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Instonians and Bangor face up to gruelling schedule

By Ronnie Ingram

Two vital cup ties in four days is the big ask of Instonians and Bangor as they play the semi-finals of the All Ireland Junior Cup this afternoon and then face each other in the White, McCall, Wylie Junior Cup final at Kingspan on Tuesday evening.

Ulster have three teams in the semi-finals, just like last year, so to arrange such prestigious games within a few days of each other is strange and a tough ask of junior players.

Nevertheless, Instonians face Clogher Valley at Shaw's Bridge today hoping to gain revenge for their earlier 20-8 League loss at the Cran.

Clogher out-half Philip Holme sustained a leg injury 20 minutes into the Junior Cup semi-final defeat by Bangor 13-3 and is expected to return to action following two hard training sessions this week.

The other changes see Adam Baxter coming in at full-back and prop Philip Moore returning after having a rest from Saturday's 12-3 win over Ards.

Inst will be much more difficult to overcome on their own territory and Clogher will be mindful of last season's game when they led 17-3 at the interval before Inst fought back with two brilliant Matthew Keane tries to clinch an 19-17 victory.

Bangor, rated by some to be the best Junior side in Ulster will have their work cut out at Enniscorthy.

The Leinster team were the beaten finalists to Tullamore 29-10 in 2013, won the final in 2014 against Clogher Valley 10-9 and were eliminated by defeated finalists Bangor last year 14-12 at Upritchard Park.

Like their opponents they have only lost once in their League against Monkstown 13-12 while Bangor's lapse was against Instonians 22-21.

Ulster is assured of one finalist but it is six seasons since the trophy was last in the Province when City of Derry had a very late 19-17 win over Armagh.

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