Ballyclare High kick-off their Schools’ Cup campaign on Saturday with a tough trip to Grosvenor and coach Daniel Soper admits it may be too much to ask for them to repeat last year’s feat.
The east Antrim boys raised a few eyebrows by making it through to the last four of the competition only to lose out to beaten finalists Regent House.
Soper’s ambitions don’t quite rise to the extent of last season’s exploits and at the minute he is keeping his players grounded and drawing out the old adage of taking it one game at a time.
“For the guys this is the highlight of the year and everyone loves being involved in the Schools’ Cup,” said Soper, who is also on the coaching staff at Ballynahinch.
“Of course everyone sets out to win it but but if we are being realistic we probably overachieved a bit last year in getting to the semi final.
“So from that point of view we aren’t looking too far ahead and we will just remain focused on what will be a tough game against Grosvenor on Saturday.
“If we win our first game we will obviously look to use the confidence gained from that to press forward but at the minute we aren’t looking past Grosvenor.”
Ballyclare, who will look to skipper Adam Best and Jordan Annett (pictured) - both Ulster School’s representatives - have already beaten Grosvenor this year having secured a 19-3 success but Soper isnt reading into that too much.
“I remember they had a few players out that day and, in fact, lost one of their key players in the warm up so that result will bear no significance,” he added. “The cup is a very different story and while we know a little bit about them, it’s not enough to make a big difference in our approach.”
In the Grosvenor camp, coach Kyle McCallan will hope for a similar performance from his pack after their 8-0 win over Down High in the second round.
“They were magnificent in the second half in windy conditions and we will hope for another performance like that,” he said. “
“We are underdogs, given that Ballyclare have only come in at this stage of the competition but the boys are confident and hopefully we can spring a result.”