Academy aim for Schools’ Cup final place this afternoon

Marcus Rea leads Ballymena Academy into today's Danse Bank Schools' Cup semi-final against RBAI at the Kingspan Stadium. Picture: Press Eye.
Marcus Rea leads Ballymena Academy into today's Danse Bank Schools' Cup semi-final against RBAI at the Kingspan Stadium. Picture: Press Eye.

John Andrews insists that his Ballymena Academy players are not ready to have their Danske Bank Schools Cup adventure come to an end.

The Galgorm Road boys take on holders RBAI in the first of this season’s competition’s semi-finals at the Kingspan Stadium this afternoon (Monday, 2.30pm).

And on a calendar date that only occurs once every four years, Andrews hopes his side can make it a day to remember as they bid claim a return to the St Patrick’s Day final for the first time since winning the trophy in 2010.

“A lot of people would say that, on paper, Campbell, Inst and ourselves would be the top three sides so it’s going to be a really eagerly-awaited clash between ourselves and RBAI,” Andrews told Times Sport.

“We played them back in September but both sides were missing their Ulster Schools representatives on that occasion so that game is unlikely to have much of a bearing on who will play in the semi-final.”

Ballymena Academy have yet to concede a try in their two outings in this season’s tournament and Andrews insists: “We are proud of our defensive strength because that is very often the basis for any successful school side.

“We’re also reaping the benefits of the work being done by our strength and conditioning team within the school.

“One of our targets at the start of the season was to reach at least the semi-final but now the boys have got this far, they have no intention of bowing out at this stage,” added Andrews.