Ballyclare will face Omagh in the semi-finals of the Junior Cup thanks to a 21-15 victory over Belfast Harlequins II at The Cloughan.
The draw for the last four of the competition was made at the Kingspan Stadium on Monday and now Ballyclare will be hoping to reach the final for the second year in a row.
“We’re happy to be a home and we weren’t overly concerned who we played. At home, we’d fancy ourselves against anybody,” Ballyclare skipper Robert Boyd told the Times’ sister paper, the News Letter.
“In the Junior Cup final we lost out to Ballynahinch II so we felt there is maybe a bit of unfinished business getting so close last year and coming up short and the boys are very determined to put that right this year.”
Ballyclare registered their first score against ‘Quins after five minutes. Progressing deep inside the ‘Quins 22, the ball was popped to the charging Al Boyd who couldn’t be stopped. Gareth Byers’ kick increased the lead to 7-0.
Ballyclare continued to attack but an intercepted pass from in their own half allowed a ‘Quins centre to run in a try under the posts. The straightforward conversion brought them level at 7-7.
Byers added two further penalties and ‘Quins, one, to leave the half-time score at 13-10 to Ballyclare.
Twenty minutes in to the second session, Kris James supplied Robert Smith, who hit the line at pace crossing for his side’s second try. The conversion, from a wide angle, was missed.
Harlequins then added a well-worked score of their own, ensuring a nervous final 15 minutes for the home support.
Those nerves were eased when another Byers penalty brought the final score to 21-15.
Ballyclare: Robert Smith, Gareth Byers, David Clarke, David Crawford, Michael Kirk, Kris James, Colin Morrow; David Lawther, Andrew Wylie, Al Boyd, Robert Boyd, Graeme McKinstry, Jordan McKinstry, Gary Weatherup, David Chambers. Replacements: Willie Logan, Jordan Brownlee. Man of the Match: David Chambers.
The Thirds lost 31-0 to Ballymoney and the Fourths won 48-7 at Grosvenor III.