College, St Pats set to continue epic rivalry

St Patrick's College football captain Liam Duggan and Ballarat Clarendon College football captain Matt Davidson, flanked by their deputies Rylry Stuhldrier (SPC) and Keegan Mason (BCC) with the coveted O'Malley Cup they will battle to win on Wednesday. Photo Kate Healy

St Patrick's College football captain Liam Duggan and Ballarat Clarendon College football captain Matt Davidson, flanked by their deputies Rylry Stuhldrier (SPC) and Keegan Mason (BCC) with the coveted O'Malley Cup they will battle to win on Wednesday. Photo Kate Healy

THERE is added fire in both camps ahead of Wednesday's Ballarat Associated Schools' senior boys football final, fuelled by their last encounter.

When the siren last sounded on this epic schoolboy rivalry in May, play was locked up in the goal square.

Ballarat Clarendon College had held on for a three-point win  - its first victory against powerhouse St Patrick's College since the 2006 BAS final.

Reigning champion St Pats won the next seven titles and is sizing up an eighth, to be played in the afternoon on their home ground.

BCC football captain Matt Davidson said this was a match he had been waiting to play since year seven.

That upset in May proved to his team what was possible.

"It definitely gives us a bit of confidence heading in but we don't want to be looking back in the past we need to be focused on this match," Davidson said.

"This is a big rivalry, it is usually us two in the granny."

St Pats football captain Liam Duggan is set to play his third BAS grand final.

He is well-versed in the hype about this game, with students expected to flood the sidelines when school is dismissed about half-time and alumni from both school often watching with intrigue.

BCC's win earlier in the year had made St Pats more wary, added some "fire in the belly", Duggan said, in the peak of the school's football commitments.

St Pats will prepare for an MCC-Herald Sun Shield semi-final next week in its continued bid for a record-breaking fifth consecutive state schoolboy title.

But all attention was on BAS first.

"This is one that we really want to win, the local competition, to really stamp our mark," Duggan said.

"This competition is held in just as much importance for us as any football title because of the long history."

St Pats will enter the game near full-strength after a quiet start to the school term, football-wise.

Duggan said the squad had worked hard to manage bodies, particularly with players' busy football loads outside of school.

BCC had a tough hit-out last week, losing the Herald Sun Country Shield to Warrnambool's Emmanuel College by 14 points.

Davidson said the squad was carrying a couple of injuries but the vibe was positive and looked forward to putting on a good match.

Opening bounce is 2.30pm at St Patrick's College.

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