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Giants Ballymena wary of underdogs' bite

 

By Alex Mills

Ballymena will not let sentiment derail their IBA Irish Senior Cup ambitions this season.

The Sky Blues have been handed a second round meeting with Letterkenny, and even though it appears to be a simple enough assignment for the Private Greens League giants, they'll be taking nothing for granted.

Still lurking in the background is their agonising three shots defeat by Belmont in last season's showcase final. It's something they want to put right.

"We have never met Letterkenny before in a competitive fixture, so it's one of those ties that has genuine cup appeal," said Ballymena's Graham Wilson. "We are looking forward to the challenge.

"We'll be big favourites, but we know we have to go there and perform to get a result. We've lost only once in the league this season and currently sit five points behind leaders Dunbarton. Our form has been good," he added.

"But we are aware that cup games can throw up the odd shock. We have to make sure it doesn't happen at Letterkenny.

"The defeat by Belmont in the final last August is still a big talking point. It would be great to go on another cup run, but we'll take one game at a time. You can end up with egg on your face if you look to far ahead in this game."

With their £200,000 refurbishment now completed at Kincora Avenue, Senior Cup holders Belmont must again go on the road, making the short trip to Ward Park in Bangor to face Castle.

The new facilities at Belmont will be officially opened this morning, which means the team can relish their first home match of the season next week.

Fixtures: Irish Bowling Association Senior Cup Second Round: Ballywalter v Dundonald, Falls v Dunbarton, Dungannon v Whitehead, Castle v Belmont, Lurgan v Old Bleach, Larne v Balmoral, Letterkenny v Ballymena, Carrickfergus v Albert Foundry, St James's Gate v Dromore, Portrush v Pickie, City of Derry v Cym, Coleraine v Mossley, Leinster v Ballymoney, Dunluce v Aer Lingus, Banbridge v Ewarts.

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