Domestic Rugby Preview for Sat 29 Sept 2018 by George Millar

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Domestic Rugby Preview for Sat 29 Sept 2018 by George Millar

This weekend we see the opening matches for the seven Ulster teams in Section 2 of the All Ireland League with the Section 1 sides starting their programme on the 6th October. Queens University fly the flag for Ulster in Div 2A where they have the company of six Munster sides. They open with a very attractive fixture against Old Crescent at the Dub. The Limerick side remained undefeated last season winning 17 and drawing 1 as they stormed away with the Div 2B title. Derek Suffern and his student side have impressed in pre season winning Ulster fixtures against Section 1 teams Ballymena, Banbridge and Ballynahinch. In Div 2B Rainey OB will be hoping to secure promotion to Div 2A after losing out to Navan in the Playoff Final. Again they have had a strong pre season defeating Omagh, Queens Uni and Bangor. The Magherafelt side have also made the final four in the First Trust Senior Cup. Former Section 1 team Dungannon struggled after a poor start last season and were plagued by an ever lengthening injury. The team under Andy Hughes have had a strong pre season and will look to carry this form into their opening league match against Skerries at Stevenson Park on Saturday afternoon. Belfast Harlequins required a play off win over Omagh last season to retain their place in Div 2B. Again Head coach Nicky Wells will be encouraged by their pre season form as they travel to Galway Corinthians for their opening game. In Division 2C Ulster have three teams with City of Derry joining Bangor and Omagh after being relegated last season. Performances despite results in Ulster fixtures would suggest these three Ulster teams can challenge for a top four finish. City of Derry host Tullamore at the Craig Thompson stadium, Omagh travel to newly promoted Ballina and Bangor make the journey to North Dublin to play Malahide.

In the Premiership leagues: two points separate Malone, Queens university, Banbridge and Ballynahinch in Div 1 with two rounds left to play on the 22nd and 29th December. Stevenson Shield winners City of Armagh find themselves in 6th place on one point after three matches with Ballymena a further two points ahead. Will the match between these two teams at the Palace Grounds on the 22nd of December decide who will be relegated to Div 2. In Div 2 Rainey lead Belfast Harlequins by one point with both teams undefeated after three matches. Again will the meeting between these two teams at Hatrick Park on Saturday 22nd December decide who will be promoted to Div 1 next season.


City of Armagh v Rainey OB

Ballymena v Ballynahinch

Both ties to be played on or before the 5th January 2019 with the final scheduled for Friday 8th February 2019.


This weekend we have eight cracking ties down for decision.

The Dromore v Ballyclare tie at Barban Hill is the standout fixture.

At Shawsbridge we have two matches involving Instonians against Malone seconds and Cooke taking on current Junior Cup holders Ballynahinch seconds.

Ballymoney who made the semi finals last season take on Portadown at Kilraughts Road.

There is an East Antrim derby at the Glynn with Larne hosting near neighbours Carrickfergus.

Both Grosvenor and Randalstown were rivals in the pursuit of promotion to Div 1 last season with Randalstown losing out in a playoff to Portadown.

Lisburn against Clogher Valley is another interesting tie. Lisburn knocked out last seasons finalists City of Armagh seconds in the 1st Rd.

Can Ards reverse a 48 – 0 league defeat they suffered at Limavady on the opening weekend when the two teams meet again at the John Hunter Playing Fields this weekend.


In Div 1 Ballyclare have a maximum 15 points from their opening three games as they lead Grosvenor and Instonians by 5 points. Five teams remain without a win including Carrickfergus, Enniskillen, CIYMS, Coleraine and Portadown. Both Coleraine and Portadown have no league points.

In Div 2 Randalstown lead Limavady and Academy by 3 points with Lisburn, UUC and Ards still looking their first win. Ards have no league points

In Div 3 Donaghadee and Holywood are level on 15 points three ahead of 3rd place Strabane. Letterkenny, Cavan, and Ophir remain without a win. Cavan and Ophir have no league points.

An issue that has been raised with me by several clubs is the number of weekends clubs have free between September and December when the pitches are playable. The top clubs will compete in the Junior Cup and the All Ireland Junior Cup. What happens to the teams not involved in these competitions. The question these teams are posing is why they cant bring forward league fixtures to play on these weekends. We have all witnessed the inclement weather that continues to impact on the fixture programme during January in particular. In fact several club representatives have suggested a winter break. I know several clubs have used a break to regroup and undergo a mini preseason programme. In fact one coach suggested to me starting the playing programme earlier in August. After our good summer the teams and players have been able to entertain us with free flowing running rugby rather than the less appealing rugby played in heavy underfoot conditions. Is this a subject worthy of further discussion.

How many families can replicate the McCusker family who have four brothers playing for Rainey OB. Three of the four John, Ronan and Michael are playing for the 1st xv with Philip in the USA.

We will all be aware of how popular the Morton and Faloon name features so prominently on the City of Armagh teams. I made further enquiries with Dave Eakin former Royal School Armagh teacher and long time member of City of Armagh Rugby club.

Currently we have four Faloon brothers Glen, John, Kyle and Neil with Robbie Faloon who is a brother of Head coach Willy Faloon.

On the Morton side we have three brothers James, Stephen and Andrew. There are three other Mortons at the club Daryl, Jonny and Ryan who are all cousins. I believe they were all pupils who came under the care of Dave Eakin at the Royal School. Have I got it right. Will I get feedback.

Up in the North West we have the Duffy brothers Sam, Stephen and Philip who all play for City of Derry 1st xv.

Have we other family connections elsewhere in the province.

With so many club players taking the opportunity to play rugby in Australia and New Zealand during the summer months I also learned that a number of the City of Armagh players Kyle Faloon, Paul Mullan, Evin Crummie and Robbie Faloon played rugby for Alberta RFC in Canada during the summer. Rugby is very much an International Sport with players coming to play in Ulster during the season with increasing numbers of our home grown players travelling to play on other continents during the off season.

I have had an e mail from Steve Mungavin who runs a Rugby Podcast – Loose & tight Rugby on local club rugby.

If you want to join in I have include their contact details:

Ross Mungavin – 07545396791

Steve Mungavin – 07899236655

E mail:

A grassroots rugby podcast giving a father and son’s view from the front row.



Ballynahinch 15 Queens University 25

Ballynahinch team: 1. Campbell Classon, 2. Conor Piper, 3. Kelvin Hamilton, 4. John Donnan, 5. James Simpson, 6. Keith Dickson, 7. Ollie Loughead, 8. Conall Boomer, 9. Aaron Cairns, 10. James McBriar, 11. Richard Reaney, 12. Ryan Wilson, 13. Callum McLaughlin, 14. Conor Phillips, 15. Paddy Wright, 16. Clayton Milligan, 17. Jonny Blair, 18. Tom Martin, 19. Lewis Finlay, 20. Ronan Patterson.

Points s corers: Conor Phillips 2 x tries, Richard Reaney 1 x con and 1 x pen.

Queens University team: 1. Jonny Black, 2. Sam Cardosi, 3. Andrew Weir, 4. Ali Burke, 5. David Whitten (Capt), 7. Curtis Pollock, 8. James Catterson, 9. Josh Fullerton, 10. Michael Orr, 11. Jonny Hunter, 12. Conor McKee, 13. Ben Power, 14. Mark Keane, 15. Jonny Milliken, 16. Brian Cunningham, 17. Adam Kerr, 18. Matty Kernohan, 19. Conor McAuley, 20. Robbie Johnston.

Points s corers: Conor McKee 2 x tries, Tyler Arnold and Jonny Black 1 x try each, Jonny Milliken 1 x pen and 1 x con

Banbridge 22 City of Armagh 18

Banbridge team: 1. Ross Haughey, 2. Paul Ross, 3. Stuart Cromie, 4. Chris Allen, 5. Matthew Laird, 6. Mike Bentley, 7. Ethan Harbinson, 8. Stephen Irvine, 9. Niall Armstrong, 10. Josh Cromie, 11. John Porter, 12. Jonny Little, 13. Andy Morrison, 14. Conor Field, 15. Adam Doherty, 16. John Wilson, 17. Robbie Mathers, 18. Robin Hewitt, 19. Adam Ervine, 20. Ben Carson.

Points s corers: John Porter, Andy Morrison and Niall Armstrong 1 x try each, Adam Doherty 1 x pen and 2 x cons

City of Armagh team: 1. Daryl Morton, 2. Andrew Smyth, 3. Philip Fletcher, 4. Peter Starrett, 5. Josh McKinley, 6. James Hanna, 7. Nigel Simpson, 8. Robert Whitten, 9. Gerard Treanor, 10. Cormac Fox, 11. Ryan Purvis, 12. Evin Crummie, 13. Chris Colvin (Capt), 14. Andrew Willis, 15. Chris Cousins, 16. Michael Hoey, 17. Paul Mullan, 18. Gareth McNeice, 19. John Faloon, 20. Shea O’Brien.

Points scorers: Nigel Simpson and Andrew Willis 1 x try each. Cormac Fox 2 x pens and 1 x con.

Malone 46 Ballymena 17

Malone team: 1. Lee Barlow, 2. Scott Finlay, 3. Ricky Greenwood, 4. Jonathan Davis, 5. James McAllister, 6. Michael Shiels, 7. Ross Todd (Capt), 8. Ryan Clarke, 9. Conor Spence, 10. Jack Milligan, 11. David McMaster, 12. Callum Smith, 13. Josh Pentland, 14. Chris Jordan, 15. Gareth Millar, 16. Dan Kerr, 17. Self El Cawad, 18. Josh Davidson, 19. David Irvine, 20. Shane Kelly.

Points scorers: Conor Spence 2 x tries, David McMaster, Jack Milligan, Ben Halliday and Josh Pentland 1 x try each, Josh Pentland 2 x cons and Callum Smith 2 x pens and 3 x cons.

Ballymena team: 1. Josh Bill, 2. James Taggart, 3. Chris Cundell, 4. Connor Smyth, 5.Mark Foster, 6. Jacque Bolger, 7. Willie McKay, 8. Stephen Mulholland, 9. Jack Fleming, 10. Glenn Baillie, 11. Jonny McMullan, 12. Sam Millar, 13. Mark Thompson, 14. James Wheeler, 15. Scott Willoughby, 16. Nacho Clandero Crespo, 17. Griffin Phillipson, 18. JJ McKee, 19. Eoin Ritson, 20. Matthew Norris.

Points scorers: Connor Smyth, Jonny McMullan and Glenn Baillie 1 x try each. Glen Baillie 1 x con.


Belfast Harlequins 27 Omagh 26

Belfast Harlequins team: 1. Mark McGrath, 2. Saul Herdman, 3. James Harrison, 4. Danny Annett (Capt), 5. Troy Webber, 6. Toby Mannus, 7. Matthew Borne, 8. Ben Alexander, 9. Connor Young, 10. Mark Kettyle, 11. Jona Siri, 12. Kyle Adams, 13. Mark Glover, 14. James McConnnell, 15. Richie McKee, 16. Paul Jackson, 17. Zac Jordan, 18. Daryl Marshall, 19. David Devine, 20. Owen Henry.

Points scorers : James McConnell 2 x tries, Paul Jackson and Zac Jordan 1 x try each, Mark Glover 1 x pen and 2 x cons

Omagh team 1. Kyle Alexander, 2. Phil Ewing, 3. Richard Smyth, 4. Jonny Sproule, 5. James Sproule, 6. Mervyn Edgar, 7. Stuart Allen, 8. Martin Clyde, 9. Stewart McCain, 10. Stuart Ballantine, 11. Ryan Mitchell, 12. Luke Hanson, 13. Scott Barr, 14. Matthew Eccles, 15. Eoin Murnaghan, 16. Peter Todd, 17. J Brolly, 18. J Giboney, 19. Neil Brown, 20. B Scott.

Points scorers: Jonny Sproule 2 x tries, Mervyn Edgar and Matthew Eccles 1 x try each. Stuart Ballantine 3 x cons.

City of Derry 5 Dungannon 22

City of Derry team: 1. James Hamilton, 2. Steven Duffy, 3. Ben Pollin, 4. Adam Bratton, 5. Jack Townley, 6. Tiarnan Thorton, 7. Craig Huey, 8. Stephen Corr (Capt), 9. Phil Duffy, 10. Alex McDonnell, 11. Colin Campbell, 12. Denis Posterik, 13. Thomas Cole, 14. Conor Cummings, 15. Ian Bratton, 16. Ross Harkin, 17. Sam Duffy, 18. C Lamberton, 19. S Walker, 20. David Graham.

Points scorers: David Graham 1 x try.

Dungannon team: 1. Glenn Sinnamon, 2. Daniel Maxwell, 3. Sean O’Hagan, 4. Stephen Todd, 5. Guilhem Lopez, 6. Mark Riddell, 7. David Leyburn, 8. Jonah Mau’u, 9. John Russell, 10. John Buckley, 11. Jordan McIIwaine, 12. Bradley Mulholland, 13. Andrew McPhillips, 14. Matthew Montgomery, 15. Andrew McGregor, 16. James Gamble, 17. Jamie McNeill, 18. Peter Doran, 19. Alex Gormley, 20. Adam Evans.

Points scorers: Jonah Mau’u 2 x tries, Jordan McIIwaine 1 x try, John Buckley 1 x Pen and 2 x cons.

Rainey OB 33 Bangor 26

Rainey OB team: 1. Stephen Rutledge, 2. Michael Nevin, 3. Kieran Donaghy, 4. Ronan McCusker, 5. John McCusker, 6. Timothy Barker, 7. Charlie Clarke, 8.Michael McCusker, 9. Jason Bloomfield, 10. Scott McLean, 11. Mark Mulholland, 12. Andrew Magrath, 13. Conor Fitzimmons, 14. Oisin Quinn, 15. Michael O’Neill, 16. Fintan Quinn, 17. Daniel O’Neill, 18. Matthew Millar, 19. Eunan Shaw, 20. Andrew Donaghy.

Points scorers: Michael McCusker 2 x tries, Stephen Rutledge, Kieran Donaghy and Daniel o’Neill 1 x try each, Scott McLean 4 x cons.

Bangor team: 1. Orran McIImurray, 2. Andrew Shaw, 3. James Leary, 4. Lewis Stevenson, 5. Michael Ferguson, 6. Stephen Moore, 7. James Henley, 8. Mike Weir, 9. Mark Widdowson, 10. Declan Maguire, 11. David Charles, 12. Zac Kerr, 13. Adam Alexander, 14. Desi Fusco (Capt), 15. Phil Broderick, 16. Evan Wellard – McMillan, 17. Andrew Jackson, 18. James Stewart, 19. Craig Burton, 20. Shaun Fair.

Points scorers: Lewis Stevenson 2 x tries, Phil Broderick and Declan Maguire 1 x try each, Declan Maguire 3 x cons.


Cooke 39 Coleraine 13

Cooke team: 1. Jonathan McClune, 2. Owen Kelly, 3. Ian Moxen, 4. Russell Hunter, 5. Matthew Robinson, 6. Matthew Elliott, 7. Callum Robinson, 8. Luke Tarry, 9. Ryan Flavelle (Capt), 10. Rob Mitchell, 11. Andrew Nelson, 12. Michael Cartmill, 13. Jonathan Backus, 14. Jonathan Kingham, 16. Curtis Montgomery, 17. Philip Cartmill.

Points scorers: Jonathan Backus 2 x tries, Luke Tarry, Matthew Elliott and Michael Cartmill 1 x try each, Rob Mitchell 2 x pens and 4 x cons.

Coleraine team: 1. Aidy Nevin, 2. David Greatorex, 3. Cillian Butler, 4. DD McAllister, 5. Fergal Wiseman, 6. Harry Tate, 7. Andy McKee, 8. Bradon Baillie, 9. Cameron Fulton, 10. Jonny Crowe, 11. Matthew Leighton, 12. Martin Senk, 13. Bradley Dempster, 14. Bruce Kirkpatrick, 15. Stevie Callaghan, 16. J McLean, 17. Greg Jordan.

Points s corers: Bradley Dempster 1 x try, Cameron Fulton “ X Pens and 1 x con.


Ballyclare 48 Portadown 22

Ballyclare team: 1. Rory Henderson, 2. Matthew Coulter, 3. Jonny Black, 4. Ryan Tweed, 5. Grant Bartley (Capt), 6. Aaron Playfair, 7. Gary Weatherup, 8. Ross Johnston, 9. Andy Eastop, 10. Robert Smith, 11. Michael Kirk, 12. Robbie Reid, 13. Willie Stewart, 14. Callum Wilson, 15. Joel McBride, 16. Al Boyd, 17. Gary Clotworthy.

Points scorers : Ross Johnston and Michael Kirk 2 x tries each, Callum Wilson, Willie Stewart and Joel McBride 1 x try each. Robert Smith 1 x pen and 5 x cons.

Portadown team: 1. Mark Henderson, 2. Robert Reid, 3. Matthew Davison, 4. Willy Graham, 5. James Wright, 6. Lloyd Gravatt, 7. Jordan Taylor, 8. Gary Hall (Capt), 9. Brian Forrestal, 10. Brett Flack, 11. Jack Orr, 12. Jonny Holden, 13. Tom Caesar, 14. Nick Holt, 15. Mark Adamson, 16. Karim Ahizoun, 17 Jonathan Reid.

Points scorers: Nick Holt, Jonny Holden and jack Orr 1 x try each, Mark Adamson 1 x pen and 2 x cons.

Instonians 39 CIYMS 20

Instonians team: 1. Conor Gallagher, 2. Cameron Barr, 3. John Andress, 4. Sean Shuttleworth, 5. Alan Whitten, 6. Robert McGibbon, 7. Missimo Kiri Kiri, 8. James Martin, 9. Paul Marshall, 10. Richard McCarthy, 11. Ross O’Donnell, 12. David Scott (capt), 13. Paddy Bell, 14. Matthew Kilpatrick, 15. Colm Gregan, 16. Tom Matthews, 17. Andrew Keane.

Points scorers: Paul Marshall 3 x tries, Ross O’Donnell and David Scott 1 x try each, Richard McCarthy 2 x pens and 4 x cons.

CIYMS team: 1. Josh Jordan, 2. Scott McNarry, 3. Timmy Acheson, 4. Cory Tipping, 5. Paddy Aiken, 6. Scott Dowle, 7. Conor Smith, 8. Shane Moffitt, 9. Michael Wilson, 10. Paddy Beverland, 11. Craig Devlin, 12. Matthew Kilgore, 13. Matty Butler, 14. Jason Harvey, 15. Peter Raine, 16. Gavin woods, 17. J Harrison.

Points scorers: Craig Devlin and Michael Wilson 1 x try each, Matthew Kilgore 2 x pens and 2 x cons.


Carrickfergus 40 Ballynahinch seconds 17

Carrickfergus team: 1. Gareth McKeown, 2. Alan Whitley, 3. Johnny McIIwaine, 4. Chris Rodgers, 5. Stuart Currie, 6. Ryan Gibson, 7. Ross Crymble, 8. Ryan McGonigle (capt), 9. Conor Cambridge, 10. Adam White, 11. David Moore, 12. Reece Berry 13. Jack Burton, 14. Michael Black, 15. Patrick McNeil, 16. Nathan Greenwood, 17. Stuart Cheshire.

Points scorers: Ryan McGonigle 2 x tries, Johnny McIIwaine, Conor McCambridge and gareth McKeown 1 x try each, Adam White 1 x try and 5 x cons.

Ballynahinch seconds: 1. Ben Cullen, 2. Robert Gilmore, 3. Scott Connolly, 4. Andy Simpson, 5. Matt Connolly, 6. Graeme McKitterick, 7. Brian Howard, 8. Gareth Gill, 9. Mark Douglas, 10. Matthew Norton, 11. Aaron Ferris, 12. Eamon McAnulty, 13. David Turley, 14. Stuart Elwood, 15. Harris McConnell, 16. Harry McCormick, 17. Ciaran McCauley.

Points scorers: Eamon McAnulty and Brian Howard 1 x try each,

Dromore 19 City of Armagh seconds 21

Dromore team: 1. Mark Hylands, 2. Stuart Sloan, 3. Andrew Black, 4. Ross Bingham, 5. Matthew Mcmaster, 6. Blair McDonald, 7. Adam McGregor, 8. Jonny Maguire, 9. Lee Steenson, 10. David Lyttle, 11. Brian McClearn, 12. Aaron Stewart, 13. Andrew Rutledge, 14. Michael Allen, 16. Jonny Simpson, 17. Stuart Russell.

Points scorers: Michael Allen, Adam McDonald and Aaron Stewart 1 x try each. Lee Steenson 2 x cons.

City of Armagh seconds: 1. John Clarke, 2. Peter Lamb, 3. Eoin O’Hagan, 4. Stephen Morton (Capt), 5. Willy Martin, 6. Ryan Morton, 7. Josh Kennedy, 8. Ollie Millar, 9. David Spratt, 10. Kyle Faloon, 11. Glen Faloon, 12. Matthew Reaney, 13. Stuart Lester, 14. Shane McKeever, 15. Luke Crozier, 16. Neil Lutton, 17. Ryan O’Neill.

Points scorers: Ollie Millar, Luke Crozier and Stuart Lester 1 x try each. Kyle Faloon 2 x cons


Lisburn 29 Academy 44

Lisburn team: 1. Wili Lil Tee, 2. Peter Graham, 3. Uate Caquea, 4. James Wellings, 5. Kitione Doniniqbau, 6. Matthew Nelson, 7. Noel Hooke, 8. David Curry, 9. Andy Neely, 10. Jonny Dunlop, 11. Conor Gasgoine, 12. Jonah Manu, 13. Dylan Postlethwaite, 14. Craig walsh, 15. Richard McGregor, 16. Michael press, 17. A Cunningham.

Points scorers: Conor Gasgoine, Jonah Manu, Kitione Doniniqbau, and Noel Hooke 1 x try each. Richard McGregor 3 x cons and 1 x pen.

Academy team: 1. Chris Nash, 2. Lee Moody, 3. Troy Wilson, 4. Kyle Dobbin, 5. Brian Cahill, 6. Matt Corkey, 7. Jamie Watts, 8. Richard Henderson (Capt), 9. David Kenny, 10. Jordan Buchanan, 11. Jamie Wilson, 12. Callum Lyle, 13. Chris Cooper, 14. Mark Wylie, 15. Simon Beattie, 16. Peter Jackson, 17. Stephen Ferguson.

Points scorers: Mark Wylie 2 x tries, Stephen Ferguson, Jordan Buchanan, Chris Cooper and Simon Beattie 1 x try each. Chris Cooper 2 x pens and 4 x cons.

Lurgan 39 Ballymoney 19

Lurgan team: 1. Graham Currie, 2. Lewis Lawson, 3. Ryan Emerson. 4. Daniel Lyness, 5. Richard Shilliday, 6. Lee Allen, 7. Ryan Osbourne, 8. Dean Wilson (Capt), 9. Chris Jenks, 10. Stephen Nolan, 11. Richard hull, 12. Chris Wamsley, 13. Ben McIIwaine, 14. Jack Wilson, 15. Ryan Mooney, 16. Josh Lyness, 17. Neil Adamson.

Points scorers: Ben McIIwaine 2 x tries, Richard Hull and Lewis Lawson 1 x try each, 1 x penalty try, Stephen Nolan 2 x pens and 3 x cons.

Ballymoney team: 1. Kenny McAneaney, 2. Joel Heggarty, 3. Adam Smith, 4. James Bleakly, 5. Danny Platt, 6. Garvin Bellingham, 7. David McKeeman (Capt), 8. Daniel Ramage. 9. Matthew Pollock, 10. Andrew Young, 11. Matthew bell, 12. Martin Irwin, 13. Ross Fallow, 14. Nigel Nevin, 15. Michael Armstrong, 16. Jordon Munnis, 17. Conor Creith.

Points scorers: Daniel Ramage, Matthew Pollock, Matthew Bell 1 x try each, Andrew Young 2 x cons.

UUC 15 Larne 20

UUC team: 1. Gary Burke, 2. Michael Smith, 3. Callum Boardman, 4. Daniel Morgan (Capt), 5. Jake Stevenson, 6. Melvyn McMenemy, 7. Sam McComb, 8. Ollie Doherty, 9. Brendan Parke, 10. Adam Johnston, 11. Lewis Henry, 12. David Gilkinson, 13. Chris Allen, 14. Neil Stewart, 15. Hayden Maxwell, 16. Ben Davison, 17. Oisin Craig.

Points scorers: Hayden Maxwell and Neil Stewart 1 x try each, Adam Johnston 1 x pen and 1 x con.

Larne team: 1. Chris Rea, 2. Conor Smyth, 3. Andrew Hyndman, 4. Matt Crampsey, 5. Jonny McKinstry, 6. Gareth Jamison, 7. Ryan McAllister, 8. Eddie Hunter, 9. Ryan Garrett, 10. Barry McFaul, 11. Anton White, 12. Matt Agnew, 13. Aaron McBride, 14. Jacob Swann, 15. Liam Slaughter, 16. Derek Lough, 17. Stuart Johnston.

Points scorers: Ryan McAllister, Ryan Garrett and Jacob Swann 1 x try each. Aaron McBride 1 x con and Ryan Garrett 1 x con.


Banbridge seconds 31 Randalstown 35

Banbridge seconds team: 1. Scott Cromie, 2. Jonny Weir, 3. James McCrum, 4. Alex Megaw, 5. Martin Vorster, 6. Andrew Jackson, 7. Dale Carson, 8. Reuben McCreery, 9. Jason Gribben, 10. Robin Thompson, 11. Chris Patterson, 12. McCauley little, 13. Ross Cartmill, 14. Hugo Harbinson, 15. Ben Thompson, 16. Jordan McKibben.

Points scorers: Jason Gribben, Jordan McKibben and Andrew Jackson 1 x try each, 1 x Penalty try, McCauley Little 1 x pen and 3 x cons.

Randalstown team; 1. Matty mcbrien, 2. Scott Stevenson, 3. Pedro Conceicao, 4. Dean McCroary, 5. Tony O’Hagan, 6. David Armstrong, 7. Johnny Fullerton, 8. Marty O’Neill, 9. Tommy Holland, 10. Martin Connolly, 11. Niall McGlade, 12. Conor Murray, 13. Dan McGlade, 14. Coby mason, 15. Jordan foster, 16. David Smith, 17. Michael Smith.

Points scorers: Jonny Fullerton 2 x tries, Niall McGlade, Marty O’Neill and Conor Murray 1 x try each, Martin Connolly 3 x cons, Conor Murray 2 x cons.

Limavady 19 Ballymena seconds18

Limavady team: 1. Clive Scott, 2. Michael Rice, 3. John McCollum, 4. John Purcell, 5. Adam Currie, 6. Ben Riley, 7. Perry Semple, 8. Daniel Irvine, 9. David Craig, 10. Luke Faulkner, 11. Mark Woods, 12. Stuart Simpson, 13. Robert Lamberton, 14. Stuart Roddy, 15. Gavin Martin, 16. Peter Wilson.

Points scorers: Mark Woods 2 x tries, Stuart Roddy 1 x try, Luke Faulkner 2 x cons.

Ballymena seconds: 1.Andrew Ferguson, 2. Ashton Logan, 3. Houston Bonnar, 4. Calvin Galbraith, 5. Connor White, 6. Ryan Mattison, 7. Matthew Dick, 8. Ryan Knox, 9. Chris Smyth, 10. Steven Shaw, 11. Jack Lewis, 12. Alan Smyth, 13. Jonny Rossborough, 14. Dean Reynolds, 15. John Laughlin, 16. Reuben Russell, 17. Louis McGuckian.

Points scorers : Reuben Russell 2 x tries, Dean Reynolds 1 x try, Steven Shaw 1 x pen and 3 x cons.

Omagh seconds 19 Clogher Valley 41

Omagh seconds team: 1. G McKinley, 2. M H Brown, 3. Ethan McKeown, 4. S Moffett, 5. Richard Harpur, 6. Michael Gibson, 7. J Mitchell, 8. Dean Porter, 9. Adam Beattie, 10. Kyle Beattie, 11. J Liggett, 12. T lagan, 13. Dean Kane, 14. R Elkin, 15. S Ballintine, 16. G Smith, 17. D McFarland

Points s corers: Dean Kane 2 x tries, Adam Beattie 1 x try, Kyle Beattie 2 x cons.

Clogher Valley team: 1. Neil Henderson, 2. Kyle Cobane, 3. Philip Hopper, 4. Eugene McKenna, 5. Michael Treanor (capt), 6. Josh Fegan, 7. Aaron Dunwoody, 8.David Sharkey, 9. Neil Trotter, 10. Dylan Eakin, 11. Dylan Crawford, 12. Reece Smyton, 13. Fleming Agnew, 14. Adam Boles, 15. Ewan Haire, 16. Mark McKenna, 17. Ryan Wilson.

Points scorers: Josh Fegan 3 x tries, Adam Boles 2 x tries, Neil Trotter and David Sharkey 1 x try each, Reece Smyton 2 x cons, Neil Trotter 1 x con



Blackrock College v Galwegians

Cashel RFC v Dolphin

Navan RFC v Nenagh Ormond

Queens University v Old Crescent

UL Bohemians v Highfield

Queens University v Old Crescent (Home)

Head coach Derek Suffern was pleased to see his Queens side bounce back from their defeat at Rainey to record an impressive 25 – 15 win over a strong Ballynahinch side at Ballymacarn Park last Saturday. Several new faces were given their opportunity. They included Ulster under 19 players Ben Power and Robbie Johnston and former Wallace players Sam Cardosi and Jonny Hunter. Despite the physical differences between the experienced Ballynahinch pack and the students the coach was very proud of the performances put in by back row forwards Curtis Pollock (Dalriada) and Tyler Arnold (BHSFP). The scrum held up with Andrew Weir (former Ballynahinch player) putting in another strong performance with his ability to play tight and loose. The lineout went well with a lineout maul producing a try. He was also pleased with how his team defended the Ballynahinch lineout maul. These games against Ballynahinch and Rainey were ideal preparation for the AIL game against Old Crescent. Playing in Div 1 of the Ulster Premiership this season has also helped preparations.

The challenge for this Queens team is to match the physical collisions in the AIL and be competitive. The team need to stay fit and fresh and continue to produce good performances. Last season was all about putting the building blocks in place. Training last week after the Rainey loss focused on the basics that turned a defeat into a win at Ballynahinch.

Decisions on selection will be finalised on Thursday night. Richie McMaster will return at out half. Prop Andrew Clingan will undergo a late fitness test on Thursday night. Hooker Alexander Clarke is another player who returned to training this week.

Derek Suffern is delighted his team are at home on Saturday. They have a no better challenge than newly promoted Limerick side Old Crescent who went through last season undefeated in the AIL. He wants his team to play the Queens way and build on the strong set play from the Ballynahinch game. It is a long season and the coach is looking for a win to get their AIL campaign up and running.


Wanderers v Greystones

Dungannon v Skerries

Galway Corinthians v Belfast Harlequins

MU Barnhall v Rainey OB

Sundays Well v Sligo

Dungannon v Skerries (Home)

There was disappointment with the start Dungannon made to their AIL campaign last season. Head coach Andrew Hughes is hoping his squad can avoid injuries and build some early momentum. A win on Saturday would help. The opening Ulster fixtures have helped the coach to build strength in depth. Another example was former Royal School Dungannon scrum half Adam Evans who got valuable game time at City of Derry. His selection has yet to be finalised with centre Andrew McPhillips waiting to come through a fitness test on Thursday night. Jack Ravey, Mervyn Brown and Lucca Avelli are available this week with out half John Buckley getting 80 mins against City of Derry. Scrum half john Russell also got a half at Derry. Centre Bradley Mulholland is unavailable as he is away to University in England. Players unavailable due to injury include Conor Milnes, Conor McGeough, and Malcolm Allister. Prop Ross Stewart has not been ruled out for this week. Former Captain James McMahon continues his rehab after surgery. The coach is hoping he will be available around Xmas.

The coach is happy where the playing squad are at present. The opening 20 mins at Derry were good with the remaining 60 mins disappointing with Derry coming into the game in the second half. The team have three sticky opening fixtures they will be targeting to win. Losing the opening games last season was a setback. Injuries were then to determine the season. He believes there is a better balance to the team this season . Keeping the players fit will be crucial to the team challenging this season.

Belfast Harlequins v Galway Corinthians (Away)

Talking to 1st xv Manager Neale Wilson. The club continue to field four adult teams. Unavailability rules out Christian Bennison, Richie McKee and James McConnell. Ethan Boal will be out to Xmas after undergoing surgery on a fractured eye socket he suffered against Bangor. Like all clubs work commitments continue to impact on the availability of players. Quins have forwards Callum Leckey and Jaz Andress in England. Both Paul Kerr and Malcolm Corry are at University in Scotland and England. Winger Peter Dunlop has returned to play at the club after working in Dublin. Ben Sloan is another player who has recovered from a long term knee injury to take his place on the 1st xv. Cameron Kelly former Methody player is another player who has been added to the squad this season. Former Campbell College player Kyle Adams has been rewarded for his strong pre season with a starting place in the team.

The goal of the coaching staff is to build a strong squad of 30 + players who can play 1st xv rugby.

Belfast Harlequins team: 1. Mark McGrath, 2. Saul Herdman, 3. James Harrison, 4. Danny Annett (Captain), 5. Troy Webber, 6. Toby Mannus, 7. Matthew Borne, 8. Ben Alexander, 9. Conor Young, 10. Timmy Emerson, 11. Kyle Adams, 12. Ben Sloan, 13. Mark Gribben, 14. Peter Dunlop, 15. Mark Glover, 16. Paul Jackson, 17. Charlie Sargaison, 18. Daryl Marshall, 19. David Devine, 20. Jona Siri.

Rainey OB v MU Barnhall

Head coach John Andrews is delighted that Captain Paul Pritchard has come through training to take his place on the 1st xv for the opening AIL game away to MU Barnhall. Both Damien McMurray and Stephen Rutledge are unavailable with the team selection on similar lines to recent Ulster fixtures. The coach was pleased with the performance put in by new centre pairing of Andrew Magrath and Conor Fitzimmons last Saturday against Bangor. Both looked very comfortable in defence and attack. With Scott Mclean at out half this gives the team the opportunity to get the balance right to play the expansive style of rugby his team wants to play. This has been reflected in the number of tries the team have scored in their opening four Ulster fixtures. George Fritz’s arrival has been delayed after a player died in a match he was playing in South Africa last week. There have been several difficult selection decision in the absence of Fritz with Michael Nevin and Daniel O’Neill contesting the hooker position.

The big difference John Andrews has noticed this season is that team are playing as a team. Last season there were several new faces in the side that took time to gel. The coach welcomes back prop Jack McIntosh after a successful summer playing in New Zealand. Paddy McGowan is another option the coach is hoping to utilise this season to back up lineout jumpers Mattie Millar, Timothy Barker, John and Ronan McCusker.

The coach is aware that the opening block of games are tough for his Rainey side. The opening match at MU Barnhall is a tricky fixture. It is all about the players being mentally ready for the challenges in this league. Can Rainey make up for the disappointment of losing the playoff final to Navan last season. It is all about taking their home form away from home.

Rainey OB team; 1. Fintan Quinn, 2. Daniel O’Neill, 3. Kieran Donaghy, 4. Ronan McCusker, 5. John McCusker, 6. Andrew Harbinson, 7. Paul Pritchard (Capt), 8. Timothy Barker, 9. Jason Bloomfield, 10. Scott McLean, 11.Mark Mulholland, 12. Andrew Magrath, 13. Conor Fitzimmons, 14. Oisin Quinn, 15. Michael O’Neill, 16. Michael Nevin, 17. Jack McIntosh, 18. Michael McCusker, 19. Matthew Millar, 20. Andrew Donaghy.


Ballina v Omagh

City of Derry v Tullamore

Malahide v Bangor

Midleton v Bruff

Thomond v Seapoint

Omagh v Ballina (Away)

12 months ago Omagh were the new kids on the block as they travelled to Bruff and recorded an historic win in their opening match after returning to the AIL. This weekend they travel to play Connacht side Ballina on their return to the AIL. Head coach Phil Marshall describes it as a brutally difficult game for his players. You could not get a much tougher test. It will be a big test for the Omagh coaches and players. This season it will be about doing things differently after a successful season back in the AIL. Premiership and Senior Cup matches away to Dungannon, City of Armagh and Belfast Harlequins have been ideal preparation for the team. With no wins in their four games including a home defeat to Rainey the team came up just one point short in their 27 – 26 defeat away to Belfast Harlequins last week.

Injuries deprive the coach of backs Ali Beckett and Stephen MacLaine along with forwards Kaine Holden, Dean Porter and Richard Smyth. Omagh RFC has always been renowned for their development structures with in the club. Opportunities are presented for players with aspiration to play 1st xv rugby. Another example is former Omagh Academy prop Ethan McKeown who will get his chance at Ballina. Hooker Adam Pollock has been ruled out for the season with his replacement Richard Hemphill unavailable last week. Phil Ewing stepped in and put in a storming performance at Quins. Another example of players adapting to playing adult rugby was former Omagh Academy player Jordan Brolly. He got 10/12 minutes at Quins and found out how difficult it is stepping up to play Adult rugby. His development will continue this season by playing for the 2nds and 3rds. For young players it is all about starting over again as they adjust to playing Adult rugby. The coach welcomes back Adam Longwell, Richard Hemphill, Scott Elliott and winger Neil Brown who got 25 mins against Quins. Two players who the coach is watching closely are his centre pairing on the seconds Dean Kane and Taine Logan. Taine Logan is in his first year out of Omagh Academy with Kane scoring two tries in the teams defeat at home to Clogher Valley last Saturday.

Former Ulster University Coleraine out half Stuart Ballantine impressed the coaches against Belfast Harlequins last Saturday and will make his AIL debut at Ballina this weekend.

The Omagh team will be from following: Peter Todd, Richard Hemphill, Kyle Alexander, Ethan McKeown and Phil Ewing are the five pushing for a front row start with two starting from the bench. The second row pairing of Jonny and James Sproule selects itself. The backrow will include Stuart Allen, Adam Longwell and Martin Clyde with the unlucky Mervyn Edgar on the bench. Captain Stewart McCain will partner Stuart Ballantine at 9 and 10. Luke Hanson is partnered with the returning Scott Barr. Ryan Mitchell and Matthew Eccles continue on the wings with Scott Elliott moving to full back. Backs replacements will include Eoin Murnaghan and Neil Brown.

Phil Marshall has talked about succession planning at Omagh and was at Youth training last night watching three former players taking up coaching positions on the Under 14s and under 16s. All three will be doing their Level 2 courses to become accredited coaches. His work as a CCRO in the Omagh area is increasing the numbers playing Mini and Youth rugby at the club. Clogher Valley 1st xv player Eugene McKenna has been appointed a CCRO in the Clogher Valley area along with Charlie Farrell at Dungannon and Robbie Watson at Enniskillen. The roles of CCRO’s is crucial in building up relationships with club Youth Convenors and PE staff in schools.

Interesting conversation with Phil Marshall on players taking part in Pilates and Yoga classes and the benefits. Rugby players suffer from lack of flexibility in the body due to becoming muscle bound. The result is tight muscles and tight hamstrings leading to injuries. It is a case of promoting the benefits of these exercise programmes to reduce the incidents of injuries amongst rugby players.

City of Derry v Tullamore (Home)

Director of Rugby Paul O’Kane is looking to his players to give a good account of themselves when they open their AIL campaign at home to Tullamore this weekend. There are several late fitness tests to be made at training on Thursday night before the team is confirmed. Prop Ben Pollin is unavailable due to wrestling commitments with injury ruling out winger Colin Campbell. Several other players are carrying knocks and niggles from the loss at home to Dungannon. Another player returning to the squad this week is the experienced back row forward Richard Baird. The team were disappointed with their first half performance against Dungannon with the second half slightly better. Again the match provided the opportunity for the coaches to see other players playing at this level. The squad are aware that they work in progress but hopefully can put in a performance on Saturday from 1 – 20 to give the players the chance to pick up an early win.

Bangor v Malahide (Away)

All change at Bangor this weekend. Head coach Jason Morgan steps down following his appointment as Head of Rugby at RBAI. A position he takes up next week. Jason had been coaching rugby at Bangor Grammar School since 2008. In his time at Bangor Rugby Club he has contributed as a player and coach in taking Bangor 1st xv from Div 2 of the Qualifying League into Div 1. There followed the achievements in 2015/16 when as coach he led the team to completing an unique treble In Ulster by winning the Junior Cup, Towns Cup and the Div 1 league title. The team then safely negotiated their way through the Round Robin Playoffs to return to the All Ireland League. He puts the achievements of Bangor down to the work put in by Jonny Watson, Danny Curran and Ricky Armstrong who had a vision and a five year plan to re establish Bangor RFC as a force within Ulster Rugby. It has been a case of the 1st xv and the playing squad adjusting to the challenges of playing in the AIL over the last two seasons. Just as he is leaving he feels the team is now better placed to challenge for promotion this season with the playing squad adding quality players particularly in the backs to support their strong forward pack. He is delighted Michael Ferguson is taking over as Head coach ably supported by former Ulster second row Lewis Stevenson. Having half backs to manage and steer the team has been addressed with Declan Maguire (Australian) and Liam Preston (NZ ) joining the playing squad this season. Liam Preston was born in NI when his father was a player and coach at Bangor. Two long term injuries scrum half Ali Lockhart and former Methody out half Gareth Millar are weeks away from returning to training. Last seasons scrum half Lewis Bret is away to University in England. Jason is also delighted to see back row forward James Henley fit and performing this season in the back row. The challenge for Bangor is building a 1st xv squad with a competitive second xv to continue developing players. The club is close to having 30 players who can play at AIL level.

Jason has his own views on the way forward for rugby in Ulster and Ireland. He would like to see a similar pathway adopted that exists in NZ with players coming through clubs, counties, NPC into Super Rugby. If you don’t make it into the professional game by 18/19 years in Ireland you don’t have the opportunity to play professional rugby. In NZ age is not a barrier with players being selected on performance to pursue a professional career. The big challenge for Bangor RFC and Bangor Grammar School is retaining players coming through the Mini structures in the North Down area. He is firmly of the opinion that students at Universities should be allowed to pursue their rugby whilst completing their academic studies in the University environment. He is delighted to see Bangor RFC selecting an under 14 team to compete in the Ulster Youth leagues this season. Having Youth under age teams in place at clubs is crucial to developing future Adult rugby players.

We all send our best wishes to Jason and wish him every success at RBAI as he looks to follow in the footsteps of Daniel Soper and Brian McLaughlin.

Ricky Armstrong is delighted with how preparations have went for AIL. Huge numbers of players are attending weekly training in response to the efforts of the coaching team led by the departing Jason Morgan. New head coach Michael Ferguson and Lewis Stevenson. Jack Cooke has returned from playing rugby in Australia. He is resting up after having played 4 seasons back to back. He will start to feature in the next block of 3 AIL games.

The coaching squad have named a squad of 22 for the opening AIL game at Malahide with a few tough calls to be made on Thursday night. Jamie Clegg comes back into consideration. James Stewart has been a revelation in the back row this season turning in excellent performances. Mike Weir has switched to the back row from centre and along with Sullivan Upper player Stephen Moore have impressed with Moore proving to be effective in the lineout. Bay of Plenty under 19 out half Liam Preston has arrived from NZ. No decision has been made on whether he will play on Saturday.

David Bradford, Ali Lockhart and Philip Whyte are a couple of weeks away from playing with Gareth Millar taking a little longer. Liam Preston can play at scrum half or out half and will fill the scum half position over the next few weeks until Ali Lockhart returns. Work commitments have impacted on Gareth Wright attending training.

Oscar Yandell the talented out half from Campbell College will start at 10 this weekend. He is an exciting player and one Bangor are delighted to have included in their 1st xv squad. Declan Maguire will move to full back his preferred position after impressing at Rainey last week. Prop Orran McIImurray is out for three weeks after picking up a concussion injury against Rainey. Charlie Clegg is unavailable this week for selection. Orran McIImurray has impressed this season for the 1st xv. Both Evan Wellard – McMillan and Conor McIImurray will share the loose head position. Conor is back from a year in China and impressed for the seconds last Saturday. As a former Irish Schools player he has some real quality attributes to bring to the squad.

The final squad of 20 will be picked from: Forwards: Evan Wellard – McMillan, James Leary, Andrew Jackson, Andrew Shaw, Conor McIImurray, Michael Ferguson, Lewis Stevenson, Mike Weir, James Stewart, Jamie Clegg, James Henley, Craig Burton, Stephen Moore.

Backs: Liam Preston, Oscar Yandell, Mark Widdowson, Desi Fusco, David Charles, Phil Broderick, Declan Maguire, Nathan Graham and Adam Alexander.

Malahide will be a huge test for the players with their squad having quality all over the park. In their scrum half they have a player who controlled the game down their last season with their back row prominent. Malahide are expected to finish in the top four come the end of the season. For Bangor to win on Saturday would be a great way to start their season. There are no easy games in Div 2C. The challenge for this Bangor team is learning to close out games and pick up league points. It is all about being in contention come the end of the season. The last two seasons have produced nervous finishes as the team were put under pressure to retain their place in the AIL. If Bangor can avoid injuries there is a feeling the team can be serious contenders this season.


Dromore v Ballyclare

Ballymoney v Portadown

Larne v Carrickfergus

Instonians v Malone seconds

Limavady v Ards

Lisburn v Clogher Valley

Randalstown v Grosvenor

Cooke v Ballynahinch seconds

Dromore v Ballyclare

Dromore Head coach Jonny Cullen has a couple of late fitness tests to make before finalising his team for Saturday. Players returning to the team after the Conference league match against City of Armagh seconds last weekend include Pete Elliott and Ben Heath in the backrow along with Graeme McCandless and Marcus Heath in the backs.

Ballyclare Head coach Mike McKeever has set this game against Dromore as his last match for rotation. From this point on he will know a bit more about who his 1st and 2nd xv squad players are. A few players who the coach wanted to play this week are not available due to injury and work commitments which is a shame as he would liked to have rotated more than he wanted to.

Over the first four games of the season Ballyclare have used 27 players at 1st xv level with a further 2 players making their debut this weekend. Lessons have been learnt from last season when the team had to face so many games in a short space of time at the end of last season that proved hard to be consistently competitive. Also from looking at other clubs it is hard to be regularly competitive each season in all competitions so rotation/development is required. For Ballyclare their target is a top four finish a must do and competing in the All Ireland Junior Cup along with the Towns Cup (Holders) along with the Junior Cup and Conference league. There is a lot of rugby so building a squad is important.

All matches are challenging in our league and Cups, some with added interest when local derbies add interest like the match with Carrickfergus. . Dromore are going to be one of the strongest junior sides this year with their good coaching and new recruits along with Cooke and Instonians. He thinks Dromore with not having the All Ireland Junior Cup to compete in this side of Christmas will make a big push for the Junior Cup which will make for an exciting game at Barban Hill this weekend.

The coach has been pleased with the new players who have come in this summer in how they have settled in. They include Matthew Johnston, Jamie Cross, Jordan Birnie, Willie Stewart and Jack Black. This added to the experience of Gary Weatherup, Rory Henderson, Bobby Smith, Michael Kirk, Gary Clotworthy and Ryan Tweed are showing this young group is exciting with Aaron Playfair is making himself a real established player along with Joel McBride.

A sign of the progress Ballyclare are making this season is the introduction of the 5th xv this season who play their first game this weekend. Outstanding for the club to be fielding five adult teams. Well done to Director of Rugby Gareth Johnston and his Rugby playing committee on their work in organising this and best wishes to them.

Ballymoney v Portadown

Head coach Jonny Hanna is hoping to have a number of players returning this week after the teams defeat at Lurgan on Saturday. Forwards Peter Irvine, Danny Platt and Russell Blair return with backs Matthew Steele, John Hyndman, Chris Watson and Thomas Hunter in the backs. James Cleland and Michael Allen returned to full training this week and hope to make their first start of season down the club to get some match fitness. Andrew Young is unavailable this week.

Portadown Head coach Richard Hedley loses the services of centre Tom Ceasar after picking up an early injury against Ballyclare that will rule him out for a couple of weeks. Winger Jack Orr is also a doubt for the Ballymoney match. Second row Willie Graham returns to the team. The coach has a few other players carrying bumps from the game at Ballyclare with selection to be finalised on Thursday night.

Larne v Carrickfergus

Larne Head coach Graham Cloke is still without front row forwards Jack Hill, Craig Gibson and McWhirter as he retains the front row that played against UUC last week. Captain Jonny Cole returns to take his place on the bench along with former Larne Grammar school second row/back row Lee McLee. Phil Andrews returns at full back with BJ McFaul staying at out half. Jonny Ogilby makes his first start for Larne at inside centre.

Talking to Andy Kinkaid from Carrickfergus. Matches against Larne are always tight with league positions out the window in derby matches. Everyone loves a Cup match and with three cups to play for this year there is every opportunity for a good Cup run.

With a few players away last weekend the players who came in put in strong performances against Ballynahinch seconds. This has given the coaches some serious selection issues this week. Selection to be finalised on Thursday night.

Instonians v Malone seconds

Director of Rugby Anthony McKibben was pleased to see the Inst 1st xv bounce back from their defeat at Enniskillen to record a bonus point win over neighbours CIYMS at Shawsbridge. Changes were made to the front five with Conor Gallagher moving to loose head and Head coach John Andress coming in at tight head. New Zealand forward Cameron Barr impressed in training with his physicality and scrumaging and started at hooker with the experienced Alan Whitten coming into the second row alongside Sean Shuttleworth. It was noticeable how this combination dominated the CIYMS pack in the set scrums throughout the game providing former Ulster scrum half Paul Marshall with the opportunity to score three tries.

Selection for the game will be finalised on Thursday night with a number of players undergoing fitness tests. Joe Fryers who impressed off the bench against Enniskillen comes into the squad after impressing for the seconds last Saturday. Andrew Keane is another player who has returned from his time in Sweden to press for a starting place. Michael Melville remains on the injured list.

Richard McCarthy was given his chance at out half last Saturday in place off Timmy Murphy after excellent performances for the second xv. His distribution and tackling along with his calming influence contributed to the teams win over CIYMS.

The game against Malone seconds is all about building on the winning performance last Saturday. Instonians have the playing squad to compete in all competitions this season.

Limavady v Ards

Head coach Graeme Eastwood has been pleased with the work put in by the players over the past few weeks with still more to come. The team are looking forward to Saturday and expect a tough test from a good Ards side. The squad remains pretty much unchanged with a lot of players putting their hands up for this weekend. For this Limavady team it is all about performance. If the team perform the results look after themselves.

Ards Head coach John West has still to finalise his team. He has two players trying to rearrange work commitments otherwise he has a full squad to select from. As John West put it this is a Cup game and form can go out he window. The players will be looking to put in a performance this weekend.

Ards lost their opening league game at the John Hunter Playing Fields when they suffered a 48 – 0 defeat.

Lisburn v Clogher Valley

No information available from Lisburn.

From David Sharkey Clogher Valley are finalising selection on Thursday night. Both Ross Finlay and David Speer remain on the injured list. Paul Armstrong has returned this week to do some light training and is targeting the middle of October for a return.

Randalstown v Grosvenor

Talking to Randalstown 1st xv Manager Willie Allen. Both Ian Hume and Marty O’Neill are ruled out through injury for selection this week.

Randalstown team: 1. Matty McBrien, 2. Scott Stevenson, 3. Simon Adams, 4. Dean McCroary, 5.David Millar (Capt), 6.Tony O’Hagan, 7. Peter Knowles, 8. David Smyth, 9. Tommy Holland, 10. Martin Connolly, 11. Niall McGlade, 12. Ryan O’Dea, 13. Matty McWhinney, 14. Jordan Foster, 15. Dan McGlade, 16. Scott McClenaghan, 17. Michael Smith.

Grosvenor Head coach Robert Ford will nor finalise his selection until Thursday night with a few players facing fitness tests. Both David Marshall (ribs) and Matthew Fitzsimmons (concussion) are out this week. Peter Davison is likely to return to the team.

Cooke v Ballynahinch seconds

Cooke Head coach Colin Atkinson has several injuries from the win over Coleraine last Friday night. Ruled out are props Jonathan McClune and Ian Moxen. Michael Cartmill has left to go to University in England. Alex Gourley is following the return play protocols for concussion. Fraser Orr is unavailable due to work commitments with full back Philip Cartmill a doubt with a shoulder injury.

Ross Dunning and James Milligan are in contention for front row starts. Jonny Walsh, Matthew Crothers and Jason Lyons will return to the pack with Andrew Pollock starting on the wing.

Mark McDowell has taken over as Head coach of Ballynahinch 2nd xv this season assisted by Davy Harris. With several players stepping down to play for the clubs 4th and 5ths it will be a case of the coaches putting together a new squad that will challenge for places on the 1st xv. As Mark put it there is a transition happening at Ballynahinch this year. With the seconds there is an expectancy to deliver trophies each season. He is excited by the challenge and the pressure that places on you as a coach. It is a case of the new faces adapting to new combinations and patterns of play. The challenge for the coaches and players is building consistency into their performances and reducing the error count. Against Carrickfergus last Saturday the team were losing 19 – 17 with the game on the blow. A break out from their own twenty two took play deep into the Carrick twenty two as the team went in search of the winning score. A loose pass allowed Carrick to pick up and race down the pitch to extend their lead to 26 – 17. Carrick added two further converted tries in the remaining time to run out 40 – 17 winners. Ballynahinch had been leading 14 – 7 at halftime.

Team selection will not be finalised until Thursday night. Ballynahinch have four centres Stuart Morrow, Hilton Gibbons, Rory Butler and Josh Jordan on their injured list with the 1st xv kicking off their AIL campaign on the 6th October. Out half Matthew Norton will captain the side this weekend with Ulster under 19 scrum half Lewis Finlay his partner at scrum half. Eamon McAnulty will start in the centre with the ever present Aaron Ferris starting on the wing. The other places in the backs remain to be filled with players including James McBriar, Ronan Patterson, Callum McLaughlin and Davy Nicholson likely to be involved. In the forwards the backrow is expected to be similar to last week with Graeme McKitterick, Brian Howard and Gareth Gill adding considerable experience to the pack. Matt Connolly will lead the pack from the second row. His potential partner Andy Simpson will undergo a late fitness test on Thursday night. Ben Cullen will start at loose head with the other two front row positions to be filled with 1st xv bench players Clayton Milligan, Jonny Blair and Tom Martin being considered. Players given the opportunity in recent games for the seconds include both Harris McConnell and Ciaran McCauley who have finished University. They have been joined by former Down High School players Harry McCormick and Scott Connolly. Former Youth player Mark Douglas played at scrum half against Carrickfergus. Both Tom Martin and Ronan Patterson are another two players who have come through Down High School and played for the 1st xv this season.

You can rest assured that the current holders of the Millar McCall Wylie Junior Cup will mount a stiff defence of the trophy when they travel to Shawsbridge to play Cooke on Saturday. Coach Mark McDowell is expecting a tough game against an exciting Cooke team that he is familiar with from his time at Instonians.


Enniskillen v Coleraine

The home side will be seeking their first league win this season. Narrow defeats at home against Instonians and Ballyclare and a 19 – 19 draw at Carrickfergus do not reflect how well the team has performed in the opening weeks of the season. The team have the opportunity to add to their three league points with home games coming up against Coleraine and Dromore in the next two weeks. The Enniskillen pack will be nearly the same with Davy Buchanan returning to the second row. The backline will be finalised tonight at training. The coach is looking forward to the two home league games as the team go in search of their first win of the season. It is cutting out the errors from the Instonians and Ballyclare that lost them these games.

Coleraine Head coach Benjy Van Der Byl was pleased with the effort of the team in the Junior Cup match at Cooke last week that included second and third xv players. Match fitness was an issue considering it was only their third match. This week at Enniskillen we have a lot of players back including a new backrow with a few players returning in the backs. This week should be a different challenge. Team just need more games to improve their match fitness.

He is hoping the team will go much better this week.

Coleraine team: 1. Aidy Nevin, 2. David Greatorex, 3. Chris Breadon, 4. DD McAllister, 5. Brian Hughes, 6. Josh Christie, 7. Bernard Mullan, 8. Steven Dickey, 9. Cameron Fulton, 10. Jonny Crowe, 11. Brandon Bailey, 12. Gavin Piennar, 13. Bradley Dempster, 14. Niall Irwin, 15. Stevie Callaghan, 16. Marek Juzl, 17. S McLean.


Cavan v Holywood

Donaghadee v PSNI

Letterkenny v Civil Service

Ophir v Monaghan

Strabane v Newry

Virginia v BHSFP

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