SULLIVAN Upper are relishing the prospect of ending a nine-year wait since they last featured in a Schools’ Cup semi-final.
The Holywood school have never won the coveted trophy, but are just 80 minutes away from reaching the last four for the first time since 2014 – a year which saw them go on to make what is to date their sole appearance in the final of the competition, losing 27-12 to Methodist College.
Between them and a spot in the last four lie the 24-time champions, Campbell College, who were edged out in last year’s Saint Patrick’s Day showdown in lasp-gasp fashion against arch nemesis Methody.
But the mood ahead of this weekend’s crunch clash is one of excitement.
“Rather than fear the challenge, we want to tackle it head on,” head coach Adam Craig told the Spectator.
“I think when you get to this stage of the competition, you’re expected to meet the big teams and the boys are buzzing for it,” he
“The boys know that we want to
be in the latter stages of these competitions. We haven’t been to the semi-finals in a long time, so it would be massive for the school if the team could achieve that this year.
“There is also that locality element where Campbell are concerned; a lot of the Sullivan lads know members of their team from having gone to the same primary schools and so on.
“We’ll need to get a lot more right than what we did against Armagh, but as with any cup
game against a big side, there’s only ever going to be small margins in it,” continued Craig.
“We have beaten some top rugby schools on the way here but it’s really exciting to potentially create history.
“There is a great feeling around rugby at Sullivan at the moment and the school has got really good structures in place for success.
“We don’t see this as just being a one-year thing. It’s somewhere we want to stay for years to come.”