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Loane relishing 'Old Firm' showpiece at Kingspan

By Jonathan Bradley

Methody captain Matty Loane is relishing the prospect of taking on old rivals RBAI in the Danske Bank Schools' Cup final on St Patrick's Day.

Methody, the competition's most successful side, will be gunning for a first title since 2014 after overcoming Belfast Royal Academy by a score of 37-21 in the semi-finals at Kingspan Stadium yesterday afternoon.

In front of a sizeable crowd, Methody ran in six tries at the home of Ulster Rugby and will be out to derail Inst's bid for three titles in a row on March 17.

"It's the Old Firm of the Schools' Cup so that's what you want," said Loane. "That's what you look forward to and remember.

"There's nothing better than the feeling of a Schools' Cup final. To get there with a few tries is class and we're really excited now."

Inst will no doubt be favourites for the clash, but Loane does not believe such tags are important at this stage.

"We know ourselves, there's a lot of talk about underdogs but we don't believe in any of that," he said. "We just focus on ourselves. We're confident we can do the job on the day.

"We played them before and they beat us by a reasonable margin. We know what we need to focus on. We know the areas of the game to work on.

"We've had an up and down season but that never stops a team like us. We're always looking to improve."

The Methody star was hat-trick hero Paul Kerr, even if the centre was quick to deflect attention after the final whistle.

"It's always nice to score but winning is always the most important thing," he said.

"It was all my team-mates, I just got on the end of them, but it's great to be in the final."

BRA coach David Creighton admitted that Methody were more clinical on the day.

"We found certain aspects of Methody's game difficult to deal with," he said.

"We knew that would be the case. I thought they were very effective with the ball and looked after it very well.

"We could learn something from that.

"We worked hard on a few things that just didn't come off.

"But full credit to Methody, they are an established Schools' Cup side, they know what they're doing.

"They were very clinical but we're very disappointed with how that turned out."

Even in defeat, Creighton hopes the large number of younger pupils in the crowd saw something to aspire to.

"I suppose as a school on the whole, it was great for our junior students to witness that and see the fantastic support," he added.

"There's been a real buzz about the school and this is exactly what we want them to see they can achieve."

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