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Hinch are handed tough semi-final clash at league rivals Ballymena


By Jonathan Bradley

There will be no home comforts for Ballynahinch as they seek an incredible fourth First Trust Senior Cup in succession.

The County Down side, who have already beaten Harlequins at Deramore and Bangor at Upritchard Park to make the semi-finals, are on the road again after yesterday's last four draw and will play Ballymena at Eaton Park next month.

The back-to-back-to-back winners, now under the guidance of former Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin, are looking to become the first side to win four consecutive titles in over a century, but injured skipper James Simpson believes they are still some way off history.

"Every year this is very competitive," he said. "It's about being consistent because there are so many good teams in it.

"Ballymena are always very difficult, especially going away, but we'll be looking forward to it.

"It's going well for us with the new coaching structure. It was a very tough game against Bangor but, it's been so far so good."

The other two sides looking to book their place in the December showpiece at Kingspan Stadium are City of Armagh and Malone.

The two sides, both going well in All-Ireland League 2A this season, will actually meet at Gibson Park a fortnight before renewing acquaintances at the Palace Grounds for the semi.

Having won the SONI Premiership last season, City of Armagh would be a first time finalist in this competition should they defeat the Cregagh Red Sox in their tie.

First Trust Senior Cup Draw (ties to be played on or before November 18): City of Armagh v Malone, Ballymena v Ballynahinch.

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