Campbell eager to end Methody jinx
Methodist College may have eliminated Campbell College from the Danske Bank Schools' Cup three times in the past four seasons, but the roles could well be reversed when they meet again tomorrow in the quarter-finals at Fox's Field.
Methody have no fear of travelling to Belmont as it was at that venue that they won in the last-eight in 2013 (12-0) and 2015 (20-14).
Their other triumph over Campbell was an 18-8 success in the 2012 semi-final so the Pirrie Park team - who clinched the title in 2012, '13 and '14 - have a much better recent Cup record than their rivals, who last won in 2011 after a gap of nine years.
This is perhaps not a vintage Methody team as a number of defeats mean they are not one of the highest-ranked sides in Northern Ireland.
Campbell, on the other hand, are the top team in the province with only one loss so far this season (17-13 to Coleraine Academy).
Nevertheless, Methody coach Nicky Wells, with all his experience in steering his team to those successes, will have devised some plan to attempt to upset the odds and gain revenge for the earlier 19-0 defeat in December.
Up front, Campbell should win more line-out ball against their smaller opponents and they could also have the edge in the back row.
Their backs have the ability to use possession efficiently as they proved in the quarter-final against Friends, although the 49-7 scoreline was rather flattering.
While they had an easy game, Methody found the going tough in their 15-0 victory over a gallant Rainey at Pirrie Park.
All their tries came from catch and drives so it looks like it will be a forward battle at Fox's Field. Methody have been improving with every outing and have learned much after encountering teams from outside the province.
One's brain would say a win for Campbell but what about the Cup tradition and fighting spirit of Methody and, of course, the shrewd work that Wells has been putting in? It's certainly all to play for tomorrow.
CAMPBELL COLLEGE: Matthew Russell, James Boyle, Tom O'Toole, Marcus Collin, James Nelson, Matt Crowther, John Crowther, Jack Barry Glendinning, John McKee, Jamie Clarke, Josh Chambers, Jamie McCartney, Tom Brady, Matty Robinson, Malcolm Corry, Paddy Beverland, Ben Webb, Nicolai Koplesky , Oscar Yardell, Justin Savage.
METHODIST COLLEGE: Aaron Kilpatrick, Alex Cairns, Alex Suarez, Josh Martin, Oliver Cairns, Ted McCartney, Patrick Hall, Connor Fletcher, Thomas Gallagher, Hugh Gibbons, Owen Winters, Zach Jordan, Cameron Kelly, Matty Loane, Nathan Simms, Johnny Jordan, Ben Sterritt, Paul Kerr, Louis Lowry, Josh Jordan, Lewis Loane, James McConnell, Ben Martin, Kane Doherty, Owen Frew.