Our Schools Cup expert Nathan Surgenor has a look at the runners and riders in the third round of the Danske Bank Schools Cup.
It wasn’t a clean sweep in round 2 for myself (unlike some of you clever people!) but not a bad one as I did manage to get more right than wrong. Hoping to improve upon my performance, here are my predictions for round 3 – read at your own risk:
BRA v Carrickfergus GS
The Belfast side had a very up-and-down to the start of the season but have settled in recent weeks with some good results. Carrick had a good win against Lurgan in round 2, but I reckon BRA just might be too strong for them in round especially as BRA will have home support behind them.
MY PICK: BRA
Coleraine AI v Omagh Academy
This is a draw which either team would have hoped to have avoided given that they are only place apart in the current rankings (15th an 16th respectively). They did meet early in the season when Omagh claimed the victory, but this time around Coleraine may just take as they have played more warm-up games recently and Omagh appear to be going through a bad patch, recently losing to Regent in a game they would have won easily earlier in the season.
MY PICK: COLERAINE AI
Foyle College v Down HS
Down HS are another side whose form was better towards the start of the season that what it is now. Despite this, they probably still hold an advantage over Foyle College as the L’Derry side have had considerable defeats against other round 3 teams such as Bangor GS and Coleraine AI.
MY PICK: DOWN HS
Friends’ SL v Limavady GS
Limavady GS are a side who probably just missed out on entering at the fourth round rather than the third. Friends’ were fortunate to get one of the easier draws in round 2 and even then only just made it through. Anything other than an away win would be a major shock in this fixture.
MY PICK: LIMAVADY GS
Grosvenor GS v Dalriada
Dalriada are the lowest ranked side to enter the Cup (i.e. this is their first competitive fixture) at this stage with two 2nd round entrants, Belfast HS and Foyle College, currently ranked above them. Grosvenor have had a lukewarm season at best, but often they haven’t been from away from grabbing a result, so I reckon they’ll take this one and advance to round 4.
MY PICK: GROSVENOR GS
Portadown College v Bangor GS
Is this the most difficult fixture of the round? The current rankings would seem to suggest so as 14th and 13th respectively have been drawn against one another. Bangor won this friendly fixture earlier in the season, and some recent narrow defeats against Wallace HS and RBAI suggest their form is even better.
MY PICK: BANGOR GS
Regent House v Rainey ES
By mid-October, Rainey were still undefeated after their fifth win; Regent had to wait until January for only their second. However, it seems the Newtownards team hit form at the right time, defeating Larne GS in round 1, although many would argue they were the easiest opponent of round 2. Despite all this, Rainey are likely to be too strong for Regent even if they have a poor day.
MY PICK: RAINEY ES
RS Dungannon v Belfast HS
With this draw, we are guaranteed a team from round 2 to progress into round 4. With Belfast being the strongest side from round 2 they will very much be fancied as victors, and rightly so, given draws against Bangor GS and Ballymena Academy during the season. Dungannon will struggle to get a win in this fixture considering they’ve struggled against weaker sides this season.
MY PICK: BELFAST HS