Dunbarton get ready to face old rivals in Irish Senior Cup semi-final

Dunbarton are hoping they can repeat their 2012 Irish Senior Cup victory. First, they must overcome Belmont in the semi final on Saturday.  Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Ey
Dunbarton are hoping they can repeat their 2012 Irish Senior Cup victory. First, they must overcome Belmont in the semi final on Saturday. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Ey

Next weekend sees the gargantuan clash of two of the top teams in Ireland when the Dunbarton A team face old rivals Belmont in the semi final of the Irish Senior Cup on Saturday at Pickie Bowling Club in Bangor.

On paper, this should be a cracking encounter as both teams on their day are as good as there is in the country and there surely will be no shortage of quality on show as the teams battle to reach the showpiece final.

With Dunbarton top of Private Greens Senior Division One and Belmont their closest rivals in second, this has all the ingredients to be a classic.

Earlier this season, the Gilford side defeated their East Belfast opponents comfortably in Gilford in the Private Greens league, gaining 5.5 points and only lost the other 1.5 points on the last bowls of two rinks.

However, after the holiday break, the men from the capital city got their own back with a thumping 7-0 victory on their own green as Dunbarton undoubtedly put in their worst performance of the season.

This game will be hard to call as Belmont will be in confident mood having defeated Dunbarton well in their last encounter whilst the Gilford side will also be in buoyant mood after cementing their place on top of Division One in recent weeks.

The last time these two teams met in the Irish Senior Cup was at the same stage two years ago and it was the Gilford bowlers who emerged victorious by 11 shots and then went on to lift the much coveted trophy by defeating Ballymoney in the final.

Hopefully for Dunbarton, this is a good omen, especially as they have already disposed of Ballymoney en route to the semi final this year. Lying in wait in the final will be another Private Greens Division One team Old Bleach, who can be a very dangerous side on their day.

Amazingly, Dunbarton have yet to play Old Bleach this season as two of their four remaining league games are against the Randalstown side. But the Gilford men will not be thinking about the final as they know they will have to overcome a very tough hurdle to get there in the first place. The game kicks off at 2pm this Saturday.