Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 20th December 2014
Monday, 22 December 2014
As well as Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Cup, 3rdxv Cup and Medallion Shield
games, a number of midweek friendly fixtures were played in the lead up to a series of
games scheduled for Saturday 20th December.
Regent House V Down High School
Regent House and Down High School met in a midweek game. The Down High School team
won by 38-14. The Down team was strengthened by the return from injury of players
such as Nathan Gibson and Rory Kerr. The Down High School team took time to get into
their stride in the first half of the game but had still managed to build up a 12-7 lead
by the break. Marcus Graham scored an unconverted try to give the Down team a 5-0
lead. The Regent team replied with a converted try, started from deep inside their
half, to take a 7-5 lead. The Down High pack began to control the set piece plays and
Luke Sandford took advantage of this when he ran in for a try. Joe Bingham converted
the try to put his team into a 12-7 lead at the end of the first half.
The Down High pack controlled most of the forward exchanges in the second half. This
ensured their back line had a plentiful supply of ball which they used to good effect.
Marcus Graham took advantage of good work from Luke Sandford and Joe Bingham
before touching down for his second try of the game. Joe converted the try to
increase the Down High lead to 19-7. Ross Carlisle then slotted a clever kick in behind
the Regent House defence. Luke Sandford chased the kick, scooped the ball up at pace
and finished off with a try. Joe Bingham converted the try to see his team into a 26-7
lead. Regent House then took play deep into Down High School territory and, following a
series of “tap and go” penalties, they scored a converted try to reduce the deficit to
26-14. After this, it was all Down High School. Ross Carlisle outwitted a hesitant
Regent House defence and put Luke Sandford away to score his third try of the game.
The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Down High lead was extended to 31-
14. The Down High sixth, and final, try of the game came when Paddy Browne threw a
superb pass to Marcus Graham who ran in to complete his hat trick. Joe Bingham
converted the try to leave the Down High School team as convincing 38-14 winners.
Portora Royal School and Omagh Academy met at Enniskillen Rugby Club in a game,
played under lights, the Omagh team won by 26-0. Missing influential captain, Adam
Stephenson, as well as regular out half, Stuart Ballantine, through injury, the Academy
boys got off to a sluggish start, allowing Portora to gain territory and maintain
pressure for the opening ten minutes. Omagh’s well-organised defence prevented the
home side any try scoring opportunities at this stage of the game. The Omagh team was
awarded a penalty which allowed their Year 12 debutant, Kyle Beattie, to clear his lines.
The resultant set piece was secured and driven deep into Portora territory before the
driven maul was illegally pulled down. Kyle stepped forward confidently and converted
the penalty to give his team a 3-0 lead. Omagh grew in confidence and looked to assert
themselves further on the game. James Longwell and Josh McKinley were threatening
in the loose while the new centre pairing of Luke Hanson and Deane Kane was making
gain line breaks but, at crucial times, lacked sufficient support to fully take advantage.
Kyle Beattie added a further three points as the half drew to a close with Omagh
deservedly taking a 6-0 lead into the break.
A stern half time team talk was provided and the necessary points taken on board by
the Omagh players. As the second half began it was clear to see an immediate
improvement in Omagh’s intensity and execution and the driven maul continued to be an
effective weapon from the lineout. Scrum half, Fintan Lagan, was calling the shots
behind his army of forwards by mixing up the plays and bringing his backline into attack
mode with quality front foot ball. Oscar Nelson crossed for the opening try of the
night to finish off an excellent team try. Once again, Josh Mckinley secured the lineout
and the pack drove forward. Fintan Lagan moved the ball to Kyle Beattie who looped
Luke Hanson before passing to Deane Kane on an outside run. Deane drew the winger
before releasing Oscar Nelson who fended off the covering defender to score an
unconverted try in the corner and put his team into an 11-0 lead. Omagh were now
relentless in attack with wave after wave of pressure being put on a determined
Portora defence. Omagh’s second try was secured, once again, from a good forward
platform. Josh McKinley, who was in fine form throughout, again popped up in midfield
and showed great skill to offload to the on rushing Luke Hanson. Luke scythed through
the first line of defence and found Andrew Monteith in support. The final pass was
executed superbly well which enabled to the speedy winger to race home for a try
beneath the posts. Kyle Beattie was successful with his conversion to put the Omagh
Academy team into an 18-0 lead. Even though the Academy made a number of changes
and debuts were handed to Adam McFarland and James McLean, the pressure did not
wane. Kyle Beattie added a further three points to put his team 21-0 ahead. Then the
try of the night rounded off proceedings. Omagh, from deep in their half, confidently
launched a Garryowen kick high into the night sky. Mitchell Anderson leapt highest to
retain possession just short of the half way line. Quick ball was moved to the backline
and, once again, the tiring Portora RS defence was penetrated. The ball reached Luke
Hanson who, spotting the space behind the opposition defence, chipped the ball through
for Mitchell Anderson to run onto and touch down for an unconverted try. The final
score of 26-0, in favour of the Omagh academy team, was a fair reflection of a physical
Both teams enjoyed the experience of playing under the lights at Mullaghmeen and
both schools would like to thank Enniskillen Rugby Club for the generous provision of
facilities and hosting the game.
Foyle and Londonderry College V Wellington College
Foyle and Londonderry College took an extended squad of players to play Wellington
College in a midweek fixture. The Foyle College team used the game, which they won by
21-7, to give playing opportunities to fringe members of their senior squad of players in
preparation for their forthcoming Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup campaign. They had
opened up an 11-0 lead by the interval with an unconverted try from 2nd Row forward,
Stephen Walker, and two penalties from debutant outhalf, Matthew Orr.
The second half saw the Foyle College team score two more unconverted tries through
centre, David Jackson, and winger, Ryan Marshall to put the visitors into a commanding
21-0 lead. The Wellington College team finished with a flurry and scored a converted
which ensured it was the Foyle and Londonderry College team that finished the game as
Methodist College travelled with “David Wells Tours” to Portugal where they held a
four day training camp. The training camp finished with a game against the very
physical Portugal U19 team which the Methodist College team won by 25-7. The
Methody team produced what was possibly their best performance of the season in the
course of this game. The Methody team started very well and had built up a 5-0 lead
after just a few minutes of the game. Conor Kelly, having just returned to play
following an injury, provided the assist for Robert Lyttle to score an unconverted try in
the corner. The much bigger Portugal team was difficult to break down but a piece of
individual brilliance from Saul Herdman led to an infringement by a Portugal player at a
ruck. Robert Lyttle converted the ensuing penalty to give his team an 8-0 lead. The
Portugal U19 team scored a converted try, close to the interval, to leave the Methody
team with an 8-7 lead at the end of the first half.
The Portugal team displayed signs of ill-discipline in the course of the second half and
was punished appropriately. Ben “Beano” O’Reilly was on the wrong end of Portugal ill-
discipline but he responded in a most appropriate manner by scoring a try following a
well-executed driven maul. Robert Lyttle added the extras to increase the Methody
lead to 15-7. Robert Lyttle then converted a penalty to increase the lead to 18-7. As
the Portugal team tired towards the end of the game, a slick Methody backline move
was finished off by Conor Kelly when he touched down for a try. Robert Lyttle added
the conversion to secure a well-deserved 25-7 victory for the Methodist College team.
Coleraine Academical Institution played Ballyclare High School in a game the Coleraine
AI team won by 17-5. In a closely contested first half, it was the Ballyclare High
School team that scored the first try of the game. They charged down a kick and
hacked the ball on towards the Coleraine AI line. After several “picks and drives” the
Ballyclare pack rumbled their way over the line to touch down for an unconverted try
and take a 5-0 lead. On thirty minutes Coleraine AI managed to register their first try
of the game. An excellent line break by centre, Niall Cameron, saw him stopped just
short of the Ballyclare HS line. Niall linked with Callum Smith who timed his pass
perfectly to Matthew Norris who, in turn, fed his left wing, Thomas Lavery. Thomas
showed great pace to score close to the posts. Somehow the conversion was missed
which left the score 5-5 at the interval.
Coleraine AI started the second half with much more intent. Some excellent charges
from George McKeag and Peter Bonnar saw Coleraine come close to scoring on several
occasions. They were held up over the opposition before Thomas Lavery again took his
opportunity and scored a second unconverted try to see his team into a 10-5 lead.
After sixty three minutes Callum Smith scored an excellent try under the Ballyclare
HS posts. Calum bullied his way to the line after some excellent work by his forwards
to score a try which he converted. This secured the 17-5 victory for the Coleraine
Academical Institution team.
Belfast Royal Academy V Friends’ School
Belfast Royal Academy played an understrength Friends’ School team and recorded a
rare 32-7 victory. Unfortunately, no report was received on this midweek game.
Londonderry College V Grosvenor Grammar School
In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2nd xv Cup Foyle and Londonderry College defeated
Grosvenor Grammar School by 3-0. In the same competition Limavady Grammar School
defeated Strabane Academy by 29-14.
In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rd Cup competition Ballyclare Secondary School
recorded a 31-5 victory against Campbell College 5thxv while Limavady Grammar School
3rdxv lost by 12-0 against St Columba’s School, Stranorlar. Shimna College lost by 13-7
against Down High School 3rdxv and Royal Belfast Academical Institution 5thxv
defeated Methodist College 5thxv by 22-7.
In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield competition Banbridge Academy
defeated Larne Grammar School by 29-0 while Lurgan College lost by 22-11 against
Limavady Grammar School.
Ballymena Academy continued their recent run of good form when the travelled to play
Dalriada School in Ballymoney on Saturday 20th December. The Ballymena Academy
team returned home with a 41-0 victory under their belts. From the start it was the
visiting team who were on the front foot and the first Ballymena line-break resulted in
a penalty that was successfully converted by Andrew Magrath to give his team a 3-0
lead. Shortly afterwards, Marcus Rea touched down in the corner for an unconverted
try to leave the score 8-0 in favour of the Ballymena Academy team. Much of the
remainder of the first half was played out deep in the Dalraida half. However, a
combination of determined defending by Dalriada players such as Michael Finnerty,
Angus Johnston and Alan Montgomery, and poor decision-making by Ballymena meant
that there were no more points added before the half-time whistle.
In the second half, Ballymena Academy improved the accuracy of their attack play and
stretched further into the lead with tries from forwards Josh Bill and Matthew
Moody. One successful Andrew Magrath conversion took the score to 20-0. Ballymena
began to open the game up and found spaces in the dogged Dalriada defence. Jonathan
McKeown, who was enjoying an outstanding game, powered over from close range and
Andrew Magrath’s conversion increased the Ballymena Academy lead to 27-0.They
added two more tries before the final whistle; the first a superb individual effort from
Josh McIlroy was followed by a second try of the morning from Marcus Rea who
displayed clever footwork to leave several defenders in his trail before he touched the
ball down. Both tries were converted by Andrew Magrath to leave the final score
reading 41-0 to Ballymena Academy.
The Rainey Endowed School team was missing a number of key players, away on a Ski
Trip, when they hosted the Sullivan Upper team at the Rainey Street venue. The
Sullivan Upper team had built up a 14-7 lead by half time and went on to win the game
by 21-7. Despite being short a number of regular players, the Rainey team pushed the
Sullivan Upper team to the limit. The Rainey points, in the first half, came from an
Andrew Conway try which Mark Rooney converted. For the Sullivan Upper team Peter
Houston and James Houston scored one try apiece, both of which Calum Jeffrey
converted, in the course of the first half.
The second half was a closely contested affair with the only try of the half coming
from Michael Brown. Calum Jeffrey was successful with the conversion to secure the
21-7 win for the Sullivan Upper team.
Wallace High School and Royal Belfast Academical Institution played out a 17-17 draw
when the teams met at the Magheralave Road venue. The Wallace High School team
took a 3-0 lead when Ryan Wilson converted a penalty kick following a Belfast Inst
infringement at the breakdown. Adam Heaps then scored a try from close range for
the Wallace HS team. Ryan Wilson added the conversion to put Wallace High School
into a 10-0 lead. The Belfast Inst team responded with a Conor Field try, which TJ
Morris converted, to leave the Wallace HS team with a 10-7 lead at halftime.
Andrew Cardosi marked his return to play, following a shoulder injury picked up when
playing for the Ulster U19’s in September, with a fine try following good work from
Jonny Stewart. Ryan Wilson converted the try to leave the Wallace team ahead by 17-
7. The Belfast Inst team displayed great character and determination at this stage of
the game. They rallied strongly and reduced the deficit to 17-10 when TJ Morris
converted a penalty opportunity after a Wallace player had played the ball with his
hands in a ruck. The Inst team seemed to sense they could at least draw the game and
mounted a wave of attacks. The Wallace defence, with Ben Finlay, Gary Chan, Jonny
Stewart and Ben Pentland getting through a lot of work, held firm. That was until the
impressive Calum McLaughlin made a break in midfield and linked with James Hume.
James found Michael Lowry with a clever pass and Michael finished off with a well
taken try. TJ Morris added the conversion to ensure the game finished with honours
even at 17-17.
Belfast Royal Academy played the Royal School, Armagh team in a game the Belfast
Royal Academy team won by 29-14. The Belfast Royal Academy team had built up a 17-5
lead by half time before going on to win the game by 29-17. Michael Wilson gave the
Academy team a 3-0 lead when he converted a penalty opportunity. This became 10-0
when David Campbell ran in for a try which Michael Wilson converted. Thirty minutes
into the game a good Academy scrum provided the opportunity for David McCullough to
run in for a try. Michael Wilson added the conversion to put his team into a 17-0 lead.
Josh Agnew then scored an unconverted try for the RS Armagh team to leave the BRA
team 17-5 ahead at the break.
Early in the second half, the BRA lead was extended to 22-5 when Matthew Dalton
scored an unconverted try. Jack Campbell then scored a try for the RS Armagh team
following a set play from first phase possession. Jack converted his try to leave the
score board reading 22-12 in favour of the Belfast Royal Academy team. Back came the
home team to increase their lead to 29-12 when Cormac McCracken broke through a
hesitant RS Armagh defence to score a try. Michael Wilson was successful with the
conversion kick. With the last play of the game Josh Agnew scored his second try of
the game for the RS Armagh team. The try was not converted which ensured the 29-17
win for the Belfast Royal Academy team.
Carrickfergus Grammar School V Friends’ School
Carrickfergus Grammar School and Friends’ School, Lisburn played out an enthralling
encounter when the teams met at the North Road venue. The Carrickfergus team, just
back from a training camp in Portugal, won the game by 26-24. The Carrickfergus GS
team started off strongly and got onto the score sheet quickly when Christian Robinson
scored an unconverted try to give his team a 5-0 lead. Friends’ gradually got
themselves into the game and were constantly causing the Carrickfergus GS defence
problems. Ryan Hall scorched past two Carrickfergus GS defenders before going under
the posts to touch down for a try. James McGucken converted the try to put the
Friends’ School team into a 7-5 lead. The game was then evenly matched until Carrick
scored just before the break. The home team out half chipped a ball into space and the
Christian Robinson gathered the ball at pace to go under the posts to score his, and
Carrick’s, second try of the match. David Carse secured the conversion to put his
Carrickfergus GS team into a 12-7 lead at the interval.
At the start of the second half the Carrickfergus team took advantage of ill-discipline
in the Friends’ School ranks and increased their lead to 15-7 when David Carse
converted a penalty opportunity. Shortly after this setback the Friends’ forwards
worked their way up the pitch and provided the platform for scrum half, Adam
Scholfield, to pick and go from the base of the scrum and touch down for an
unconverted try in the corner. Carrickfergus GS now had just a 15-12 lead but this
increased to 18-12 when, once again, poor discipline from the Friends’ team provided
David Carse with another successful penalty opportunity. Jake Porter then ran in for
the third Carrickfergus GS try of the match. The try was unconverted but the
Carrickfergus team had increased their lead to 23-12.The Friends’ School team
responded positively and, from the kick off, they regained possession. Carrick then
conceded a number of penalties for pulling down the Friends’ maul. Eventually, the ball
was released to the backs with Curtis Dundas finishing off a flowing move when he
scored an unconverted try in the corner. This try brought the Friends’ team back into
the game with the deficit reduced to 23-17. Friends’ only needed one score now but
were aware they were running out of time. Another bout of ill-discipline and the
Carrickfergus lead increased to 26-17 when David Carse converted his third penalty of
the game. However, the Friends’ team then scored the try of the game in injury time.
They ran the ball from deep and an interchange of passes, involving both forwards and
backs, ended with Daniel Patterson scoring a try under the Carrickfergus Grammar
School posts. James McGucken added the conversion but it was a case of “too little,
too late, for the Friends’ School team as the Carrickfergus Grammar School team
ended the closely contested game as 26-24 winners.