Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Portora set to storm cup

Portora skipper James Carleton in action against Royal Dungannon

Portora Royal coach Lachlan Ferguson believes his side’s superb fitness levels this season can be the key factor in their Northern Bank Schools’ Cup challenge.

The Fermanagh boys came out of a tough encounter with fellow ‘Royals’ Dungannon on Saturday in their re-arranged match and now with their robust approach, are targeting the quarter-finals by seeing off Larne this week.

With a four figure crowd expected to turn up for the clash Ferguson and his boys can’t wait to get into the action, though they aren’t taking their east Antrim counterparts lightly.

“Larne are going to be very, very dangerous - they have four Ulster players so that speaks for itself so we know it is going to be a tough challenge,” said coach Ferguson.

“The Dungannon game was really like getting a monkey off our backs.

“Traditionally we are normally nervous coming into our first Schools Cup game so I was pleased to get that out of the way.

“I am also happy with the short turnaround so the boys can get back into action quickly.

“We needed a tough Schools Cup match to start off with and we got that and now we are looking to push on.”

On his squad’s strength, Ferguson added: “We have a very fit squad. It is something I have made sure of, that our fitness levels are very high so I don’t have to worry about that.

“We came out of the game relatively injury free though I lost my vice-captain Andrew Cromie.

“We will concentrate on recover over the early part of this week and then towards the end of the week as the match gets closer, we will look at the mental side of things and make sure we are ready from that point of view.

“What I have done here to try and make us a genuine cup threat is to raise the fitness levels so that we can compete with the best.

“It has been a very tough season for these boys but it’s all coming along nicely now.

“We are expecting over a thousand at the game and there is a big buzz around Fermanagh at the minute and we are all very excited.

“This is a big chance for us, we can get to the quarter finals and if we play the way we can I can see no reason why we can’t achieve that.”

Larne are having a terrific season themselves and after overcoming Portadown in the last round, they’ve made a few people sit up and take notice.

Skipper Ryan Maybin was a try-scorer in that victory and he will be a key man again for Jonny Lowe’s side.

Ferguson added: “We definitely won’t be considered as favourites - they are going to really give us a game.”

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