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Ballyclare are focused and expect progress in Junior Cup, says Mike Orchin McKeever

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Mike Orchin McKeever. Credit: Freddie Parkinson

Mike Orchin McKeever. Credit: Freddie Parkinson

Mike Orchin McKeever. Credit: Freddie Parkinson

Ballyclare, who are no strangers to cup silverware, start a hectic three weeks with an away Millar McCall Wylie Junior Cup tie at Larne.

They then travel to Clogher Valley in a vital league game next week and, having reached the All-Ireland Junior Cup semis for the first time, host Connemara the following Saturday.

Mike Orchin McKeever, who has steered the club and the local High to many successes, is not taking Larne lightly even though they play in a lower league.

“We have a talented squad which we rotate which is a mixture of youth and experience. We have only lost twice so are really looking forward to this,” he said.

Scott Martin, in his first year out of school, has been impressive in the centre and has scored eight tries in five outings.

He is joined by Ulster Junior and captain Joel McBride, who is versatile and a strong all-round player. Up front, Adam Barrow is an improving front-row forward.

“Our No.8 Jack Gamble is a dynamic ball carrier having played for Ulster ‘A’ against both Leinster and Munster behind closed doors last March,” added McKeever. “Despite being away from home, we travel respectfully and focused but expect to win.”

Larne showed their capabilities at home by eliminating Lisburn 30-24 but their league record is disappointing with only two wins in 10 outings, and they will need to be at their best to have any chance of reaching the third round.

Junior Cup second round: Banbridge II v Omagh II, Rainey II v Instonians, Malone II v Cooke, Clogher Valley v Ballymoney, City of Armagh II v Ballymena II, CIYMS v Enniskillen, Ballynahinch II v Dromore, Larne v Ballyclare.

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