Two Senior sides clash in this years Millar McCall Wylie Junior Cup Final as the second strings of Ballynahinch and Armagh go head to head at the Kingspan Stadium this Thursday. Kick off 7.30pm.
This is the second occasion that the two sides have crossed paths at this stage of the competition. Back in the 2010/11 final Hinch got the better of Armagh in a 22-10 scoreline, but that was against the Cathedral City’s first XV during a time when they were out of senior rugby.
It will also be Ballynahinch’s tenth appearance in a final and they have only ever lost one. Clogher Valley getting the better of them in the 2012/13 final by just one point. Hinch are no stranger to the big occasion at the Kingspan and are the current holders of the cup after last years 17-3 win over Omagh.
Armagh have also claimed the Junior Cup eight times. Their last win was in 2009/10 when they edged out Limavady 12-3.
Both sides have had their work cut out to get the final stage.
In Round Two they both accounted for the top two side in Qualifying Rugby. Armagh edged Ballyclare in a, 40 – 34, try fest while Ballynahinch need a last minute drop goal to see off Instonians 22-19.
Their semi-finals were tighter more bruising encounters. Armagh avoided a cup upset against the competition’s surprise packets Ballymoney to win 17-7 at Kilraughts while Hinch needed a late try to see off Malone 2nds 15-14.
There has been little to separate these two sides as the season approaches the halfway point.
Armagh sit top of Conference one having only suffered one reverse all season. That loss was to second place Ballynahinch on the 2nd December. Hinch coming out on top 17-10 that day at Ballymacarn Park.
Hinch did go down to a surprise defeat to Carrick last Saturday while Armagh’s game with Ballyclare was postponed due to an unplayable pitch.
Coming into the game a little bit fresher may help Armagh’s cause, but with the squad that Ballynahinch have at their disposal, added to their big game experience, it will be the two in a row for the County Down outfit, but only just.
Paths To The Final
|Armagh II 45 – 0 PSNI||Larne 28 – 32 Ballynahinch II 32|
|Ballyclare 34 – 40 Armagh II||Ballynahinch II 22 – 19 Instonians|
|Armagh II 27 – 5 Coleraine||Ballynahinch II 30 – 7 Enniskillen|
|Ballymoney 7 – 17 Armagh II||Ballynahinch II 15 – 14 Malone|