Schools' Cup: Campbell keep it simple
Campbell College will go into today's second Northern Bank Schools’ Cup semi-final against Ballyclare High at Ravenhill (2.30pm) as favourites to join Inst in the St Patrick’s Day final.
Campbell had to face Methodist College on three occasions before making the last four and despite having to play those games in the space of 10 days they will be fielding the same team once again.
They defeated Regent House 31-0 before two draws with Methody — both by the same 10-10 scoreline — before eventually coming out on top 8-3.
Campbell’s squad is packed with talent, including Irish Schools' players Rory Scholes, Christopher Farrell and their captain John Creighton.
They have formidable backs and with an attacking full-back like Scholes, Ballyclare could have problems in the open spaces of Ravenhill.
Ballyclare haven’t played since their quarter-final with Sullivan Upper 37-29 over two weeks ago, but have sustained a couple of niggling injuries in training. Coach Daniel Soper is hopeful the players in question will come through a test this morning.
The east-Antrim team have had a successful season with only a couple of defeats to mar their record. They had a close call in the fourth round when they needed a late try to overcome Down High 10-9 before that visit to Holywood,
Johnny Darling, Peter McMechan and Paddy Reid form a competent back row while Kirk Johnston and Marc Logan have also shown up well lately.
Johnny Holmes controls from out-half and he can depend on Eddie McKee, Andrew Butler, Johnny Douglas and Peter Ferguson to show their ability.
It is set-up to be an interesting tussle, although Ballyclare do have a comfortable early season win over a Campbell side that were without most of their Ulster players. If the Belmont team have recovered from their recent endeavours they will be expected to advance to meet RBAI in the final for the first time since 1980.
In the Subsidiary Shield semi-finals Ballymena Academy were too strong for Dalriada, winning 26-6 while Wallace High and Bangor Grammar drew 21-21 and will have to met again at Bangor next Saturday.
Ballymena clinched their place in the final with a superb second-half performance that produced 19 points after they led 7-6 at half-time.
Wallace had a player red carded in the first 10 minutes and another yellow carded, but still managed to lead Bangor 10-3 at half-time. They couldn’t hold though on as both had players yellow carded in the second-half.
In the Medallion Shield Sullivan beat Armagh Royal 39-15 and now play Campbell College in the semi-final on Saturday.