Ballyclare relishing holders’ challenge
Noone will give them a hope, but Ballyclare High aren’t going to roll over when they take on the might of Methody in tomorrow’s second Northern Bank Schools’ Cup semi-final at Ravenhill (2.30pm).
The Co Antrim boys have played more games in the competition than any of the four teams who made it this far having been unseeded and now they face their biggest challenge yet in going head-to-head with the holders.
Methody are overwhelming favourites to copper-fasten their grip on the old trophy but Ballyclare are battle hardened having seen off Grosvenor, Bangor Grammar and Belfast Royal Academy.
Daniel Soper’s side made it to this stage of the tournament last season only to be undone by beaten finalists Regent House and while they will obviously be looking to go one better, their task doesn’t come any more difficult.
Indeed, Soper felt that Ballyclare over-achieved last year in making it to the semi-finals but they have been impressive at times this year, not least in that early defeat of Grosvenor.
“I think, thinking back, we didn’t really realise at the time, or make a big deal about beating Grosvenor but it was a big result for us and we have built on that,” said Soper.
“We played very well against BRA too and now we have a very tough one but I know the boys will give their all.”