PGL giants primed for their Irish Cup showdown in Randalstown

Old Bleach's Michael Nutt in action
Old Bleach's Michael Nutt in action

It's out of the frying pan and into the fire for Ballymena in the IBA Senior Cup!

The Sky Blues produced an outstanding performance last time out, sending holders Dunbarton spnning through the exit door.

They also gained a certain degree of revenge due to the fact that they lost out to the Gilford boys in last season's final - a game they dominated for 15 ends before the wheels dramatically came off.

Ballymena were still celebrating their latest success when news filtered through that they must make the journey to Randalstown to face Old Bleach in the third round. It's undoubtedly the match of the round - a clash of PGL giants.

Even thought they have home advantage, Old Bleach will approach the fixture as slight underdogs. They have already lost three league games, which leaves them playing-catch-up in the title stakes.

In contrast, the boys from the Braid have suffered only one defeat and are hot on the heels of table toppers Dunbarton.

"Form usually goes out of the window in a cup tie and this one will be no different," said Old Bleach's Michael Nutt.

"Ballymena have already beaten us quite comprehensively at out place this season, so we'll have our work cut out. If anything, the pressure is all on them."

m Glenn Mayne is the only new face in the NIBA team that will contest the IBA Under-25 Inter-association Championship at Carrickfergus and Whitehead on Friday and Saturday, July 15-16.

The Newtownabbey player is drafted in at second in the rink skipped by Bangor’s Thomas McClean.

Donaghadee’s Cameron Gaw is the only other change. He is recalled at lead and whill have his club colleague William Boyd at skip.

The NIBA lads are looking to end a depressing run of result in the tournament -- they haven’t hand their hands on the trophy since 2010.

Matthew Lindsay (Curran), Rory Ruddock (Whitehead) and Sam Wallace (Carrickfergus), who are listed as reserves, are all involved for the first time.

NIBA Under-25 team: Rink Two: R McKeown (Whitehead), D Bodles (Carrickfergus), J Moffett (Banbridge), M Crawford (Bangor).

Rink Two: A Johnston (Lisnagarvey), C Mackender (Castle), M Albert (Balmoral), C Dorman (Donaghadee).

Rink Three: M Hastings (Bangor), G Mayne (Newtownabbey), S Beggs (Whitehead), T McClean (Bangor).

Rink Four: C Gaw (Donaghadee), D Anderson (Carrickfergus), N Haire (Dromore), W Boyd (Donaghadee).

Reserves: M Lindsay (Curran), R Ruddock (Whitehead), S Wallace (Carrickfergus).