There are eight ties down for decision this Saturday in the second round of the Millar McCall Wylie solicitors Junior Cup. All games kick off at 2.30pm.
Two ties immediately catch the eye. Ballyclare face Armagh 2nds, and Ballynahinch 2nds host Instonians. All four teams have four wins from four so something will have to give on Saturday. There is one game missing on the Ulster Branch Fixtures List with Carrick travelling to Enniskillen to complete the round.
Ballyclare came through a tough test last Saturday in Coleraine to stay one point clear of Instonians in Rugby Championship One. The Cloughan is a tough venue to go and get something but Armagh are riding the crest of a wave at the minute and seem to be improving as the weeks progress. This one will surely draw a huge crowd to the Doagh venue with the homeside to scrape into the quarter finals with no more than a score to spare.
At Ballymacarn Park another unbeaten start to the season will be lost as Ballynahinch 2nds welcome Instonians. As ever the Hinch’s second string side have been putting up some big scores in seeing off sides in Conference One with some ease. Cooke put up a modest fight but still came second best by sixteen points. Instonians had a stuttering start to the season and a late fight back on the opening day saw them just about see off Coleraine. But they had their best performance of the season last week when they went to Enniskillen and ran in nine tries in a 51-5 win. The South Belfast side should give a good account of themselves but it’s hard to see beyond a home win in this one and the holders should take place in the quarter-finals.
Clogher Valley just love a good old cup run. Be it Junior, Towns or the All-Ireland the Fivemiletown outfit have always been difficult to handle in knock out rugby. It’s been a tough season for the Tyrone Men as transition starts to take effect and the loss of many a seasoned campaigner takes effect. Last week the shipped 86 points at home to Ballynahinch 2nds. Coleraine have settled well to life back in Junior rugby’s top tier and have already accounted for Clogher 24-12 in Coleraine a few weeeks ago. Expect Richard Boyd’s chargers to get a second win against the South Tyrone side this weekend.
Cooke have made a promising start to the season in Championship One, only Ballyclare and Ballynahinch 2nds getting the better of the Shaws Bridge side. Banbridge 2nds currently sit mid table in Conference Two and had a fine 34-7 win over Randalstown last week. Despite this confidence boast, Cooke should still have too much for the County Down Men and get their cup run going for another round at least.
Going by the form book you would think Ballymoney should be too strong for Limavady at the John Hunter Memorial Grounds. A 100% record is what the North Antrim Men boast coming up to the last weekend of September while the Roesiders struggle for form. Down the years form has mattered for nothing in this fixture as a tense local rivalry sees both sides just at each other no holds barred for eighty minutes. There should be a big crowd for this one on the banks of the River Roe where the away sides better form may just see them sneak into the quarter-finals.
Grosvenor’s 100% start to the season came to an end last week when they lost to Malone 2nds, their cup opponents this week. The Cregagh Road second string came out on top on a 22-18 scoreline and seem to have started the season quite well, but with more on offer this week, Grosvenor may just gain some revenge and get their own back for toast weeks reverse.
At Chambers Park Portadown will host Ards. A few years ago this would’ve been a Senior Cup tie but times have changed as both sides occupy lowly berths in their respective leagues. Despite not having recorded any league wins yet this season, Portadown should advance to the quarter-finals on 21st October.
Carrick recorded a 33 – 3 win at home to Enniskillen a couple of weeks ago and though it will be a much closer game at Mullaghmeen we still expect East Antrim’s third best club to progress. 🙂
To recap, the seven winners to join Carrick in the quarter-finals will be Ballyclare, Ballynahinch 2nds, Coleraine, Cooke, Ballymoney, Grosvenor and Portadown.