RUGBY: Ballymena to face Armagh in Senior Cup final

Tuesday 17th October 2017 | First Trust Ulster Senior Cup  Armagh RFC captain Ali Birch and Ballymena RFC captain Roger McBurney pictured after the semi-final draw which took place at Kingspan Stadium, Ravenhill Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Photo by John Dickson/DICKSONDIGITAL
Tuesday 17th October 2017 | First Trust Ulster Senior Cup Armagh RFC captain Ali Birch and Ballymena RFC captain Roger McBurney pictured after the semi-final draw which took place at Kingspan Stadium, Ravenhill Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Photo by John Dickson/DICKSONDIGITAL

Coach Andy Graham wants to lead Ballymena to a 15th Ulster First Trust Ulster Senior Cup as they meet Armagh in Tuesday final at Kingspan Stadium.

Graham has experienced both emotions in finals winning it four times as a player and losing as a coach two years ago.

“We were there two years ago and lost to Ballynahinch so we want to try and win it,” said Graham.

“A lot of our players have won it previously on a number of occasions but it has been five years since we won it.

“It is something we want to do and to get a trophy would be a real lift given the All Ireland League form hasn’t been great,” said Graham.

“It is a big carrot playing at Kingspan, even thinking back to two years ago I thought guys had played there before but we were actually nervous during the warm up, so it means a lot to the club player and don’t underestimate it means a lot to them to run out at Kingspan and play on the pitch.”

Graham wants the pack to set the platform for victory.

“Even last week with the changes we dominated Belvo up front and that is certainly what we’ll be trying to do against Armagh and there are not many sides that we don’t dominate up front.

“We’ll be trying to use that but we have to try and play a bit for our backs as well there is no point boring in with the forwards if you create space you need to finish it off.

“Looking strong up front young prop Houston Bonnar came in last week and was good playing for 70 minutes and there are a lot of things pointing in the right direction.”

Armagh are the SONI Ulster Premiership champions a trophy they clinched at Eaton Park last season.

“We were the league champions the year before and they beat us last year so this is our chance to get one over them, they have beaten us earlier in the season.

“There isn’t much between the sides. It will be a tight affair but everyone is looking forward to the challenge.”

both sides and I don’t think there is any clear favourite.

“Its nice for Armagh and it’s a big thing for them as they have never won the cup before and it will be a big day for them.”