Ballymena will be hoping to reach the All Ireland Cup final for a second consecutive year as they host Cork Constitution in the semi final at Eaton Park on Saturday (2pm kick off).
John Andrews side were beaten in last year’s decider by Garryowen but retaining the Ulster Senior Cup again put them back on the All Ireland glory trail.
Ballymena after a slow start to the season have hit form with only one defeat in their last seven outings.
“A club like Ballymena like to be playing among the big boys, to get big games like that is good for this group of players because they are young, they want to win things and this is the second cup with this squad and we want to go one stage further with the All Ireland Cup,” said Andrews.
“Any Cork Con side, no matter who they have, will always be difficult, we’re at home so we have to use take all the advantages we have to win this one. “
“We know it’s a step-up and a big challenge but we want to keep the wins going and bring some momentum into our AIL season.”
Outhalf Rory Drysdale is rewarded for his man of the match performance against Rainey in the Senior League last week by keeping his place and he’ll will partner Scott Gibson.
Centre Tom Hughes faces a late fitness test, Martin Irwin is on standby to partner Peter Budina in midfield, and fullback Ricky Andrew is now available again so there will be a call to make between him and Timmy Small.
In the pack former Leinster prop Simon Shawe is injured and replaced by Andrew Warwick.
There is plenty of experience in the second row with Ian Caldwell and Darryl O’Kane starting.
Loose forward Connor Smyth is missing due to injury.
Cork Con reached the semi final by claiming their 24th Munster Senior Cup in dramatic fashion against UL Bohemians, trailing by four points deep into injury time winger Niall O’Driscoll went over to seal victory.
Con are fourth in Division 1A but are missing a couple of players due to Provincial call-ups.