Ravenhill, 3pm, Live BBC NI
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.