Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Sullivan Upper captain Ross seeks first class honours against Methody

Methody's Michael Lagan (left) and Sullivan Upper's Ross Todd go head to head at Ravenhill this afternoon

Already the first Sullivan Upper captain to lead his team to the Danske Bank Schools' Cup final, Ross Todd is not content to stop there.

While the whole school is caught up in the fervour of making their maiden trip to the Ravenhill showpiece, the Ulster under-19 star is focused on securing a victory over Methody come 3.00pm today.

He said: "It would mean the world to me to get the win; from when you're a young boy that's the dream. To be the first Sullivan captain to win, and the first captain at the new Ravenhill, it would be magic.

"Everyone in Holywood is pretty hyped up but we've got a talented squad and everyone knows we have a job to do; it's not just about the occasion it's about doing a job.

"It's going to be the best day of my life so I need to cherish every moment."

While today's final may be a new experience for the Holywood school, a substantial number of the squad have already played at Ravenhill in a Medallion Shield triumph over Limavady Grammar back in 2011, but Todd does not feel the two occasions compare.

"The Medallion final is absolutely fantastic but there isn't the same crowd, nor live TV. It isn't the same feeling, so it will be a new experience for us," said the number 8.

With Sullivan coached by former Ireland international captain Willie Anderson, Todd insisted: "He is an inspiration to all of us and he keeps the team going. All the coaches play their part and we wouldn't be here without them.

"They've dug deep for us this season and when we've had lows they've built us back up. That's given us the strength to believe we can do this."

The weight of history weighs very differently on the shoulders of Todd's Methody counterpart Michael Lagan who is hoping to lead his school to their 37th title.

While today is Sullivan's first final, Lagan himself – along with centre Connor McKee – is playing in a third but he is not concerning himself with talk of a treble.

The Ireland under-19 international said: "You can't really think too much about a three in a row because every Schools' Cup Methody plays in, they expect to win so there hasn't been much chat about that. For us, it's just another Schools' Cup that we have to win."

That is not to say that the occasion will not be a memorable one for the prop.

He added: "Captaining the team at Ravenhill is going to be special. When you come into the school in first year it's all you dream of doing and, being in upper sixth, it's my last game so it'll be a dream come true to lead the boys out.

"When you see the teams before you, with the likes of Niall Annett and Adam Macklin as captains, going to finals and winning trophies it's a great motivation."

Despite the disparity in past silverware Lagan expects today to be close contest.

He stressed: "We need to raise our game even higher if we are going to beat Sullivan because they're a great side. We can't make basic errors if we are going to get the win."

SQUADS: Methodist College: C Kelly, R Cairns, C McKee, A McIvor, W Diamond, J Bingham, F Wallace, C Boomer, M McKinney, S Herdman, A Thompson, A Linvingstone, R McCallistair, S Weir, M Lagan, J McCreanor, D Coulter, B O'Reily, G Bell, R Cullen, J McCollum, G Millar, Z Jordan.

Sullivan: J Betts, C Jordan, D McMaster, M Cartmill, R Spence, M Adair, C McEwen, R Todd, A Bailie, D Cave, J Davidson, M Clarke, C Griffiths, M Crockford, C McEvoy, J Houston, C Ball, J Bryans, F Jemphrey, D Gilbert, Z Bertenshaw, H Harper, M Nesbitt

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