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Belfast Telegraph Senior Schools Cup Semis

Sullivan Upper have the daunting task of trying to stop the all Ireland champions, Banbridge Academy, from reaching the Belfast Telegraph Senior Cup final again as they prepare for Wednesday's semi-final at Stormont.

Banbridge captain Katie McKee scored a hat-trick in last year's 4-0 win over Wallace and she is just one of many players that will pose a threat to Sullivan.

However, team captain Laura McCaw says her players are looking forward to the challenge.
"We know Banbridge are a very talented and experienced side who will be well organised and used to the big occasion." she said.

"They have several good players, obviously Katie will be one to watch and also Nadia Benallal.

"We played them very early on in the season and lost in a tight enough game. We are expecting a very tough match but a very competitive one. This will be the fourth year in a row that we have met them in either the semi-final or the Final, and I have played in all of these encounters." 

"In 2015, we beat them in the final, in 2016 we beat them in the semi-final, last year we lost narrowly 2-1 to them in the semi final and now here we go again this year. The highlight of course for me has to be 2015 when I was the youngest member of the Cup winning side and it will be a moment I will never forget."

"All the previous encounters have been so close and have come right down to the wire and we don’t expect anything different this year."

Laura's opposite number, Katie McKee is expecting a tough battle with what are familiar foes. She was named player-of-the match in the 2015 final, despite being on the losing side.

"We have played them in a friendly earlier this season before Christmas and they appear to score a few corners." said Katie.

"They were well organised and worked hard for each other. We played them in last year's semi as well and that was a close game with us just scraping through. They have always been tough competition over the last few years I have played them."

The other semi-final will be contested by Friends' and Rainey and another close contest is anticipated by both camps.

"Friends are a very athletic, strong team who play at a fast pace. Over the years, they have always proved to be a very competitive side." said Rainey captain Erin Mulholland.

"We have already played them this year in the Super League, but the cup always presents its own challenges. We realise that this is a completely different situation and have prepared for it as such."

Friends', like Rainey, have several players who line out with adult teams in their respective areas and Lisburn coach, Lesley Rodgers, knows the Magherafelt side will be hard to beat.

"We played Rainey in the semi of the Super League and lost 3-0. Not a good performance from Friends but Rainey were worthy winners." said Lesley.

"They are a very good side with some excellent young players. They beat Ballyclare High, who are also a great side, in the quarters so we have to respect that. Alex Burns is very talented and there are others we'll need to watch."

"Friends will need to be at their best. It’ll be tough, but recent performances and work rate of the squad have been very pleasing. They are a super bunch of girls who are a joy to coach."

Belfast Telegraph Senior Schools Cup 

Venue: Stormont

1.30pm - Sullivan Upper v Banbridge Academy
3.00pm - Friends' School v Rainey Endowed

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