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Ballymena are the favourites to secure Shield triumph

Ballymena Academy are rated alongside RBAI, Methodist College, Campbell College and Wallace High as one of the top teams in Ulster and in consequence will start as favourites to overcome Down High in the Danske Bank Subsidiary Shield final at Kingspan Stadium this afternoon (2.30pm).

After being eliminated from the Cup by 18 points to 10 to Methody in a closely contested encounter they have reached the final of the Shield in style after defeating a strong Sullivan side 27-10 and Portora Royal 34-0.

Down High narrowly lost 34-28 to eventual semi-finalists Coleraine Inst in the main competition before overcoming Bangor Grammar 25-3 and Regent House 19-8 in the Shield.

Ballymena coach Gavin Murray commented: "The weather is expected to be good and the conditions are expected to be firm so we expect an open and entertaining game.

"We haven't played them yet but we know they have had a few very useful results.

"We will be without our two Irish Schools' pack members, Alexander Clarke and Jonathan McKeown, but we wish them the best of luck as they have brought great honour to our school."

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