Ballyclare aiming to exorcise their Shield ghosts
Ballyclare High are gunning for revenge this afternoon in the Danske Bank Subsidiary Shield final against Down High, who defeated them 19-13 in last year's decider.
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This year's showpiece was postponed due to the bad weather last week and it will now be played at Pirrie Park (2.30pm).
Ballyclare coach Mike Orchin-McKeever wasn't too upset with the delay as it gave his players an extra week to recover after their energy-absorbing 15-12 semi-final win at Dalriada.
"We are very excited about this tie and will be at full strength. We haven't met Down High yet this season but know what to expect. We will focus on our own game and hope that all the hard work will pay dividends," he said.
"In the pack, James Nelson and Josh Young are very strong ball carriers, while Adam Campbell has made a name for himself at the breakdown.
"Jack Gamble is in fifth form and is sure to be one to watch in future years. Josh Cowan, Ross Herron and Ross Patterson offer great attacking threats while Adam Clarke controls the game at fly-half.
"It's a fitting end to the season for our upper sixth boys and it would be pleasing if they signed off with a trophy and a medal."
Down High will have second-row forward Callum Dunn back in action after he missed the 41-7 semi-final win over Coleraine Grammar through illness.
The upper sixth pupil will boost morale as they aim to retain the trophy for the first time.
Charlie Knox, the master in charge of rugby, said: "We first won the Shield in 1974 so the boys are determined to create history. We have quite a few back from last year's final and hopefully that experience will be of great benefit."
Meanwhile, Kingspan Stadium will be the venue for two finals this afternoon.
The Girls' Schools' Cup Sevens final between Monaghan Collegiate and Enniskillen Royal will be at 12pm, followed by Ballyclare Secondary and Ballynahinch High contesting the High Schools' final at 2.30pm.