Old Christians bid to end leaders Galbally’s great run

THE three top teams in the First Division face stern challenges on Sunday as they battle for league glory, but the weekend’s standout game is in the Second Division, as two of the pacesetters, Old Christians and Galbally, come face to face.

The County Limerick team overtook the Cork side at the top with a draw at Clanwilliam but Old Christians have a game in hand. It has been a magnificent season for Galbally, who have yet to suffer a competitive defeat.

With home advantage, they will be confident of keeping their run going and they will hope that Karl Bourke can enjoy a big game with the boot. Old Christians will be gunning for a win and with a powerful mobile pack they will be hopeful of ending their rivals’ run.

Clanwilliam are the other team in contention for a promotion spot and will be expecting to maintain the pressure with a home tie against Newport. The Tipperary Town club will have to work hard to break down their rivals strong defence but should have enough class to win out.

The battle at the top of Division One is just as tight with Tralee a point ahead of Richmond while Cashel are a further four points behind, but with a game in hand.

The holders are the only one of the trio at home but can’t afford complacency against Ballincollig.

The Cork side are enjoying an excellent season in the top flight and will be fired up to put a dent in their opponents’ title hopes. Cashel will be battle hardened after a tough victory over Clonmel and should have enough experience to keep the pressure on the top two.

Richmond have enjoyed a magnificent season with some scintillating performances, including last weekend’s success over Crosshaven. They travel to a Kilfeacle side looking over their shoulders, partly due to a backed-up fixture list. The Tipperary club will be hungry to pick up points and move into mid-table security.

Despite being on the road, Tralee will be expecting to extend their winning sequence as they face St Senan’s. The Clare club currently lie second from bottom but on their day are well capable of causing a surprise. They will need a powerful performance from their pack and hope that some of their speedsters out wide can get the space to cause another upset.

Crosshaven are at the foot of the table and still in search of their first win. They will know that the elusive victory must come this weekend against fellow strugglers Thurles if they are not to be consigned to relegation.

While Clonmel are still in the battle at the bottom, a win at Skibbereen could put them level with the fourth-placed club but the West Cork venue is not an easy place to get a result.

In the remaining Division One game, Waterpark will hope to give their home fans something to cheer about as they host a Cobh Pirates side hitting their best form.

Ennis, Youghal and St Mary’s are all bidding to avoid the drop from Division Two, and will all find it tough to pick up points, as they face away trips. The Clare club travel to a strong Kinsale side while Youghal will have to put in a big performance if they are to come away from Newcastle West with a result. Mary’s take on a Kanturk team who have an array of attacking talent at their disposal.

The other Division Two tie sees local pride at stake as a stuttering Muskerry team host Bandon.

In Section A of Division Three, Castleisland should maintain their unbeaten run with a home win over Abbeyfeale. Corca Dhuibhne can keep their promotion hopes alive with a win over rivals Presentation while Killarney can help their promotion bid with a victory over Kilrush.

The other match sees Killorglin host fellow strugglers Scariff.

The big match in Section B sees top of the table Charleville host Carrick-On-Suir. The North Cork side can extend their advantage with a win over the Tipperary club who will not want to be left behind in the chasing pack.

Mallow will hope to keep second spot after they play an improving Dungarvan team while the loser of the Fermoy and Waterford City tie are likely to be cut off from the promotion race.

Douglas can keep the pressure on as they play a local derby against Shandon, who would love to get one over their neighbours.

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