Carrick haven’t far to travel but Academy hold the aces
Action and excitement seem guaranteed at Roughfort this morning because not only do Belfast Royal Academy face Carrick Grammar in the third round of the Schools' Cup, their Medallion play Limavady Grammar in the Shield and the girls face Rainey Endowed in the quarter-final of hockey's Schools' Cup.
The ‘seeded' Academy have had some impressive results and should have too much all-round ability for their near neighbours.
They can include Ulster players Daniel Dass and Stewart Martin as well as Irish sprint champion Jordan Hylton and Irish swimmer Mark Wylie.
Carrick had an impressive 23-6 win over Lurgan College but Academy at Roughfort is a daunting prospect.
If Bangor Grammar can secure possession at Portadown College they have the backs to score tries. Three of their usual squad won a gold medal in the 4x100 Irish Schools' Relay, although Andrew Mellon is injured and will not be able to join fellow runners Matthew Hamilton and Scott Hamill.
Max Montgomery is a hooker in the Irish Schools' Training squad and Andrew Shaw has played in the same position for Ulster Schools' but, remarkably, both will be in the back row for what should be a closely contested tie.
Limavady Grammar love to run the ball so may feel a bit confined at Friends but should still have the power to reach the next round.
Their results have been much more convincing than their opponents’, who had to come from behind to eliminate Antrim Grammar 12-8 in the second round.
Limavady coach Stephen Barr is cautiously optimistic and has had plenty of experience of Cup upsets. “On paper we should win but it's the Schools' Cup and I would much rather have had them at home”, he said.
Omagh Academy have improved considerably over the past year and will be expected to give Coleraine a close game at Ballycairn Road, while Dalriada could have the edge when they play Grosvenor Grammar at Orangefield.
Dungannon Royal are not as strong as in former years and could find the ever improving Belfast High too difficult to handle, even with home advantage.
Belfast High surprised Banbridge Academy by the margin of their 52-18 victory in the second round when centre Jordan Garford showed his running skills with five tries.
Dungannon were rather fortunate to be only two points in arrears at the interval against Wellington College but rallied for a 16-8 victory with Jack Milligan performing well at scrum-half.
Regent House had a confidence- boosting 42-0 win over Larne Grammar but will find Rainey Endowed much more difficult, even in Newtownards.
The Magherafelt team have a number of players back from last season resulting in some convincing successes whereas Regent have only recently been able to field their first choice side.
The Rainey pack will be expected to dictate the terms and narrowly qualify for the last 16.
In the remaining tie, Down High would normally start firm favourites against Foyle College but the long, tiring journey north could well negate their superiority, so there should be little in it.