Ballynahinch out to see off Garryowen

David McIlwaine
David McIlwaine

With only two wins from 11 outings and Eddie O’Sullivan starting to weave his magic at Garryowen, Ballynahinch need to start picking up points quickly.

The former Ireland coach has been brought in by the Limerick side as advisor and their 18-9 win over Hinch in the last round of AIL games saw Garryowen close the gap on Derek Sufferin’s men to seven points.

One side automatically goes down with the second from bottom going into a play-off with home advantage against the runners up in Division 1B and Hinch are eight points adrift of Dolphin.

Old Belvedere second on points difference to Clontarf provide the opposition this week for Hinch at Ballymacarn Park and Sufferin knows his side have got to make home advantage count.

“We have four more home games so we’re hopeful we can get something from these, we’re fighting to stay above Garryowen and have a play-off for survival,” said Sufferin.

Ulster full back David McIlwaine is available, Kiwi Ritchie Lobb continues at inside centre with Harry McAleese at out half while Roger McBurney and Robin Harte are set to return.

In the pack Ulster’s Paddy McAllister could be side lined for the rest of the season after suffering a hamstring injury in training.

Kyle McCall and Johnny Murphy start in the front row although there is a crisis in the season row with Robert Greer, John Donnan and James Simpson all injured and Kenny Morton unavailable, David McGuigan returns in the back row.

Three consecutive wins in Division 1B has seen Belfast Harlequins move within eight points of the promotion playoff place however Adam Larkin’s side travel to run away leaders Terenure who have a 13 point cushion over second placed Corinthians.

Ulster prop Ricky Lutton could still feature for Quins depending on how much game time he gets from the bench for Ulster against the Scarlets, lock Neil McComb and scrum half Michael Heaney are both available for the trip to Dublin.

Malone have climbed to seventh following to consecutive wins the last achieved with 13 men against Buccaneers.

Jacque Benade’s side travel to UL Bohemians with the game to take place on the students 4G pitch.

Lock Cory Tipping is serving a two week suspension after his red card against Buccs but flanker card Joyce is free to play after receiving two yellow cards in the same game.

Ulster out half James McKinney returns to club colours but there are fitness doubts over prop Ross Kane, half back John Creighton and winger Adam Liddell.

Alan O’Connor, Bronson Ross and Rudi Benade are all injured while lock Michael Ferguson is ruled out, winger Jay Malcolm returns.

Dungannon are rooted to the bottom of the table six points from safety and they welcome sixth placed Shannon to Stevenson Park.

Paddy Johns side have two wins from 11 games but have Ulster duo Peter Nelson and Adam Macklin released as well as Ravens centre Stuart McCloskey.

James Mahon starts in the back row with Raven Paul Jackson at hooker, captain James Bates will partner Nelson at half back.