Ballyclare High’s First XV is back in Schools’ Cup action this weekend, making the trip to Coleraine Inst for a quarter-final showdown, writes John Gillespie.
The High School left a large support waiting until the final kick of the game in their last outing - a hard-fought 10-9 victory over 2010 winners Ballymena Academy at Hollinger Park.
Matthew McDowell’s last-gasp conversion, reward for Ross Johnston’s try, was all that separated the two sides and Ballyclare lads will know they will have to be at their very best to get any change from the Bannsiders come Saturday morning.
The Coleraine lads made short work of Regent House in the last round, easing to a 41-0 success on their own patch and they enjoyed a comfortable 29-6 win over Ballymena Academy when the two sides met in November.
Having the security of playing in their own backyard may give Coleraine a slight edge, but it certainly doesn’t mean they are home and dry.
However, under the guidance of Mike McKeever, Ballyclare can’t afford to let themselves be phased by the fact they find themselves in unfamiliar territory.
The carrot dangling right in front of them is yet another trip to Ravenhill and a place in the last four. What a magnificent achievement that would be for a young side which has been quietly gaining momentum all season.
Danske Bank Schools’ Cup quarter-finals: RBAI v MCB; Coleraine Inst v Ballyclare High; Down High v Sullivan Upper; Campbell College v Wallace HS.