1 x try each, Mark Adamson 3 x cons.

Enniskillen 21 Ballymena seconds 3
Enniskillen team: 1. Gavin Warrington, 2. Ryan Cathcart (Captain), 3. Gareth Beatty, 4. Gavin Parke, 5. David Buchanan, 6. Jamie Kelly, 7. Jack Rutledge, 8. James Carleton, 9. Nick Finlay, 10. Adam Lendrum, 11. Matthew Dane, 12. Tyler Millar, 13. James Ferguson, 14. John Arnold, 15. Mark O'Shea, 16. Alan Ferguson, 17. Ashley Finlay.

Points scorers: Gavin Warrington, Jamie Kelly 1 x try each, 1 x penalty try + con, Nick Finlay 2 x cons.

Ballymena seconds: 1. Ashton Logan, 2. James Taggart, 3. Houston Bonnar. 4. Vekune Ika, 5. George Hargy, 6. Ryan Mattison, 7. Reuben Russell, 8. Matthew Dick (Captain), 9. Jack Fleming, 10. Eoin Ritson, 11. Jonny Rossborough, 12. Alan Smith, 13. Sam Millar, 14. Connor Agnew, 15. Steven Shaw, 16. Scott Agnew, 17. Jack Lewis.

Points scorers: Sam Millar 1 x pen.

City of Armagh seconds 15 Dromore 12
City of Armagh team: 1. Neal Lutton, 2. Peter Lamb, 3. Philip Matthews, 4. Stephen Morton (Captain), 5. Willy Martin, 6. Ryan Morton, 7. Stuart Hooks, 8. Ollie Millar, 9. Nathan Rogers, 10. Andrew Magowan, 11. Misi Bogitni, 12. John Faloon, 13. Luke Crozier, 14. Stuart Lester, 15. Kyle Faloon, 16. Andrew Morton, 17. Josh Kennedy.

Points scorers: Stuart Hooks 2 x tries, Kyle Faloon 1 x pen and 1 x con.

Dromore team: 1. Tom Lyttle, 2. Fraser Mulholland, 3. Mark Hylands, 4. Jonny Maguire, 5. Ross Bingham, 6. Adam MacGregor, 7. Peter Elliott, 8. Ben Heath, 9. TJ Morris, 10. David Lyttle, 11. Andrew Lyttle, 12. Graeme McCandless, 13. Aaron Stewart, 14. Brian McClearn, 15. Adam McDonald, 16. Andrew Black, 17. Rory Pepper.

Points scorers: Brian McClearn, Andrew Rutledge 1 x try each, Adam McDonald 1 x con

Ballyclare 31 Randalstown 14
Ballyclare team: 1. Dean Jones, 2. Matthew Coulter, 3. Al Boyd, 4. Ryan Tweed, 5. Robert Boyd, 6. Aaron Playfair, 7. Gary Weatherup, 8. Dave Clarke, 9. Ryan McIIwaine, 10. Niall Lawther, 11. Michael Kirk, 12. Willie Stewart, 13. Robbie Reid, 14. Owen Kirk, 15. Joel McBride (Captain), 16. Jack Black, 17. Grant Bartley.

Points scorers: Michael Kirk 2 x tries, Ryan Tweed, Joel McBride, Grant Bartley 1 x try each, Robbie Reid 3 x cons.

Randalstown team: 1. Neil Foster, 2. Scott Stevenson, 3. Gary Hume, 4. Scott McClenaghan, 5. Dean McCroary, 6. Kyle Hetherington, 7. Peter Knowles, 8. David Smith (Captain), 9. Tommy Holland, 10. Martin Connolly, 11. Jack Dempster, 12. Ryan O'Dea, 13. Jordan Foster, 14. Eoin Letters, 15. Dan McGlade, 16. Marty O'Neill, 17. Johnny Fullerton.

Points scorers: Jack Dempster 1 x try, Martin Connolly 3 x pens.

Queens University seconds 24 Malone seconds 20

Queens University seconds team: 1. Alex Elmore, 2. Jack Sleator, 3. Toby Jozwiak, 4. Matthew Kernohan, 5. Callum Cardwell (Captain), 6. Rees Goddard, 7. Andrew Walker, 8. Daniel Edgar, 9. James Creighton, 10. Daniel Keane, 11. Chris Jennings, 12. Curtis Dundas, 13. Rory Nicholl, 14. Josh Rawlinson, 15. Jonny Milliken, 16. Matthew McSorley, 17. Mark Gordon.

Points scorers: Chris Jennings 2 x tries, Callum Cardwell, Mark Gordon 1 x try each, James Creighton 2 x cons.

Malone seconds team: 1. Lee Barlow, 2. Scott Finlay, 3. Philip Eadie, 4. Tom Dullage, 5. Jonny Davis, 6. Stuart Doddington, 7. Daryl James Maxwell, 8. Max Porter (Captain), 9. Callum Jeffrey, 10. Bruce Duff, 11. Jack McMurtry, 12. Finn Stoneman, 13. Neil Alcorn, 14. Andy McConnell, 15. Neil Burns, 16. Matthew Hamilton, 17. Gary Crawford.

Points scorers: Max Porter, Neil Alcorn, Daryl Maxwell 1 x try each, Bruce Duff 1 x pen and 1 x con.

Instonians 0 Grosvenor 71

Instonians team:

Grosvenor team: 1. Mark Cartmill, 2. Stuart Smyth, 3. Pearce Jamison, 4. Willy Rea, 5. Peter Dawson, 6. Matthew Cahoon, 7. Ben Davies, 8.Connor McKee, 9. Neil Adams. 10. Peter Davison, 11. Jonny Farquhar, 12. Conor Knell, 13. Jos McConkey, 14. Dean Swift, 15. Matthew Fitzsimons, 16. Allen McCluggage, 17. Jeff Mealiff.

Points scorers: Connor McKee 3 x tries, Peter Davison, Allen McCluggage 2 x tries each, Dean Swift, Stuart Smyth, Jonny Farquhar 1 x try each, Conor Knell 1 x try and 8 x cons, (21 x points)

CIYMS v Cooke. Conceded by CIYMS

Academy 57 Belfast Harlequins 7
Academy team: 1. Chris Nash, 2. Lee Moody, 3. Troy Wilson, 4. Brian Cahill, 5. Jonny Torrens, 6. Jamie Watts, 7. Stuart Martin, 8. Richard Henderson (Captain), 9. David Kenny, 10. Chris Cooper, 11. Jamie Wilson, 12. Callum Lyle, 13. Mark Wylie, 14. Steven Stewart, 15. Simon Beattie, 16. Peter Jackson, 17. Adam Martin.

Points scorers: Steven Stewart, Mark Wylie 2 x tries each, Troy Wilson, Simon Beattie, Stuart Martin 1 x try each, Chris Cooper 2 x tries and 6 x cons. (22 x points).

Belfast Harlequins seconds team:

City of Armagh seconds v Ballymena seconds. Postponed

Omagh seconds 41 Banbridge seconds 21

Omagh seconds team: 1. Kyle Alexander, 2. Mark Brown, 3. Ethan McKeown, 4. Jake McCay, 5. Jake Cunningham, 6. Stuart Lyons, 7. Jack Mitchell, 8. Ryan Armstrong, 9. Taine Lagan, 10. Kyle Beattie, 11. Stephen MacLaine, 12. Yonga Taleni, 13. Dean Kane, 14. Oscar Nelson, 15.David Ward, 16. Glenn McKinley, 17. Stewart McCain.

Points scorers: Dean Kane 2 x tries, Ryan Armstrong, Stewart McCain, Ethan McKeown, Jake McCay 1 x try each, David Ward 4 x cons and 1 x pen.

Banbridge seconds team: 1. Scott Cromie, 2. John Wilson, 3. Ross Haughey, 4. Robin Hewitt, 5. Alex Megaw. 6. Marty Vorster, 7. Toby Baxter, 8. Scott Magowan, 9. Frazer Wallace, 10. Ben Thompson, 11. Chris Patterson, 12. Robin Thompson, 13. Ross Cartmill, 14. Grant Murphy, 15. John Porter, 16. Robbie Mathers, 17. Chris Berry.

Points scorers: Robbie Mathers 2 x tries, John Wilson 1 x try, Robin Thompson 3 x cons.

Virginia 20 Strabane 13
Holywood 28 Monaghan 38



Dublin University (4) v Terenure College (10)
Garryowen (5) v Cork Constitution (1)
Lansdowne (20 v Young Munster (9)
UCC (8) v Shannon (7)
UCD (6) v Clontarf (3)

Ballynahinch (4) v Naas (3)
City of Armagh (7) v Ballymena (10)
Malone (2) v Buccaneers (9)
Old Wesley (10 v Banbridge (5)
St Mary's College (8) v Old Belvedere (6)

Ballynahinch v Naas
Ballynahinch coach Tom Rock: Consistency in selection has enabled the coaches to pick a settled side this year. This has been reflected by the performances of the team. With five rounds remaining in the AIL - is there a team out there who can string a winning run together. With the results each week it makes the current league very exciting. The team face a big challenge against a very good Naas team this week. The coaches were delighted with the win at Banbridge. The team were able to back up their win at Ballymacarn over Banbridge with a win at Rifle Park to complete the double over their neighbours this season. It was a case of two good sides playing each other last Saturday with the defensive effort of the Ballynahinch team securing the win. This is a area Ballynahinch have been working hard on since round 5 after conceding points. The next two games against Naas and Buccaneers are crucial to the promotion ambitions of this Ballynahinch team. Last season the team were leading the league and slipped up in their final two games. This is something the coaches and players have spoken about to avoid a repeat this season in learning to close out games. Second row James Simpson is unavailable this week with back row Ollie Loughead remaining on the injured list. Centre Rory Butler has made a big impact since returning from injury. Ulster Academy prospect Bradley Luney came off the bench at Banbridge and put in a strong performance. He will be considered in the second row to replace James Simpson with Tom Martin an option to come into the squad.
Naas are a good side with experienced former professional players in their team. They have key players who allow them to play nice rugby and move the ball wide. Ballynahinch went down at the beginning of the season and lost. It is all about the team putting in a performance this week at home. Another defensive performance will be needed as the team demonstrated in defending their own line at Banbridge in showing considerable guts and desire to keep Banbridge out. The teams defensive efforts have formed the foundation for the teams recent improved performances.

Ulster releases: Zac McCall and Jack Regan with Johnny McPhillips TBC. Injury rules out Aaron Hall with Iwan Hughes on sevens Duty.

Naas won home fixture 27 -14 in Round 5 on 3.11.18

City of Armagh v Ballymena
City of Armagh coach Chris Parker: Injuries and unavailability denied City of Armagh of several of their experienced front row players at Old Belvedere last Saturday. It meant Paul Mullen, Jack Sleator and John Clarke starting with Simon Carlile and Matthew Nelson (Lisburn RFC) providing front row cover from the bench. Injuries rule out Andrew Willis, Jonny Morton, Ryan O'Neill, Ryan Purvis, Harry Boyd and Gareth McNiece this week. Oisin Kiernan who was unavailable last week along with Eoin O'Hagan and hooker Andrew Smyth all return this week. Prop Philip Fletcher was in cast but has been cleared to play. He will come into contention for selection this week along with Robert Whitten. Daryl Morton who has been out for several weeks has trained this week and will be available for the 1st or 2nd xv this week. Further injuries were picked up by Ryan Morton and Stuart Lester playing for the second xv in their Towns Cup win over Dromore. Ryan Morton fractured his wrist and will be ruled out for the remainder of the season. The coaches are considering changes on the bench this week. The Belvedere game was not good to view on the video. The City of Armagh team were blown away at the start to allow Belvedere to score two early tries. Ball retention was good with the team making good decisions . Silly errors were disappointing . The players realise they have to get back to the standards they have set to look after the ball.

The challenge in Div 1B is to remain one step ahead of your opponents. Opposition teams analyse how teams play week to week. This season has been a step up for the Armagh players. Their game management has been naïve at times. The challenge for the coaches is to evolve and change week to week.

The Ballymena game is another Ulster derby. Form goes out the window. The City of Armagh coaches are expecting an extremely difficult game against Ballymena at the Palace Grounds. They will fight to the end. The key for the Armagh players is to focus on themselves . Both sides know each other very well having played three fixtures against each other this season. Saturday is all about managing the game and the players taking their opportunities. With two home games coming up against Ballymena and St Mary's College these home games are vital to the ambitions of the City of Armagh team. Every game is difficult with the players having to make sure home advantage counts.

Ballymena Head coach Andy Graham: The team started not too badly against league leaders Old Wesley last week. Their cause was not helped with second row David Whann having to leave the pitch early with an eye injury he picked up in the Senior Cup Final against City of Armagh to be replaced by Jonny Browne. Ulster Academy prospect and Captain Marcus Rea was only allowed to play for 40 mins. Problem for the Ballymena team was they started well but could not sustain their performance for 80 mins with errors compounding their performance. With so many players missing it has been a case of getting on with it. 18 year old Youth player Phil Campbell made his debut at number 8 on Sat and is viewed as a player for the future. He is likely to retain his place in the squad this week. Rodger McBurney remains on the injured list along with winger Johnny McMullan. Mark Foster is expected to be out for several weeks following return to play protocols. Dean Reynolds picked up an ankle injury and is a major doubt. Number 8 Stephen Mulholland is another doubt with his fitness to be confirmed on Thursday night. Out half Bruce Houston is ruled out with concussion and will follow return to play protocols. The fitness of JJ McKee will be confirmed on Thursday night. Second row Connor Smyth played with a virus last week and will undergo a fitness test on Thursday night.
The Ballymena backline is expected to see Timmy Small move to out half with Matthew Norris wearing the 15 jersey. Winger Jordan Foster is available. It will be a case of either Glenn Baillie/Darrell Montgomery partnering Paddy James in the centre with one on the wing. The pack is expected to be see the same front row from last Saturday with hopefully JJ McKee partnering Connor Smyth in the second row. Marcus Rea, Jack Bolger, Stephen Mulholland, Phil Campbell will compete for the back row. The bench will be finalised on Thursday night.

Ballymena have lost their last four AIL games and will be targeting the Ulster derbies coming up against City of Armagh and Banbridge to pick up vital league points.

Ulster releases: Marcus Rea. Bruce Houston injured.

City of Armagh won away fixture 22 - 13 in Round 5 on 3.11.18

Malone v Buccaneers
Malone Head coach Paddy Armstrong: His team were disappointed to lose in the last play of the game last week against Naas. It shows how fine margins make all the difference. He is looking his team to put in a big performance this week against Buccaneers. He is still waiting on final Ulster releases and their status. He is hoping to have Joe Dunleavy who has been excellent this season for the team. This weekend the coach and his players are expecting a very tough game against a very good Buccaneers side who have put in some very good performances of late. Once again the coach is expecting another tight game between these two teams.

Ulster releases: Jack Owens, Joe Dunleavy and Graham Curtis with Ross Kane TBC. Injury rules out Stewart Moore, Matty Agnew, Matty Dalton and Adam McBurney

Malone won away fixture 24 - 23 in Round 5 on 3.11.18

Old Wesley v Banbridge
Banbridge Head coach Simon McKinstry: Disappointed his team did not win their match against Ballynahinch. He was frustrated his players butchered a couple of opportunities and had a try disallowed when Adam Ervine was denied a score. Winger Hugo Harbinson broke his hand and will be ruled out for the remainder of the season. Out half Josh Cromie is a major doubt after picking up an ankle injury. He will face a late fitness test on Thursday night. Second row Alex Thompson will play his final game this week for Banbridge before heading to NZ. Second row Chris Allen returns to the squad this week.

Old Wesley is a difficult place to play. Banbridge have won their before. The coach believes they can do it again.

Ulster releases: Caleb Montgomery, Greg Jones and David McCann with Jonny Stewart TBC. Connacht release: Jonny Murphy TBC.

Banbridge lost home fixture 15 - 8 in Round 5 on 3.11.18

Nenagh Ormond (8) v Cashel RFC (2) Played Friday 1.3.19. KO 8PM
Blackrock College (90 v Queens University (4)
Galwegians (10) v Dolphin (7)
Highfield (1) v Old Crescent (5)
UL Bohemians (6) v Navan RFC (3)

Blackrock College v Queens University
Queens University have secured 15/15 points from three home matches. They are now on the road to Dublin to play Blackrock College this week. Every point is vital as the team target a top four finish.
Queens University coach D J Creighton: Queens are expected to retain the same squad that defeated UL Bohemians last week.

Queens University won home fixture 18 - 12 in Round 5 on the 3.11.18

Belfast Harlequins (9) v Wanderers (6)
Dungannon (8) v Galway Corinthians (5)
Skerries (7) v Rainey OB (3)
Sligo (4) v Greystones (2)
Sunday's Wells (10) v MU Barnhall (1)

Belfast Harlequins v Wanderers.
Belfast Harlequins 1st xv Manager Neale Wilson: The team is to be finalised on Thursday night with hooker Rory Winters unavailable this week.

Belfast Harlequins won away fixture 25 - 24 in Round 5 on the 3.11.18

Dungannon v Galway Corinthians
Dungannon Head coach Andy Hughes: The effort was definitely there from the players at league leaders MU Barnhall on Saturday. The players had to front up and they did that for the first 30 mins to get amongst the Barnhall players to lead 10 - 7 at halftime with the team unlucky not to snatch a draw at the end. The coach has a few bumps and bruises amongst his players from a physical game last Saturday. He is looking his players to back up their performance against Galway Corinthians at Stevenson Park on Saturday. They are a good side who like to throw the ball about. Both Jamie McNeill and Andrew Weir are unavailable this week with Malcolm Allister and Mark Faloon expected to return to the squad. Malcolm Allister is expected to start at hooker with Daniel Maxwell dropping down to the bench. Second row Alex Gormley is carrying a shoulder injury and will undergo a fitness test on Thursday night. Ross Stewart and James Gamble are expected to retain their place in front row with Glenn Sinnamon providing front row cover with the scrums going well against Barnhall. Sean O'Hagan will play for the 2nd xv to get game time. The coach will not have Ross Stewart next season as he is heading to University in England. The coach is also pleased to welcome back Lewis McCrabbe, Jordan McIIwaine and Jonny Toal who will play for the seconds along with Peter Doran who all need game time. Conor McGeough has informed the club he will be extending his stay at Dungannon to next season. Welcome news for the coach as he looks to strengthen his playing squad. Conor Milnes will provide scrum half cover from the bench. Andrew McPhillips is another two weeks away from being able to play.

For Andy Hughes it is all about the players not dropping off their performances after playing the top four sides with every point vital in the remaining games with other teams picking up points. The next couple of weeks are massive for the club. He is pleased the squad don't have any dead rubbers to play that will focus the players with so much riding on the remaining games.

Dungannon lost away fixture 36 - 12 in Round 5 on the 3.11.18

Skerries v Rainey OB
Rainey Head coach John Andrew's: After the home defeat against Sligo this Rainey team find themselves struggling to finish in the top four and make the playoffs. Six points separate Rainey OB, Sligo, Galway Corinthians and Wanderers with five games remaining. Injuries and unavailability have necessitated the coach to bring in dual status players. With further unavailability this week the coach has called up second xv players Daniel O'Neill, Cameron Stewart and Aaron Doherty. Concussion injuries rule out Matthew Millar and Andrew Donaghy with both players following return to play protocols. Timmy Woods has returned to Ballymoney with the coach welcoming back returning full back Michael O'Neill.

Rainey won home fixture 37 - 30 in Round 5 on the 3.11.18.

Bangor (6) v Tullamore (7)
Malahide (5) v Midleton (2)
Omagh (4) v City of Derry (8)
Seapoint (10) v Bruff (3)
Thomond (9) v Ballina (1)

Bangor v Tullamore
Bangor Head coach Michael Ferguson: The coach is expecting to make a few changes this week as he welcomes backs Oscar Yandell, Ally Lockhart and Adam Alexander to his squad. He felt the team put in a much better performance with the side unlucky not to come away with a point at least as they were very much in the game at Bruff. Tullamore had a good result at the weekend and his players are aware of their strengths. Michael Ferguson is looking a big performance to get his side back on track as a team. With the coach waiting on a couple of fitness tests the team will not be finalised until Thursday night.

Bangor lost the away fixture 27 - 0 in Round 5 on the 3.11.18

Omagh v City of Derry
Omagh Head coach Phil Marshall: Richard Hemphill and Richard Smyth are added to the Omagh injury list with seven players unavailable. Second xv front row players Ethan McKeown and Mark Hopton Brown are added to the squad. Both Captain Stewart McCain and Ali Beckett missed the defeat at Tullamore and return to the squad this week.

City of Derry Head coach Paul O'Kane :

Omagh won away fixture 19 - 10 in Round 5 on the 3.11.18


Ballyclare (2) v Instonians (1)
CIYMS (8) v Enniskillen (9)
Cooke (5) v Carrickfergus (7)
Grosvenor (4) v Coleraine (10)
Portadown (6) v Dromore (3)

Ballyclare v Instonians
Ballyclare Head coach Mike McKeever: A match against Instonians is a big game for all clubs at any stage of the season. That alone is enough to give the players a focus and challenge. Essentially it will be the same squad with Gary Clotworthy returning. Captain Grant Bartley is unavailable . The same pack that started against Randalstown will play on Saturday. The backline will be confirmed at training on Thursday night. Joel McBride will Captain the side in the absence of Grant Bartley. He has Captained the team in the Towns Cup wins over Ballynahinch and Randalstown and has shown a great maturity and understanding of the game.

Instonians Head coach John Andress: The Head coach was frustrated by the Red Card shown to Andrew Keane against Grosvenor last Saturday that will force him to miss this vital league game against Ballyclare. Paddy Bell remains on the injured list and is targeting the playoffs if Instonians win the league. Wayne Kelly who picked up an injury in the league match against Portadown is expected to be available again next week. Michael Melville had surgery for an injury and is expected to miss the remainder of the season. Centre Matthew Kilpatrick is the only doubt after picking up a hamstring injury in the league match against Grosvenor. He will undergo a fitness test on Thursday night. The coach welcomes back forwards Lewis McNamara, Mark Mairs, Massimo Kiri Kiri, Alan Whitten and Tom Matthews to the squad this week. There will be several difficult calls to be made in the forwards with NZ back row Cameron Barr starting at 7. The backline is expected to be on similar lines if Matthew Kilpatrick comes through his fitness test.

The coach is off the view that whatever side wins the match on Saturday deserves to go on and win the league. His players know what they are up against. Ballyclare are a very dangerous team. If you make mistakes they will punish you with the counter attacking game they possess in their backline. The Instonians team are under no illusions about the task they have ahead of them at Ballyclare.

Instonians won the home fixture 24 - 22 at Shawsbridge on the 1.12.18

CIYMS v Enniskillen
CIYMS Head coach Gareth Fry: The coach has lost skipper Mark McConkey who requires surgery on a shoulder dislocation. Second row Paddy Agnew is ruled out for the season with the coach awaiting fitness tests on a number of front row players. Saturday is a massive game for both teams with a lot at stake. He is hoping like the last couple of league games the players can step up again. Enniskillen are a well organised and strong side with his players expecting a tough physical battle.

Enniskillen Head coach Stevie Welsh: The coach is not expecting to make any changes to the side that defeated Ballymena seconds in the Towns Cup last Saturday. Has a few players with issued who will be fitness tested on Thursday night before team is finalised.

Enniskillen won the home fixture at Mullaghmeen 27 - 18 on the 1.12.18

Cooke v Carrickfergus
Cooke Head coach Colin Atkinson: The coach is still operating with a very depleted squad due to injuries. Selection to be finalised on Thursday night. Back row forward Callum Robinson will make a welcome return.

Carrickfergus Head coach Warren McClean: The coach is expecting to go with the same team that lost 14 - 10 away to Dromore last week. He is looking his players to put in a strong finish to their season.

Cooke won the away fixture 24 - 13 at the Tom Simms Memorial Grounds on the 1.12.18

Grosvenor v Coleraine
Grosvenor Head coach Robert Ford: Captain Andrew Kelly and back row forward Sam Purdon remain unavailable due to injury. The returning David Egner scored a hat trick of tries for the seconds on Saturday and will come into contention for a place on the bench this week

Coleraine Head coach

Grosvenor won the away fixture 29 - 0 at Rugby Avenue on the 1.12.18

Portadown v Dromore
Portadown Head coach Stuart Lamb:

Dromore Head coach Jonny Cullen: Prop forward Mark Hylands will undergo a late fitness test on Thursday night. If he is not fir Rory Pepper will replace him. Otherwise the team will remain unchanged.

Dromore won the home fixture at Barban Hill 20 - 3 on the 1 .12.18


Ballymena seconds (4) v City of Armagh seconds (1)
Banbridge seconds (6) v Ballynahinch seconds (2)
Omagh seconds (3) v Malone seconds (5)


Academy (1) v Limavady (2)
Ards (6) v Lurgan (7)
Larne (8) v Clogher Valley (3)
Lisburn (9) v Ballymoney (5)
Randalstown (4) v UUC (10)

Academy v Limavady
Academy Head coach Gareth Lynn: The coach has a few decisions to make before finalising his selection for Saturday. Both
Keith Dobbin and Kyle Gregg remain on the injured list.

Limavady Head coach Graeme Eastwood: With five back to back games coming up against Academy, Randalstown, Ballymoney, Larne and Clogher Valley the coach will be missing a number of players for this weekends top of the table clash with Academy. Darren Corrigan, Robert Lamberton, Jodie McMurray and Gavin Martin are unavailable. Injury rules out Jonny Lees, Clive Scott and Matthew Haslett. He knows his players will have to do it the hard way. It is not an ideal situation to be missing these experienced players. 35 players were at training on Tuesday night with the coach very positive with the players he will be taking to Academy. They have trained hard and are very focused. His players know it will be a test. It is all about them going with a belief and playing to their structures. If they keep their discipline and secure their set piece they can get a win. Games against Ballynahinch seconds and Clogher Valley in the Junior Cup and Towns Cup were all about blooding young players for these matches. The squad have worked hard to get to this point in their season. Saturday is all about playing in the right areas and managing the game. The players know if they get it right they can win. They are expecting a physical test . Graeme Eastwood believes the league is still in their hands . The squad have proved how competitive they have been in their 13 games.
Peter Wilson has been a key player and along with the physical presence of Jamie 'Mo' Millar in the centre pose an attacking threat. 18 year old Ben Riley in his first year out of school has been ever present in the forwards.

Despite missing a lot of experience . The coach is convinced his team can perform this weekend. Saturday is a chance to get a result. Both the players and the coaches are looking forward to the match. He knows Academy will be strong up front. It is all about his team competing for the first 50/60 minutes to get a result.

Academy won the away fixture at the John Hunter Memorial Fields 8 - 5 on the 13.10.18

Ards v Lurgan
Ards Head coach John West: Lurgan have picked up in their last few games. The coach has got a few players back from niggling injuries with selection to be finalised on Thursday night.

Lurgan coach Jason Wallace: Both Graham Currie and Sam Longstaff will be unavailable for the game at Ards on Saturday. Otherwise the team will similar to the side that defeated Larne at Pollack Park.

Ards won the away fixture at Pollack Park 6 - 3 on the 13.10.18

Larne v Clogher Valley
Larne Head coach Graham Cloke:

David Sharkey Clogher Valley: Coaches Stevie Bothwell and PC Faulkner keep the same side that defeated Portadown last Saturday in the Towns Cup.

Clogher Valley won the home fixture at the Cran 29 - 8 0n the 13.10.18

Lisburn v Ballymoney
Lisburn Director of Rugby Mike Knowles: Injury rules out Jake Bebbington with Epi Ratu unavailable. Selection to be finalised on Thursday night.

Ballymoney coach Jonny Hanna:

Ballymoney won the home fixture at Kilraughts Road 50 - 5 on the 6.10.18

Randalstown v UUC
Randalstown 1st xv Manager Willie Allen: He is expecting some changes to the team that lost to Ballyclare in the Towns Cup. Both Peter Knowles and Kyle Hetherington picked up injuries at Ballyclare. Peter Knowles picked up a knee injury that will almost certainly rule him out. No update is available on Kyle Hetherington. Selection will not be finalised until training on Thursday night.

UUC coach Jonny Wright: Captain Dan Morgan awaits a fitness test on Thursday night before selection is finalised.

Randalstown won the away fixture 24 - 0 on the 13.10.18


Cavan (11) v Ophir (12)
Civil Service (9) v Strabane (8)
Donaghadee (1) v Letterkenny (5)
Holywood (3) v Virginia (7)
Monaghan (2) v Newry (6)
PSNI (4) v BHSFP (10)

If you have any issues on the preview do not hesitate to e mail me. Your feedback is very much appreciated.

Enjoy your rugby this weekend.


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