BOWLS: Armagh up against it in semi-final battle

Armagh's Jal Richardson
Armagh's Jal Richardson

Armagh’s Jal Richardson believes the team that beats Oriel could be this season’s IIBA Inter-zone champions.

His prediction will be put to the test at Mullabrack Church Hall on Saturday when both sides meet in a Boomer Cup semi final showdown.

Oriel have forget their way into the last four, having accounted for Meath, North West and Northern on the way. Armagh have also demonstrated their Cup credentials by eliminating Mid Antrim, North Down and Foyle.

So, something must give when the teams go head to head.

“Most people are tipping the winners of this team to go on and win the trophy, but it doesn’t always work like that,” says Richardson.

“That would be disrespectful to the teams in the other semi final, Western and South Tyrone. Anything can happen. Oriel are the current title holders and will be coming oozing with confidence.”

Armagh may also have a score to settle due to the fact that they were beaten in the first round of last season’s tournament in their opening defence of the Boomer Cup.

“The teams have met on a few occasions recently and it’s 1-1 as it stands,” added Richardson. “Oddly, enough, we seem to do better against Oriel in the latter stage of the competition.

“We go in to the game a full strength, which is a big bonus. Joe Beattie, Terry Mulholland and I missed the previous win over Foyle. But the boys who came in, Lawrence McCartan, Paul Whittle and Raymond Hunter, who were all unavailable at the start of the campaign, retain their place in the team.”

Fixtures: IIBA Men’s Inter-zone semi finals: Armagh v Oriel; Western v South Tyrone.