Banbridge U19s sealed their place in Wednesday’s Nutty Krust Cup semi-final with a low-scoring victory over Ballynahinch last week.
In wet and windy conditions, there were only two penalties scored over the whole game, both of those kicked by Bann’s Aaron Kennedy to seal a 6-0 victory and maintain their hopes of retaining the trophy.
“It was a tough one,” said Coach Marc Eadie.
“We had already beaten Ballynahinch twice earlier in the season but each team is allowed to bring in three school players for that competition. We used the chance to blood three of our U17s players but other teams bring in the school players. It was a very, very hard game.
“It was played in tough conditions and there were a lot of dropped balls from both teams but in the end, Aaron scored the two penalties which were enough to win the game.”
Banbridge now play both semi-finals this week, first coming up against Dungannon on Wednesday before facing Portadown on Saturday.
“We’ll have a hard couple of games,” said Eadie. “We’ll take things one game at a time. This year’s team is mostly the same as last year so they have more experience now. We just don’t know what’s going to happen on the day though. Dungannon apparently have two or three players from New Zealand but we don’t know.”
If they won both of those games, Bann would play in the Nutty Krust final on Wednesday 30 April before the Roland Barr final on Sunday 11 May.
It would be the fourth successive double season for this talented group, who have cleaned up in almost every competition they’ve played together.
Eadie revealed: “This team has already won the league and Cup double two years in a row at U17 level and now they’re aiming to win both Cups two years in a row for the U19s. For the majority of the team, this will be their last year at U19 level. Three of them played for the first team last Saturday so Daniel (Soper) is already starting to bring them in.
“I don’t know if they’ll all make first XV players but we give them a chance.”