Methody favourites

Raven­hill, 3pm, Live BBC NI

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Sports News - GAVIN CUM­MISKEY

THE SMART money, as ever, is firmly be­hind Methodist Col­lege to­day. The Malone Road col­lege would con­sider three years with­out an Ul­ster schools ti­tle a famine and are ex­pected to win this com­pe­ti­tion for the 33rd time in this their 60th final ap­pear­ance.

That they beat the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Camp­bell Col­lege, 18-8, at the semi-final stage with a pow­er­ful dis­play from the for­wards lends weight to the tag of favourites.

Bal­ly­clare High School’s s record can­not re­ally be com­pared.

On their soli­tary ap­pear­ance in a se­nior final, back in 1973, they did beat Royal Belfast Aca­dem­i­cal In­sti­tu­tion 13-8 but have not been able to shake the old or­der since.

They can boast for­mer Ire­land lock Gary Long­well, cur­rently in charge of the Ul­ster Academy, but Methody’s re­sponse to that would be Lions sec­ondrow Jeremy David­son.

That Matt Dailly re­turns to the Bal­ly­clare pack af­ter a leg in­jury is en­cour­ag­ing and they did prove their qual­ity in the semi-final de­feat of Wal­lace High School.

Gary Bart­ley will lead a com­pet­i­tive side out at Raven­hill to­day but Methody have the for­wards to lay the plat­form for vic­tory, start­ing with the all-ac­tion, ro­bust fron­trow of Mark La­gan, Oliver Mcgoldrick and James Har­ri­son.

Once the early col­li­sions set­tle, the ex­pec­ta­tion is that Methody will un­leash their back-three speed mer­chants – El­liott Mooney, Ru­dolph Be­nade and Pa­trick Col­houn – to se­cure their first ti­tle since 2009.

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