Belfast Telegraph

McHugh hoping his experience pays dividends as Whitehead aim for maiden Senior Cup win

 

By Alex Mills

Whitehead have already written themselves into the record books by reaching their first IBA Senior Cup final, but they don't want the fairytale to end with defeat in the east Antrim derby against Larne at Belmont today (2pm).

Having lost only two games this season, Whitehead are on the verge of something special. They already have the NIBA Cup in the trophy cabinet, while a league title showdown with Banbridge on Tuesday is looming.

But the IBA Senior Cup is the trophy they have craved and it's now within touching distance. While the final will be a new experience for most of the Whitehead boys, Ireland international Marty McHugh has been there and got the t-shirt from the 1993 final.

"I was in the Carrickfergus team that won the Cup quite a few years ago," he said.

"But I'm really looking forward to this final with my hometown club.

"It should be a cracking game. It will be a great day for our club in general as our B team will also contest the Junior Cup final against Banbridge on the back green at Belmont."

If anything, the omens are looking good for PGL outfit Larne for the biggest day on the local bowls calendar. They last met Whitehead in the Cup back in 2014 and defeated them at the second-round stage.

And, 10 years prior to that, the teams met in the first round with Larne coming out on top. They went all the way to the final on that occasion only to be beaten by Belmont.

Larne's Paul Robinson said: "It's a big challenge but we are looking forward to it.

"It's a massive day for the club. We are starting off early on with breakfast before we travel to Belfast.

"We know it's a one-off game. It's basically down to the team that wants it most."

It will be a special day for young Larne player Jayden Kyle - son of Ireland international Andy. At 14 years of age, he'll be one of the youngest ever players to feature in an Irish Cup final.

Teams:

Larne: Rink 1: Chris Snoddy, Mark Pettigrew, Darren Witherspoon, Graham McKee. Rink 2: George Woods, Alan McCord, Michael Murphy, Alan McLean. Rink 3: Jayden Kyle, Raymond Bell, Paul Robinson, Andy Kyle, Rink 4: Gavin Johnston, Leslie King, Jason Kerr, David McRandal.

Whitehead: Rink 1: Jack Montgomery, Bill Brown, JR Wilson, Martin McHugh. Rink 2: Michael Bickerstaff, Alan Hill, Philip Weir, Barry Browne. Rink 3: Nigel Beggs, Simon Beggs, Stephen Moran, James Caldwell. Rink 4: Ryan McKeown, Ryan Bell, Dessie Hill, Stephen McKinley.

Fixtures:

Irish Bowling Association Senior Cup final: Larne v Whitehead (at Belmont).

Irish Bowling Association Intermediate Cup final: Ballywalter v Ballycastle (at Old Bleach).

Irish Bowling Association Junior Cup final: Banbridge B v Whitehead B (at Belmont).

Northern Ireland Private Greens League Division One: Ewarts v Dunbarton, Ballymena v Old Bleach, Ulster Transport v Falls.

Northern Ireland Bowling Association Division One: Dundonald v Lurgan, Balmoral v Lisnagarvey, Donaghadee v Bangor, Divis v Portadown.

Northern Ireland Provincial Bowling Association Senior League: Ballymoney v Cookstown, Portglenone v Coleraine, Letterkenny v Portrush, Dunluce v Limavady.

Belfast Telegraph

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