First Trust Senior Cup Quarter Finals Preview by George Millar

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The focus of the Ulster AIL clubs maybe on the resumption of the AIL league on the 1st Nov. For eight of the teams the prospect of making a Cup final at The Kingspan stadium on wed 10th December 2014 starts this week with four cracking quarter finals down for decision. European rugby has dictated that these games had to be brought forward from this weekend. Never the less expect the rugby family in Ulster to take the opportunity to get behind the sides at four venues on Wednesday/Thursday and Friday night. With the four Ulster 1A and B sides playing teams from Div 2A and B there is the potential for Cup upsets and bragging rights. This will only add to the occasion. First up is the match at the Palace grounds on Wed night when undefeated Armagh welcome Ulster’s number one club side Ballynahinch. Is their room for a potential shock in this game with former Ballynahinch number 8 Neil Faloon a key inspirational figure head for the County Armagh side. In the second quarter final at Deramore Park on Thursday night Belfast Harlequins entertain City of Derry. The North West side stunned the Braid men from Ballymena last Sat to win their UCL encounter. Quins are coming of the back of consecutive weekend wins over Dungannon. Coach Adam Larkin was present to over see his second xv win their Junior Cup game at Donaghadee last weekend. Can he plot a semi final place for his injury depleted 1st xv. Derry will know they are only two wins away from a Cup final appearance. Friday night will see Banbridge travelling to Eaton Park, hoping to repeat their UCL win at the same venue last season. Ballymena received a wake up call at Judges Road last Sat and will want no slip ups. With a head to head encounter coming up with Galwegians in Galway the following weekend coach Andy Graham will want a morale boosting win and last four place in the Senior Cup.Rainey play Malone on their new 3G pitch at Hatrick Park in Magherfelt on Friday night. Both teams need a win before the resumption of the AIL. Injuries and unavailabilities continue to influence selection for both coaches. Spectators should be treated to a fast paced, highly entertaining cup tie by the two young and talented sides.
First Trust Senior Cup – Quarter Finals
Armagh v Ballynahinch. Played Wednesday 22nd October. KO 7.45pm
Belfast Harlequins v City of Derry. Played Thursday 23rd October. KO 8pm
Played Friday 24th October. KO 7.30pm
Ballymena v Banbridge. KO 7.30pm
Rainey OB v Malone KO 7.30pm

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