AILL IRELAND RUGBY: Banbridge focused on job at hand in promotion stakes

Banbridge coach Dan Soper
Banbridge coach Dan Soper

Dan Soper has urged Banbridge to concentrate on winning their last two games and not worry about results elsewhere as the hotly contested promotion battle in Division 1B reaches its climax.

Ballynahinch are top a point clear of Shannon and Bann, the Rifle Park club travel to fourth placed UCC.

“We just have to make sure we do our own job, it’s pretty tight and teams like UCC and Old Belvedere are going to have the biggest impact on what is going to happen in the league,” Soper said.

“Belvo play Hinch and Shannon and UCC play us and Shannon they’ll have a big say on the outcome we’ll just focus on our two games starting with this one at the weekend.”

Bann got a bonus point last time out at Naas.

Soper added: “We played some absolute first class rugby at times, the first 15 minutes of the second half was really clinical and high skill level with a great tempo - it was excellent and we showed what we can do and I was really pleased with that.

“Not so pleased to have leaked as many points as we did but when we got the ball and got into our stride we were in pretty good form.”

Soper is expecting a tough battle in Cork.

“They are a big pack, they have a big lineout and their scrum is very effective, any team that has a quality set piece are always hard to beat because they don’t give you any soft exits or easy territory by errors at the set piece.

“They are also a team that can play and they have some dangerous backs we need to be on top of things to make sure we’re in the game.”

Eric O’Sullivan returns to the squad.

Hinch travel to seventh placed Old Wesley who are fighting to avoid the relegation play off, Peter Browne, Pete Nelson, Aaron Cairns and Jack Regan all available.

After beating UL Boh’s Ballymena are two points clear in eighth place of the Limerick club in the fight for survival.

“Things are a wee bit brighter at the minute, it was a good performance against Boh’s and we got the win. Destiny is in our own hands: if we win these two games it doesn’t matter what else happens, we’ll be alright,” said coach Andy Graham.

“Dolphin had a very good performance against Shannon and pushed them all the way, at Ballynahinch they were 10-0 up at half time, they are no pushovers and we only have to look back at the game at home we lost 10-6 to them. They are difficult and they won’t lie down for you.”

Adam McBurney, Ross Kane, Clive Ross, Brett Heron and Callum Patterson all start for the Braidmen.