FOUR-time AIL medal winner Fiach O’Loughlin is hoping to spearhead Thomond’s promotion to Division 2A of the Ulster Bank League this weekend.
Second-placed Thomond are currently one of the teams tied on 50 points in the Division 2B table, with the Fitzgerald Park side just ahead of both Skerries and Greystones in the table by virtue of their superior points difference.
Nenagh Ormond are already assured of promotion from 2B, with Thomond, Skerries and Greystones involved in a three-way scrap for the second automatic promotion spot or a third-placed finish which would guarantee a promotion play-off spot with the club finishing third-from-bottom in Division 2A.
In Saturday’s final round of regular season fixtures, Thomond travel to Kirwan Park to face DLSP, while Skerries travel to Sligo and Greystones are away to Sunday’s Well.
Fiach O’Loughlin, who won four AIL titles with Shannon and captained the club to their 2009 AIL success, is now a main man with Thomond. The 32-year-old took four years out of rugby before joining Thomond at the start of last season.
Scrum-half O’Loughlin said: “It would be massive for Thomond to get promotion to Division 2A on Saturday.
“This Thomond squad is a fantastic bunch of players to be involved with. I love training with them week in and week out. Our style of rugby is very enjoyable to play.
“We are treating this weekend’s game with DLSP the same as any other AIL match.
“We have to win our game first and then see if there is a chance of securing a bonus point. It’s crucial we look after ourselves and afterwards see how the other two promotion rivals got on in their fixtures.”
Elsewhere in Division 2B, Richmond will host Navan RFC at Richmond Park.
In Division 1A, struggling Garryowen must secure a runaway bonus point win over St Mary’s College at Templeville Road and hope Ballynahinch take nothing from their home tie with UCD to maintain a glimmer of hope of avoiding relegation from the top flight going into the final weekend of fixtures on Saturday week.
Young Munster host Cork Con in a Munster derby at Clifford Park.
In Division 1B, Shannon host Malone on the back pitch at Thomond Park at 1pm on Saturday, while fourth-placed UL-Bohemian take on second-placed Buccaneers at Dubarry Park in a key promotion clash.
The final series of fixtures for the season take place in 2A where Old Crescent travel to QUB and Bruff are on the road to Cashel. Both Limerick sides are already relegated to 2B for next season.