| 5.5°C Belfast

Schools' Cup semi-finals: Friends' star Sophie keen to complete double Kidd success


Close

The Belfast Telegraph School's Cup semi-finalists: Rachel Geddis - Friends, Sophia Del Castillo -BRA with Joanne Uprichard - Belfast Telegraph Digital Marketing Manager, Lauren Armstrong -Omagh and Ellen Reid - Banbridge Academy.

The Belfast Telegraph School's Cup semi-finalists: Rachel Geddis - Friends, Sophia Del Castillo -BRA with Joanne Uprichard - Belfast Telegraph Digital Marketing Manager, Lauren Armstrong -Omagh and Ellen Reid - Banbridge Academy.

Facing off: Rachel Geddis of Friends’ and Omagh’s Lauren Armstrong

Facing off: Rachel Geddis of Friends’ and Omagh’s Lauren Armstrong

Relishing it: BRA ace Sophia del Castillo and Ellen Reid of Banbridge Academy

Relishing it: BRA ace Sophia del Castillo and Ellen Reid of Banbridge Academy

The Belfast Telegraph School's Cup semi-finalists: Rachel Geddis - Friends, Sophia Del Castillo -BRA with Joanne Uprichard - Belfast Telegraph Digital Marketing Manager, Lauren Armstrong -Omagh and Ellen Reid - Banbridge Academy.

Sophie Kidd would dearly love to follow in her big brother Ollie's footsteps and get her hands on a schools' hockey trophy to make it a double family success this season.

Friends' boys lifted the McCullough Cup for the first time in 29 years in December when they beat Wallace High in the final.

Today it's the turn of the Lisburn girls, who meet Omagh Academy in the Belfast Telegraph Senior Cup semi-final at Stormont (now at 3.15pm following morning inspection), with holders Banbridge Academy facing Belfast Royal Academy in the first part of the double-header (now at 1.15pm).

Sophie is just 14-years-old and it's testament to her ability that she has been making quite an impact on the hockey pitch by not only making the Friends' first team but the Ireland Under-16 squad as well.

"I watch a lot of Ollie's games for Lisnagarvey and for the school when I'm not playing myself and although we are supportive of each other we are also really competitive on the goalscoring front," said Sophie.

But, at this stage, Sophie will be happy just to help Friends' reach the final as they bid to land a first Belfast Telegraph Senior Cup since 1999, when they beat today's opponents in the showpiece.

"It would be really special to have the boys' and girls' 1st XI Cups in the school for the family but the focus is firmly on Omagh," Sophie added.

"We have a lot to do before we can even think about reaching the final but getting there is the focus for now and if it works out it would be something really special."

Omagh captain Lauren Armstrong, an Ulster Under-18 inter-pro winner earlier this season, is quietly confident her team can upset the odds once again and reach their first Senior Cup final since 2010.

"As a team we fear no one but respect everyone and we have a lot of very young, hard-working players and we have used this to our advantage as people have maybe underestimated us," she warned.

"Few expected such a young team from a country school in the west of the province like Omagh Academy to be a threat or even compete with Super League winners like Rainey.

"We are a structured, well-drilled team and no one gets an easy game with Omagh, so there's no reason why we can't continue to beat the 'big' teams."

Banbridge Academy are aiming for a fourth successive final, with BRA standing in their way this afternoon.

BRA, who have won the famous trophy 11 times but not since 1974, believe they can cope with the pressure of the big occasion - although that's something their opponents obviously have more recent experience of.

Star striker Niamh McIvor, an Ireland Under-18 international, said: "Our nerves on the day will be an indicator of how much the competition means to us and we hope to channel those nerves to fuel our performance and drive us on. Most of this team have grown up playing together and we intend to work for each other and give it everything we have.

"We want to play well, do our best and if we do that then we can at least hold our heads high regardless of the result."

Banbridge captain Ellen Reid is expecting a tough test against BRA.

"We have an experienced side this year with 10 of us back from last season and we all work hard for each other," she said.

"We are looking forward to the semi-final and it's all on the day and who can handle the occasion better.

"In the past, we've shown we can rise to the occasion but our coach Neil Madeley has us well grounded so we don't think too far in advance and take every game as it comes.

"The preparations have been going well and we have all been driving the standard which has been getting better with each training session."

Belfast Telegraph