The Danske Bank Schools’ Cup gets into full swing this weekend as three East Antrim schools prepare to battle it out for a coveted place in round three of the competition.
And while Larne Grammar, Belfast High and Carrickfergus Grammar may not be favourites to make it all the way to the St Patrick’s Day showpiece at Ravenhill, they each go into Saturday morning’s matches determined to progress as far as they possibly can in the famous old tournament.
It may have slipped under the radar in some quarters, but this year’s competition got under way before Christmas with Larne Grammar’s first XV negotiating their way past Cambridge House in a preliminary round. Their prize is a tricky trip to Newtownards to lock horns with Regent House.
Belfast High School will be on home turf against Banbridge Academy, while Carrickfergus Grammar welcome Lurgan College.
Last year’s beaten finalists, Ballyclare High School - one of eight seeded teams - enter the fray in the fourth round next month.
Round two draw: Royal School Dungannon v Wellington College; Belfast High School v Banbridge Academy; Foyle & Londonderry College v Portora Royal School; Carrickfergus Grammar School v Lurgan College; Antrim Grammar School v Friends’ School, Lisburn; Regent House School v Larne Grammar School.
The winning teams from the second-round matches will be joined by 10 teams in round three. Those games are scheduled to be played on January 26.