OMAGH Accies are hoping to bounce back from their first defeat of the season, but they know that won’t be easy as they host All-Ireland League top flight side, Ballynahinch in the last eight of the First Trust Senior Cup later today.
The two clubs are currently separated by four divisions, but after running City of Armagh close at the Palace Grounds, dismantling Bangor away from home and defeating Dungannon, the Mellon Park outfit are relishing the ‘challenge’ ahead.
“It’s good to see what level we are playing at and it will be another challenge,” observed Accies back, Scott Elliott.
“Ulster A have a game on Friday night (last night), so they might be missing a couple of players, but the thing about Hinch is they can go down into their thirds and they still have quality!”
Hinch won the Senior Cup three season in a row between 2015/16 and 17/18 before Armagh took over to win the last two. And after running the current cup holders close in the SONI Ulster Premiership on Saturday past, Elliott, who was captain for the day and playing in an unaccustomed fullback role, believes they have the ability to compete against the best.
Having trailed 20-0 at the break, the Accies who were without several key players, battled back to lose 40-31.
“First half we just didn’t show up,” Elliott observed. “We were missing first time tackles, we just didn’t front up as a team, so we had a few choice words at half-time and in the second half the boys really stepped up to the plate.
“We really took the game to them in the second half and they couldn’t get back into the game then.
“If we had started quicker it would have been a tight game. They were a really good side, though, and it was a good test for us. It was a good run through and it means we’re battle hardened for whatever Hinch bring.”
Regardless of today’s result, Elliott believes this season is one during which he and his fellow Accies have to deliver on the field. This is our third season at senior level and it’s been great, but I think this year it is time to push on,” he said.
“We’re capable, we have the players to play at a higher level, so it’s a matter of finding the consistency to do that.
“We’ve beaten Dungannon [at home] and Bangor away this season, which has been a good start, but it’s finding that consistency to do that throughout the season because I really think this could be the year to push on up.
“The good sign is I don’t think we’ve really clicked yet apart from the odd 10 or 15 minute spell, so I think once we really get into gear we’ll be able to do a job.”
*Kick-off at Mellon Park is 2.30pm today.