Schools' Cup final - Boys will have support right across the world

FROM Canada to Australia, there'll be no shortage of support for Ballymena Academy across the world tomorrow...

A number of former Ballymena residents, now living overseas, have sent their messages of support for the boys via the hugely popular Ballymena Times website.

The Academy's achievement in reaching the final has even transcended the long-running friendly rivalry between themselves and near neighbours Cambridge House!

Mervyn Thompson, who now lives in Oakville, outside Toronto, said: "As a former pupil and player at Cambridge House now living in Canada, I would like to wish Ballymena Academy all the best in the final - I never thought I would say that!"

George and Elizabeth Hillis, who contacted us from Texas, ended their good luck message by simply saying "steadfast in purpose" - the English translation of the school's Latin motto Tenax Propositi.

Staying in America, New York-based ex-pat Jeremy Kilpatrick e-mailed: "For me, the grand parade on Fifth Avenue has nothing on the atmosphere at Ravenhill on St Patrick's Day, and I will be scouring the internet for updates.

"I would trade every game I ever played for the Academy, Glasgow University, London Scottish and all the other teams, just to be in your shoes. Play hard, pay fair and bring that trophy home!

Another person to get in touch was Scott Shannon, who captained the Academy First XV in 2005.

"We made the semi-finals against Armagh in 2004, one of the highlights of my playing career, only to be beaten in a very close match - the lowest point of my playing career!

"I have been living by Bondi Beach for seven months now on my travels, following the team through family and friends at home, while managing to watch the highlights of the semi-final via BBC sport in an internet cafe by the beach.

"I'll be staying up in the early morning hours to get updates from my mates at the game, so best of luck to all the boys and c'mon the ACADEMY!" added Scott.