Oriel’s Gerry O’Hare insists his team ‘go into the unknown’ when they face North Down in the IIBA Men’s Inter-zone semi finals at Corduff on Saturday.
Having been demolished by Mid Ulster in the final 12 month ago, Oriel are determined to erase that memory by again claiming a spot in the showcase decider.
But Oriel will be taking nothing for granted. They haven’t met North Down on a competitive stage for 17 years, so they will be giving the visitors their full respect.
“We’ll probably be favourites because we have home advantage, but we’ll have a cautious approach,” said O’Hare. “We have a strong pool of players.
“In fact, it could be Saturday before the team is finalised. The panel is very much based along the same lines as last season, with Aaron O’Keefe the only new member of the squad.
“The team performed well in the last round against a good Lisburn side, winning by 15 shots. But we learned a lot from last season’s defeat in the final.
“Now we face a different challenge against a side that has displayed good form in the tournament. They also reached the semi final stage last season, only to be beaten by Mid Ulster.
“We’ll treat them with respect, but the reality is, we’ll be looking to book our spot in the final.”