The Millar McCall Wylie Ulster Junior Cup semi finals take place this Saturday with both matches kicking off at 2:30 pm.
Grosvenor v Ballynahinch II (Gibson Park)
It’ll be a busy day at Gibson Park with Malone 1st XV entertaining Naas in AIL !B and Grosvenor hosting Ballynahinch in this Junior Cup Semi Final.
Grosvenor will be glad that Ballynahinch 1st XV will be involved in AIL1B action against their rivals Banbridge and the Junior club will be going into this game with the expectations of a win. However, their previous opposition in this competition have been Championship 2 sides, Randalstown and Larne, and their current Conference form has gone off the boil slightly, after an impressive start, with three wins from their last five outings.
Defending champions, Ballynahinch II, had a comfortable win against Championship 1 opposition, Cooke, in their first round and recorded a narrow win against Championship 2 side, Limavady in the quarterfinals. They picked up a bit of form after a poor start to their Conference campaign but at the moment they are also sitting with three wins from their last five outing in the league.
So we’ve two sides in similar form and it’s all going to depend on the player availability on the day. Grosvenor should just about have the edge here if Stuart McIlwaine is available, but you can’t underestimate Hinch’s ability to raise their game for the Cup and I really am wavering from team to team as I write this.
However, settling on a decision, I’ll go with Grosvenor for the win in what will be our featured game in this competition.
Dromore v Malone II (Barban Hill)
I’ve been mighty impressed with Dromore on the few times I’ve caught up with them this season. Their only defeat in the Championship happened in the committee rooms and their only defeat in the Conference was at the hands of Armagh II. In this competition they pulled of a notable win against Ballyclare and beat Portadown in the quarter final scoring 48 points in each match. Their current form is four wins from five, that defeat by Armagh being their only recent reversal.
Malone II are the only side to go into the semifinals unbeaten in the last five, though those wins have been in Conference 2. In this competition they pulled out a surprisingly large win away to Instonians before edging through against Lisburn in a home quarter final tie.
I’ve Dromore down for strong favourites in this one, especially with their visitors resources stretched in that busy day at Gibson Park.