Belfast Telegraph

Derry looking to upset the odds

By Jonathon Bradley

City of Derry go into today's First Trust Senior Cup semi-final (2.30pm) with Ballynahinch at Ballymacarn Park as underdogs but, according to captain David Funston, it is a tag that the Judge's Road men will relish.

"We've been in this situation before and we seem to up our performance against bigger sides," said the centre.

"It's probably as tough as it gets to play Ballynahinch, especially away from home.

"Coming from the North West, we can be disrespected sometimes but over the years we've proved that we can compete with the likes of Hinch and the big teams from Belfast.

"We don't fear anyone and we'll be giving it our best shot."

Being Ulster's only representative in AIL 1A, Ballynahinch are clear favourites to lift the trophy but, that was also the case last year when they were beaten in the final by Queen's.

Today they will be missing their Ulster Ravens contingent as Kieran Campbell's men face Rotherham.

Derry, who have Josh Lewis and Chris Barber back in action, are also looking to put some recent cup heartache behind them.

Funston added: "The last two seasons we've got to the semi-finals but we lost to Ballynahinch last year and Ballymena the year before.

"It's something we've had ambitions to win as a club and it would be great if we could achieve that this year."

The other teams vying for a place in the showpiece final on Wednesday December 10 are Ballymena and Malone who meet at Eaton Park this afternoon.

The hosts will have former Ireland prop Bryan Young in their ranks and, while he is no stranger to turning out at the home of Ulster Rugby, he feels a trip to the Kingspan Stadium could provide a massive incentive for his team-mates.

"It's a massive carrot," he said.

"A home semi-final with a game at the redeveloped Kingspan Stadium for the winner is huge for the guys."

Belfast Telegraph

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