I’m afraid we got just too relaxed there over the weekend and forgot to get our Schools Cup preview ready for yesterday. So after our impromptu holiday we are back with our noses to the grindstone and here’s the stats on the four teams that are left to fight it out for the Ulster Schools Cup.
Campbell College Belfast (5) v Methodist College (2)
Tuesday 6th March, 14:30
|Campbell College 7 – 28 RS Armagh||Methodist College 14 – 10 Campbell College|
|Campbell College 50 – 0 Dalriada||Coleraine Grammar 3 – 38 Methodist College|
|Campbell College 14 – 10 Ballymena Academy||Methodist College 58 – 12 Bangor Grammar|
Everything points towards Methody in today’s semi final. Ranked 2nd in the Front Row Union Ulster Schools Rankings with a 90% win ratio and they look to be in a rich vein of form. On top of that they have a recent win against today’s opponents.
However, Methody have had the least challenging route to the semi finals with both their cup opponents outside the Top 10 in our Rankings. Campbell, on the other hand, have challenged themselves throughout the season and, while they haven’t always got the wins, their defeats have been close and they have shown that they can win ugly, their quarter final against Ballymena being a case in point.
Neither side will have problems playing at Ravenhill but the cold, damp and heavy underfoot conditions are more likely to suit Campbell. My feeling is that it’s a year too early for Methody and Campbell will progress to the final.
Royal Belfast Academical Institution (1) v Royal School Armagh (4)
Wednesday 7th March, 14:30
|Bangor Grammar 0 – 19 RBAI||Campbell College 7 – 28 RS Armagh|
|RBAI 17 – 0 Ballyclare High||Cambridge House 0 – 45 RS Armagh|
|RBAI 29 – 3 Sullivan Upper||Wallace High School 14 – 22 RS Armagh|
Wednesday’s semi final pitches 1st against 4th in the Ulster Schools Rankings and everything points towards RBAI making their fourth successive final appearance as they defend their 100% win record this season. They have challenge themselves against the best of the rest throughout the season and, without exception, they have come out on top.
However, Armagh have the look of a team on a mission. They remind me of the wonderful Ballymena side of 2010 and they have a list of impressive results behind them. Their quarter final against Wallace was decidedly more one sided than the scoreline suggests – and that was a match we were expecting them to lose.
Ravenhill is a second home for the RBAI boys and a lot will depend on how Armagh respond to the occasion but there are plenty of ways that I can see the Orchard County side getting a result. Their recent form is probably the best of all four finalists.
I’d have liked to have seen Armagh have a hit out at Ravenhill before meeting RBAI, this would have been my choice for the final, but I think this will be a game too early for Armagh and the Belfast giants are expected to progress.