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Faloon confident Armagh can take next step in bid for Cup hat-trick



Big test: Willie Faloon admits he’s braced for a real battle

Big test: Willie Faloon admits he’s braced for a real battle

�INPHO/Bryan Keane

Big test: Willie Faloon admits he’s braced for a real battle

City of Armagh are determined to emulate Ballynahinch and clinch the Bank of Ireland Senior Cup for the third consecutive season.

Armagh, who took up the baton after 'Hinch's hat-trick, travel to a confident Rainey in the semi-final this weekend, and that will be a formidable challenge, according to coach Willie Faloon.

"Rainey are the league champions and their record shows that they are particularly strong at Hatrick Park. It is a huge ask for us to go there and come away with a win," he explained.

"The pitch will be heavy and they are a physical side, and we have a few problems in the front-row."

Armagh suffered a number of bumps and bruises last Saturday and, as a consequence, there are doubts surrounding Gerard Trainor, Chris Colvin and Eoin O'Hagan, while Andy Morton is still out.

Second-row forward James Hanna had been out injured for a couple of months but played well for the seconds last weekend, so will come into contention.

Faloon is still confident of making further progress after the 12-5 win at Banbridge but hopes that he isn't a bit light in the forwards department.

"We have four teams in action so I have a lot of juggling to do in the meantime," he concluded.

Ballynahinch, meanwhile, could be without six regulars but, with home advantage and their strength in depth, they will be expected to reach the final with a victory over Dungannon.

With the Ulster A game on tonight, they will be without second-row Jack Regan, full-back Conor Rankin and flanker Marcus Rea, while Kyle McCall has also been selected for the A side.

Director of rugby Harry McAleese was encouraged by last weekend's All-Ireland League victory over Clontarf.

"It was an outstanding performance and result, so we hope to build on that," he said. "Dungannon are an unknown quantity, not having played them so far.

"It's been a few years since we reached the final so there is a lot at stake, and thankfully we have home advantage."

Belfast Telegraph