Belfast Telegraph

Seasiders now wary of Balmoral revenge mission

By David Mason

Bangor's Rodney McCutcheon admits he fears a Balmoral backlash in today's IBA Senior Cup showdown at Belvoir Drive.

The Seasiders last week produced a virtuoso performance in the NIBA Division One clash against the same opponents, racking up six points in their 30 shots victory at their Ward Park base.

Just to rub salt into the gaping Balmoral wounds, newly promoted Castle, who are neighbours of Bangor, travelled to Belfast in midweek for a league game and left with five of the seven points on offer following their shock 76-68 win.

But even after those two shattering defeats, McCutcheon expects a mighty challenge from Clifford Craig and his team in the cup tie.

"They'll be hurting after their results over the past week, there is no question about that," he said. "Ironically this will be our third meeting with Balmoral in the cup over the past six years.

"Our record has been good so far. But they are on their own green this time, so they'll have that advantage. I'm sure they'll also be looking for a little bit of revenge for last week's defeat at our place."

Although Bangor have added Matthew Crawford to their squad this season, they have lost the services of Donald Mills, Jackie Campbell and Jackie Nelson, who have moved on to Pickie.

"We are working off a squad of 19 or 20 which is hardly ideal," added McCutcheon. "We've no B team, so it can be tight enough when players are off on holidays or have work commitments.

"Hopefully, we'll be at full strength for the weekend."

Meanwhile, Ballymoney's Irish Cup credentials will again go under the microscope when they travel to Dunbarton in one of the top ties of the round.

The Provincial boys have suffered a fair degree of heartache in recent years, losing out in three finals since 2010.

Their latest dose of trauma arrived last August when they lost out to neighbours Coleraine an an epic final at Belmont – the Bannsiders' first success in 92 years.

Ballymoney will now require all their powers of resistance.

"We've proved we can match any team in this tournament as our previous results would suggest, even though we have still to get our hands on the cup," said Ballymoney's Gary Kelly.

Irish Senior Cup, third round: Ballywalter v Portadown, Old Bleach v Rathfriland, Dunbarton v Ballymoney, Divis v Letterkenny, Ewarts v Belmont, Banbridge v Kilrea, Bray v Portglenone, Balmoral v Bangor, Lurgan v Mossley, NICS v Cookstown, Pickie v CYM, Portrrush v Dungannon, St James's Gate v Crumlin, Salisbury v Dundonald, Shaftesbury v Lisnagarvey, Larne v Ballycastle.

Irish Junior Cup, third round: BETS v Whitehead, Belmont v Railway Union/Shankill, CYM v Antrim, Pickie v Warrenpoint, Cloughey v Westmanstown, Coleraine v Ballymoney, Falls v Lisnagarvey, Dunbarton v Newcastle, Larne v Cookstown, Limavady v Brooke Park, Lurgan v Donaghadee, Old Bleach v Portadown, Ballymena v Bray, Banbridge v Lagan Valley, Castlerock v Carrickfergus.

Belfast Telegraph

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