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Ballymena are ultra keen to avoid double cup heartache

By David Mason

Published 27/08/2016

Rolling on: Graham Wilson is leaving his Senior Cup misery in the past
Rolling on: Graham Wilson is leaving his Senior Cup misery in the past

Ballymena's season is on the verge of hitting the buffers as they prepare for today's Irish Cup final showdown with Belmont at Gilford.

The Sky Blues had high aspirations of ending the outdoor campaign in a blaze of glory - and a possible double cup success.

Dunbarton torpedoed their dream with a 19-shot PGL Senior Cup win at Fruithill Park on Thursday night.

That victory also helped the Gilford boys to reap a large dollop of revenge as they were eliminated from the IBA Cup by Ballymena back in June.

It means that Ballymena's hopes of parading silverware come down to today's showcase match of the season against Belmont, who have double glory of their own in sight.

The Belfast side currently sit at the top of the PGL Division One table and are favourites to retain the title they lifted last year for the first time since 2007.

Belmont's Davy Hamilton said: "If anything, the PGL Cup final defeat will make Ballymena even more determined. However, we must erase any issues... we must do what we need to do to win the game.

"We've had a good season so far, but we are now down to the business end. It's important to maintain our focus."

Apart from Wallace Cronie, Belmont will have a full squad available. It will be a special day for Stephen Walker and Davy Dubois, who will both feature in their first IBA Cup final.

Myles Greenfield was the tormentor in chief in Thursday night's cup win for Dunbarton. The former Ireland star romped to a 30-12 win against Nigel Robinson.

Marty Trainor and DJ Wilson also played their part by beating Stephen Coleman (26-18) and Jim Baker (19-17). Andy Duncan replied for Ballymena, defeating Conor McCartan 22-14.

Ballymena's Graham Wilson said: "We start again with a clean slate. It's important to get that defeat out of the system.

"Yes we were all disappointed, but we now have a great chance of putting things right with this final coming so soon after that defeat. We'll have a full strength side available, so we are itching to go again."


Irish Bowling Association's Senior Cup final: Ballymena v Belmont (at Gilford).

Irish Bowling Association's Intermediate Cup final: Ards v Belmont B (at NICS).

Irish Bowling Association's Junior Cup final: Cookstown B v Belmont C (at Old Bleach).

Northern Ireland Bowling Association Division One: Dundonald v Balmoral, Lisnagarvey v Banbridge, Bangor v Whitehead, Divis v Donaghadee.

Northern Ireland Private Greens League Division One: Dunbarton v Ulster Transport, Ewarts v Old Bleach, Pickie v Larne.

Northern Ireland Provincial Bowling Association Division One: Coleraine v Cookstown, City of Derry v Portrush, Letterkenny v Ballycastle, Limavady v Dunluce, Portglenone v Ballymoney.

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