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Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 14th March 2015

Saturday, 14 March 2015

The Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield final took place at the Kingspan

Stadium on Monday 9th March when the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team

played Wallace High School. In a game dominated by a strong gusting wind the Royal

Belfast Academical Institution team seemed to adapt more positively to the conditions

and they emerged as deserved 13-5 winners.

Royal Belfast Academical Institution started brightly and opened the scoring with a

fourth minute penalty from David Lyttle. Wallace responded with a good period of

pressure, working the ball close to the try line on a number of occasions, but failed to

cross the whitewash. David Lyttle had a chance to double the lead after a quarter of an

hour but his long range penalty came back of the upright. However, the Belfast boys

did push further ahead, in the 24th minute, when Ethan Glover powered over following

a strong hand off on an opposing forward. David Lyttle saw his resulting kick hit the

right post for a second time, leaving the score at 8-0 in favour of his Belfast Inst

team.

The Wallace High players, to their credit, worked their way back into the game and

were rewarded for their endeavours when left wing Jack Dillon spotted a hole in the

defence. He took off and scorched past a number of despairing RBAI defenders to

touch down for a fine try. The conversion attempt from Conor Rankin was off target

but the gap was reduced to8-5. In the closing stages of the first half the RBAI team

was reduced to fourteen players but the Wallace High School team was unable to take

advantage, ensuring the teams turned around at the break with the Royal Belfast

Academical Institution team holding on to a narrow 8-5 lead.

The start of the second half saw both teams continue with their efforts to play

entertaining rugby, but knocks on from both teams brought numerous attacks to an

end. That was until RBAI unleashed a superb backline move in the 45th minute. David

Lyttle, on the receiving end of a super pass from the impressive Niall Armstrong, did a

neat wrap around move with James Heyburn. A clever pass from David, and good hands

from fullback Simon McMaster, sent Kyle McComiskey racing clear to score a superb

try in the corner. David Lyttle missed the conversion but his team had increased their

lead to 13-5. It was only at this stage of the game did the Wallace High School team

make appropriate use of the wind in their backs. They fought back with a long spell of

pressure in opposition territory and were twice held up over the line by resilient RBAI

defence. In the end there was no way through and the Royal Belfast Academical

Institution team held on for a memorable 13-5 victory at the end of this Danske Bank

Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield final.

At the post match presentation ceremony both teams received their Danske Bank

Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield Final medals from Brian Shane, representative of the

Danske Bank, sponsors of all the Ulster Schools’ competitions. The Danske Bank Ulster

Schools’ Medallion Shield was then presented to Ethan Glover, captain of the victorious

Royal Belfast Academical Institution team, by Bobby Stewart, Senior Vice-President of

the Ulster Branch, IRFU.

Both schools will renew their rivalries when they meet once again, this time in the final

of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup on St Patrick’s Day at the Kingspan Stadium.

This game will kick off at 3-00pm.

The last of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion finals took place on Tuesday 10th

March when Ballymena Academy played Down High School at the Belfast Royal Academy

grounds at Roughfort.

The Ballymena Academy Medallion team won the game by 17-5 but were probably

somewhat flattered by this scoreline. The Down High School team dominated

proceedings for long periods in the first half. Five minutes into the game they scored a

try when Ronan Patterson took advantage of good work from Jack Carlisle. The

conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Down High School team had opened up a

5-0 lead. Their midfield backs were causing all sorts of problems for the Ballymena

Academy defence and made frequent line breaks. Fortunately for the Ballymena team

the Down High School team was unable to finish off these attacks and the Ballymena

Academy line remained intact ensuring the Down High School had not added to their 5-

0 lead by the interval.

The second half started, as the first half had finished, with the Down High School

team launching wave after wave of attacks. They seemed certain to score on a number

of occasions only for heroic defensive work from James McClean and Jordan Foster on

the Ballymena Academy team which saved the day.

The Ballymena team seemed to gain a great deal of confidence from their defensive

heroics. They mounted a series of attacks which brought them back into the game.

They scored a try from their 2nd row forward, Josh McAuley, who eventually touched

down following several close drives. Bruce Houston converted the try to put his team

into a 7-5 lead. Several injuries to Down HS players seemed to upset their rhythm and

the Ballymena Academy team took advantage. The scored a second try five minutes

later through their blindside flanker, Tiernan Martin. Bruce Houston converted the try

to put his team into a somewhat flattering 14-5 lead with little time remaining. Bruce

Houston then secured the 17-5 victory when he converted a penalty kick in last minute

of the game to ensure it was the Ballymena Academy team that took home the Danske

Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Plate.

Following the game, Bobby Stewart, Senior Vice President of the Ulster Branch, IRFU,

presented both teams with their medals and the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion

Plate to the captain of the victorious Ballymena Academy team.

The Ulster Schools’ Committee, as well as the coaches and players from both schools,

would like to thank the Principal and Governors of Belfast Royal Academy, as well as

Chris McCarey and his games staff, for the hosting of the game and the provision of

excellent facilities and a great pitch at Roughfort.

Three Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Cup, 3rdxv Cup and 3rdxv Plate games were

played on Wednesday 11th March.

Lurgan College hosted Belfast Royal Academy in a Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv

Cup quarter-final at the Lough Road venue. The Lurgan College team made the Belfast

Royal Academy team work hard before the BRA team finished the game as 10-6

winners. BRA scored an unconverted try to take a 5-0 lead before Robbie Norton

pegged them back to 5-3 with a well struck penalty kick. On the stroke of half time the

Belfast Royal Academy team scored a second unconverted try to take a 10-3 lead.

The Lurgan College team dominated territory, as well as possession, for long periods of

the second half. However, the only points they registered came from a second Robbie

Norton penalty too leave the final score reading 10-6 in favour of the Belfast Royal

Academy team.

In the second semi-final of the Danske Bank 3rdxv Cup Royal Belfast Academical

Institution 4thxv defeated the Methodist College 3rdxv by 18-17. The Methodist

College had built up a half time lead before the Belfast Inst team mounted a second

half revival to secure their narrow 18-17 win.

This result ensures it will be an all RBAI final with the 3rdxv playing the 4thxv in the

final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Cup. The final will take place at the

Royal Belfast Academical Institution playing fields at Osborne Park. The date of this

final is to be confirmed.

In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Plate Ballymena Academy 3rdxv defeated

Methodist College 5thxv by 34-21. Ballymena Academy will now travel to play Coleraine

AI in the quarter-final of the 3rdxv Plate.

The Gary Clarke Memorial tournament took place on Wednesday evening at Lurgan RFC.

Lurgan College, Banbridge Academy, Portadown College and Banbridge Academy all took

part in this prestigious event which saw all the teams playing attacking rugby at every

opportunity.

The Friends’ School team started out with an evenly contested game against Lurgan

College. The only score that separated the teams was a Ryan Hall try that was scored

after Ryan had used his pace to outstrip the Lurgan College defence. James McGucken

added the extras to secure a 7-0 victory for the Friends’ School team.

Next up for the Friends’ School team was the Banbridge Academy team. Friends’ took a

7-0 lead when, after some early pressure on the Banbridge Academy line, James

Maxwell forced his way over for a try. James McGucken was successful with the

conversion kick. Banbridge responded immediately and scored a try through Jordan

Mount. The try was converted to draw the score level at 7-7. With little time

remaining, the Friends’ team started to chase the game. This proved to be their

undoing when a loose pass was intercepted by Shane Honeyford who ran in for a try.

The conversion kick was successful leaving the Banbridge Academy team as 14-7

winners.

In the last of the round robin matches Friends’ played their Danske Bank Ulster

Schools’ Cup opponents, Portadown College. Friends’ got out of the blocks early and

didn’t give the Portadown team a moments rest, dominating them at scrum time. It was

from a scrum that the Friends’ School No 8, Thomas Boyde, picked the ball and drove

over the Portadown College line to touch down for the first points of the game. James

McGucken maintained his 100% record with his trusty boot when he landed the

conversion to give the Friends’ School team a 7-0 lead. Friends’ had most of the

pressure but couldn’t make it count until the last minute of the game. James McGucken

converted a penalty opportunity to extend the Friends’ School lead to 10-0 , a lead they

held until the final whistle.

This meant Friends’ would go into the final against Banbridge where the game saw

Friends’ stick to the norm of the evening and look the more promising side. With five

minutes gone Friends’ attacked down the wing but the ball was knocked with the

Banbridge Academy line at their mercy. An injury to a player caused the game to be

abandoned and both Friends’ School and Banbridge Academy were awarded a share of

the Gary Clarke Memorial Trophy at the end of an entertaining evening of schoolboy

rugby.

The participating teams would like to thank the Lurgan Rugby Football Club for hosting

this event that was thoroughly enjoyed by all the players.