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Experienced Dalriada are keen to fulfil potential, says coach Rab Gregg

Striding forward: Luke Pollock will be out to inspire Dalriada
Striding forward: Luke Pollock will be out to inspire Dalriada

By Ronnie Ingram

Dalriada School face Coleraine Grammar tomorrow in a derby cracker in the Danske Bank Schools' Cup.

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Although the Ballymoney outfit have a better record this season, the trip to Ballycairn Road will be difficult.

Coach Rab Gregg feels his team have made steady progress so far.

"We are fortunate to have the coaching services of former Irish international Bryan Young, who has instilled a lot of confidence in the squad," he said.

"There are 11 Upper Sixth boys included so it is one of the oldest and experienced teams the school has fielded for many years.

"Three have played for Ulster Schools and our captain Paddy Carson is used to pressure having played representative and senior league cricket. Our hopes are high that we can do ourselves justice and reach our full potential."

Coleraine head coach Richard Boyd knows it will be tough but is pleased with the home draw.

"We have performed well at home and hopefully a lot of spectators will turn up to give us encouragement," he said.

"The squad have been competitive this season and pushed a number of the top sides all the way. I feel on occasions results haven't been a fair reflection of the effort and performances put in by the players but we have developed into a really tough side and played some excellent rugby.

"The boys have trained hard and should go into the competition with no fear and embrace the pressure of Cup rugby.

"We know Dalriada will be well prepared and motivated. They have a well organised set-piece and their backline has pace.

"Thankfully we have no injury problems and with the help of coach Benjy van der Byl, who spent 16 years at Dalriada before joining us this season, we can progress."

Coleraine have a number of key players with big No.8 David Brown a former Limavady Grammar player, a strong ball carrier and line-out option.

He was a member of the Ulster Schools squad last season, as was captain and tighthead prop Oscar Egan who was also involved in the Irish Schools training camp.

They also have a formidable and experienced back-line. Their top points scorer is inside centre Pierce Crowe, who has moved from out-half.

On the wing, Conor Potts, an Irish athletics sprinter, is very fast and a solid finisher who has scored the most tries. Marcus Poskitt, an Irish Schools cricketer, is an attacking full-back and safe under the high ball.

They have the Wallace twins Cameron (scrum-half) and Callum (wing) and the squad have been strengthened by the return of Daniel McConaghie following a broken cheekbone.

Openside flanker Shaw Fleck, meanwhile, will be playing against his brother Jacob, who is in the opposing centre.

Although the schools are only eight miles apart, they haven't met for a number of seasons so the scene is set for what should be a memorable contest.

Schools' Cup: Belfast Royal Academy v Belfast High, Friends v Ballyclare High, Regent House v Bangor Grammar, Omagh Academy v Down High, Coleraine Grammar v Dalriada School, Lurgan College v Cambridge House, Rainey Endowed v Portadown College, RS Dungannon v Larne Grammar.

Schools' Trophy: Dromore High School v Carrickfergus Grammar, Limavady Grammar v Grosvenor Grammar, Foyle College v Banbridge Academy, Strabane Academy v Wellington College.

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