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Bannsiders out to upset both odds and Donaghadee

By Ronnie Ingram

Donaghadee have suffered only one defeat this season and must start favourites to win the Millar, McCall, Wylie Junior Cup final against Coleraine at Ravenhill this afternoon (2pm).

The teams met early in the season with Dee winning comfortably, 34-3, but the Bannsiders have excelled in Cup competitions and are Ulster's only representatives in the Irish Junior Cup semi-finals.

They may be only seventh in the league table but they have produced outstanding results to reach today's final.

In the first round they pulled off a remarkable upset to eliminate league leaders Clogher Valley 18-13 before getting the better of Banbridge II 52-0 and then a formidable Ballymena II by 6-3.

Ravenhill is geared for open, entertaining rugby but this final could well be decided by the kicking skills of Donaghadee's Ricardo Santos and Coleraine's David Andrews.

Both have had major influences in their teams' victories with Andrews holding his nerve to kick two late penalties to knock out the Braidmen.

Johnny Gault is the Coleraine captain and puts in a lot of work in the second row while Stephen Douglas and former Ulster Junior Stephen Douglas are part of an outstanding back row.

Paul Roxborough is the perfect link with Andrews and has created many tries from the base of the scrum.

Their coach Richard Kernoghan realises the task in hand: "We are going in as underdogs but the boys really want that trophy and are focused on that goal.

"It will be a hard fought affair as Donaghadee are equally determined but we have the squad, the skills and the ability to bring the Cup home."

Dee, whose last visit to Ravenhill was in the 1993 final when they lost to Omagh, have got past Letterkenny 31-0, Instonians II 50-6, Dungannon II 30-21 and Portadown 26-14.

Apart from Santos they have their hard-tackling and attacking captain Bobby Harpur as well as Nigel Barker in the centre while Alastair Lockhart has recently had his name on the scoresheet a few times.

A couple of young players, Richard Martindale and Richard Miller, have shown up well at No 6 and No 8 respectively.

Dee, in their first season in Qualifying Section One, will be strengthened by the inclusion of speedy winger Rory Garnham who is home from Cardiff University while Kalave Aualiitia has improved with every outing.

Coach Andy Monson knows his players will do their best.

"Everyone in the town is very enthusiastic about the team and we expect a large support.

"It is a rare occasion for a team from Donaghadee to reach Ravenhill so we hope to do our town proud as we really appreciate the support we have been given.

"Local businesses have subsidised bunting around the lamp posts to encourage people to make the trip but, irrespective of the result, we want everyone to have an enjoyable day," said Morrison.

Belfast Telegraph


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