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Cooke are keen to serve up another helping of Cup joy

By Ronnie Ingram

Cooke have won the McCrea Cup 10 times in the last 20 seasons but Malone II will provide formidable opposition in this evening's final (Kingspan Stadium, 7pm).

Former senior stalwarts Lee Barlow and Richard Bartley will be the Malone props while Max Porter - son of ex-Scottish international Stuart - is at flanker. Josh Ferguson, who has improved immensely with experience and has come through the Malone youth system, will be at No.6.

Chris Davis and Matthew Doak, who have just joined after completing their university studies, are in the second row. Doak helped Queen's win the trophy against Cooke last season.

Richard McCullagh in the centre and full-back Gareth Miller are both seasoned players while the half-backs are Conor Henry and Bruce Duff.

The other centre, Nathan Brown, was hoping to play against his brother but hooker Niall has been suspended after being shown a red card in the draw with Queen's II.

Malone reached the final with away victories at CIYMS (26-9) and Academy (21-17).

Shaw's Bridge side Cooke, who were fifth in Q1, will miss out on a place in next season's All-Ireland Junior Cup unless Bangor qualify for the AIL.

They certainly don't want to face any disappointment and will field a strong, balanced team with no injury problems.

They have a fast and skilful captain in centre Philip Cartmill while winger Andrew Pollock is also very quick and has scored a large number of tries to cement his credentials.

They reached the final with victories against Grosvenor (24-21) and Queen's II (25-8) and will hope to continue that trend.

Belfast Telegraph


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