Confident Saul Herdman hoping for four in a row for Methody

Celebration as Methody win the Danske Bank Schools' Cup
Celebration as Methody win the Danske Bank Schools' Cup

Methody are looking to win a fourth consecutive Schools’ Cup but face a tough third round tie away at Ballymena Academy.

Only two sides have won the cup four times on the bounce Campbell College do in from 1921 to 1924 while RBAI won a remarkable six in a row from 1943 to 1948.

Methody captain Saul Herdman believes his side can handle the pressure despite a big turnover of players from the side that defeated Sullivan Upper in last year’s decider.

“Three in a row last year was an achievement for the school, hopefully this year we can get four in a row but it starts with the hard work we do during the season,” said Herdman.

“Ten upper sixth’s left last year. The likes of Josh Bingham, Michael Lagan and Alex Thompson but that happens to every school and you just have to work with that but I say we are still strong enough.

“Lots of this year’s team is upper sixth and I think we’ll be able to do it again, the team is very strong and we are all good mates which always helps.”

Despite the turnover in players there still is plenty of experience in the Methody side including Herdman who played in last year’s final.

“I’d like to get my second medal and there are a couple of boys going for their second and Connor Kelly is going for his third medal,” he added.

“ It’s an honour playing in the schools cup and it is always nice getting a win and that’s what it’s all about.

“So hopefully we can do that on St Patrick’s day this year.”

Methody had some tough games on the way to lifting the trophy last year.

“In the quarter final we never really got going and Inst were very good and really put it to us.

“Wallace were a great side and we just didn’t step up to the plate but managed to steal it.

“People would say we were lucky to get to the final but we got there and performed, it went 17-12 at one point then we brought it back and you can’t ask for much more.”

Herdman is an abrasive forward and a good ball carrier and can play blindside flanker, No8 and hooker.

“At Medallion I played hooker then when I came senior rugby Mr Wells put me in the backrow, I played No8 most of last year and then in the cup I played at No6 and then in the final I played No8.”

“This year I have been switching between hooker and No8 and just go whereever the team needs me and I’m happy enough, as long as there is a number between 1-15 on my back I don’t mind but I prefer the backrow.”

Herdman has already played age grade for Ulster.

“I played for the Ulster U18’s this year, I broke my leg coming into it so I didn’t think I would make the squad.

“But one of the other players broke his leg so I managed to start ever game.

“It’s great rugby and the quality was very high and it was good to be involved and the experience improves your rugby and you make some good friends.

“It was definitely an important learning curve for me and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”