Ballynahinch gunning for Clontarf upset

Ballynahinch's Harry McAleese
Ballynahinch's Harry McAleese

A few weeks ago Ballynahinch were fighting relegation with Garryowen but three consecutive bonus point wins have lifted them clear of the automatic drop and entering the final weekend of the season Derek Sufferin’s side could avoid the play-off with the runners-up in Division 1B.

Hinch are four points adrift of eight placed Dolphin and five behind Young Munster but they travel to title chasing Clontarf while the Cork side host Lansdowne, who have nothing to play for.

Hinch have a superior points difference so a win in Dublin and defeat for Dolphin by more than seven points would see the Ballymacarn side finish eighth and avoid the play-off with Buccaneers.

A bonus point win at Clontarf and no match points for Young Munster against UCD would also save Hinch.

Clontarf are two points behind leaders Old Belvedere but Belvo go to already relegated Garryowen.

Clontarf have lost their last two games and Hinch coach Derek Sufferin is hoping to cause an upset.

“Clontarf haven’t produced for the last two games and we need to get a score early and then push on and listen out to what’s happening in the other games,” said Sufferin.

“At least we’ve secured the play-off.”

and it didn’t look like we’d even get it a month ago, confidence is a massive thing and that’s what we’re playing with now.”

“If we have to go into the play-off then so be it and if we then manage to stay up I think we could be a permanent fixture in Division 1A.”

Sufferin is forced into one change from the side that beat UCD last weekend as centre Matthew Arniell is unavailable so Kiwi Richard Lobb comes into midfield to partner Stuart Morrow.

Harry McAleese continues at outhalf and Ulster’s David McIlwaine is released and starts on the wing.