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RBAI coach chases winning double

By Ronnie Ingram

RBAI coach Richard Hedley will be hoping to complete a winning double this afternoon after coaching Portadown to the Qualifying 1 title on Saturday.

Today, his school will be focus of his attention when they meet Ballyclare High at Ravenhill in the semi final of the Danske Bank Schools Cup (2.30pm).

Inst have had two straightforward victories, 22-10 against Regent House and 41-10 over Limavady Grammar but it has been more difficult road for their opponents who, after a 33-5 success at Down High, struggled to a 12-10 win against Sullivan Upper.

The Belfast school, who last won the Cup six seasons ago have a free flowing back line with Rory Campbell, Rory Bell, John McClure and Nathan Bell while they have experienced forwards Paddy Anderson and Andrew Magrath lead by inspiring captain in Josh Atkinson.

"It will be tough. I know we have already narrowly beaten them twice but that was early in the season," said coach Hedley.

"They have a solid pack and plenty of pace behind but this is the Cup and it's at Ravenhill so it will depend which team plays better on the day."

Ballyclare's one and only cup win was in 1973 but under coach Daniel Soper they have reached a couple of semi finals and were defeated finalists last year to Methody.

They have formidable pack with captain Jonny Darling, scorer of three first half tries at Down High, much in evidence and he will be ably assisted up front by Michael Kirkwood, Paddy Reid, David Allen and Jordan McKinstry.

They also have an experienced half-back pairing in their kicker Jack Irvine and Andrew Eastrop.

Daniel Soper knows his team will give their all. "We were rather fortunate to eliminate Sullivan as they had plenty of chances and didn't take any while we took advantage of the two that came our way. We have put in a lot of work since and hope to cause Inst some problems," said Soper.

Meanwhile, it will be Campbell College v Wallace High in the Danske Bank Medallion Shield final at Ravenhill next Monday after the Belmont team recorded a 25-11 win over RBAI at Shaw's Bridge and Wallace High were too strong for Coleraine Inst 11-0.

Belfast Telegraph

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