Friends are targetting an upset in Schools’ Cup opener

Friends School Lisburn captain Steven Kay and Portadown College captain Daniel Mayhew will lead their sides into battle in the first round of the Danske Bank 2015 Ulster Schools Cup on Saturday morning. Photo Credit - John Dickson/Dicksondigital.
Friends School Lisburn captain Steven Kay and Portadown College captain Daniel Mayhew will lead their sides into battle in the first round of the Danske Bank 2015 Ulster Schools Cup on Saturday morning. Photo Credit - John Dickson/Dicksondigital.

Friends coach Stephen Robinson is hoping his side can cause an upset as they begin their Schools’ Cup campaign this weekend.

The locals host Portadown College in the first round tomorrow (Saturday) morning (kick-off 10.30am) and Robinson knows his side will have to be at their best if they’re to progress to round two.

FSL have a relatively inexperienced squad at the top level of school rugby but that’s not deterring them from looking for a Cup run.

“We’ve a young team in that we have quite a few of the medallion side that have stepped up and are now starting for the firsts,” said Robinson.

“Portadown will go in as favourites but on our day, we can get the better of them. If the lads perform to their potential, there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t cause a bit of an upset and get the right result.

“Realistically, we’ll be targetting one of the subsidiary competitions, the bowl or the trophy, but our first priority is to try and get as far as we can in the main Cup.”

Robinson is also keen to ensure that his side don’t give away many penalties within kicking distance as, he says, Portadown will take full advantage of any scoring opportunities.

He said: “It’s a difficult enough draw for us. We haven’t played them yet this year so they’re a bit of an unknown quantity to us.

“We know what their real strengths are so we know what to look out for. They have a very good kicker so we’ll have to watch our dsicipline and make sure we don’t give him much to attack.”

Friends go into the game with almost a full squad to pick from since their skipper returned to the panel after a recent absence.

“We’ve got our captain Steven Kay back from injury,” said Robinson. “We’ll need big performance from players like him, Gareth Hill and Thomas Boyd. Gareth’s a key forward for us and also someone we’ll be looking to from the line-outs. Thomas is a big asset to us at number eight while we will be looking to the likes of James McGookin and Curtis Dundas in the backs.

“We’re missing Russell Dickson, who is out with a broken arm. He would have been one of our key players so he will be a real miss for us.”

Tomorrow’s game begins at 10.30am at Friends School and all support would be very welcome.