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Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 21st February 2015

Monday, 23 February 2015

There was one midweek Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Trophy Semi-Final game

played in the lead up to four Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Quarter-Final games,

four Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Subsidiary Shield Quarter-Final games and two

Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Bowl Semi-Final games played on Saturday 21st February.

 

The Royal Belfast Academical Institution was able to welcome Michael Lowry, their

talented Year 12 outhalf, back for their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Quarter-final

clash against the Royal School, Armagh team. Michael had a significant influence on the

final outcome of the game, which his team won by 23-0, with an assured performance

for the Belfast Inst team. The Belfast Inst team set their stall out from the start of

the game and went on to control both territory as well as possession for large parts of

the game. Early Belfast Inst pressure resulted in two penalties awarded against the

Royal School, Armagh team. TJ Morris was successful with both kicks to put his team

into a 6-0 lead. Midway through the first half Michael Lowry created an opportunity to

put his captain, Lewis McNamara, into space. Lewis displayed some deft footwork to

outwit a despairing Royal School, Armagh defence and run in for a touchdown. TJ

Morris was successful with the conversion to put the Belfast Inst team into a

comfortable 13-0 lead. The Royal School, Armagh team responded in a positive manner

with their captain, Michael Thompson, ably assisted by Philip Matthews, Chris Jennings

and Matthew McSorley asking questions of the Belfast Inst defence, However, they

could find no way through a very well organised and very disciplined Inst defence. The

home defence held firm and they took their 13-0 lead into the break.

The second half saw the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team really take the

initiative and put the Royal School, Armagh team under pressure. The Belfast Inst

backrow trio of Lewis McNamara, Patrick Nicholas and Ethan Harbinson was winning the

battle at the breakdown. Ethan Harbinson scored an early second half unconverted try

to put his team into an 18-0 lead. Proceedings were delayed somewhat to enable staff

to tend to a Belfast Inst player who had picked up an ankle injury. Once the game

restarted the RS Armagh team took play into Belfast Inst territory. They were chasing

the game but, apart from an unsuccessful 40m penalty attempt, they found difficulty in

creating any real points scoring opportunities. Michael Lowry, James Hume and Jack

Conlin then combined to seal the game for the Belfast Inst team. They created the

space for replacement player, Ben McGavock, to run in for a fine try. The conversion

attempt was unsuccessful but the Royal Belfast Acadedmical Institution team had

secured a well-deserved 23-0 win against the Royal School, Armagh team at the end of

this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Quarter-Final game.

 

Coleraine Academical Institution hosted Omagh Academy in a Danske Bank Ulster

Schools’ Cup Quarter-Final game that marked the end of an era at Coleraine AI.

Regardless of the outcome of the game, it was significant due to the fact it was their

last home game in the 140 year history of the competition. The school, which has won

the competition nine times and been runner up a further 24 times, is set to join with

the local all-girls school, Coleraine High School, to form a new co-educational Voluntary

Grammar School, called Coleraine Grammar School. The new school will open in

September 2015 and transition planning is well underway. As well as enjoying multiple

victories in the competition, many future internationals learned their skills at Coleraine

Inst, including Ulster and Ireland stars, Andrew Trimble and Jonathan Bell.

Speaking about the historic fixture, Dr David Carruthers, Principal Designate for

Coleraine Grammar School, said:

“A quarter final game in the Schools’ Cup is always an exciting time for the whole

school, but this year it has added significance as it marks the final stages of a long and

proud history for Coleraine Academical Institution in the competition, representing the

last home game to be played under the Coleraine Inst name. We are of course hopeful

that CAI’s involvement in this year’s competition doesn’t end here and look forward to a

close battle with Omagh Academy to try and secure a semi-final berth at the new

Kingspan stadium. Whilst this is the end of an era it is also the start of an exciting new

chapter for children entering post-primary education in the Coleraine area and we look

forward to starting a new history in the Schools’ Cup competition under the banner of

Coleraine Grammar School, beginning in September this year.”

As it turned out the Coleraine Academical Institution team defeated a very

workmanlike Omagh Academy team by 22-9 and thereby ensured a Coleraine AI team

will play at least one more game in this season’s Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup

competition.

The Coleraine AI team started well in front of an enthusiastic group of supporters.

They took play immediately into Omagh Academy territory and pressurised the visitors

into giving away an early penalty following an infringement at a ruck. Callum Smith

stepped up and confidently converted the penalty kick to give his team a 3-0 with just

three minutes on the clock. Six minutes later Coleraine AI extended their lead when

Daniel McAllister powered his way over from short range. Callum Smith converted the

try to put the Coleraine AI team into a 10-0 lead. The Omagh Academy team recovered

from these early setbacks and took play into Coleraine AI territory. They were

starting to dominate at the set pieces and, following a penalty against the home team at

scrum time, reduced the arrears to 10-3 when Stuart Ballentine was successful with

the kick The Coleraine AI team then took play deep into Omagh Academy territory but

Omagh Academy displayed great bouncebackability and went on to dominate possession,

as well as territory, for the remainder of the first half. The Coleraine AI defence was

pressurised into giving away penalties, two of which were converted by Stuart

Ballentine, to leave the Coleraine AI team with a 15-9 lead at the half time break.

The Omagh Academy team started well in the second half and went on to control

possession and territory for long periods of time. Matthew Clyde, James Longwell and

Ethan McKeown impressed with their ball carrying ability and asked questions of the

Coleraine AI team. Luke Hanson, Dean Kane and Adam Stephenson caused problems for

the Coleraine AI midfield and might consider themselves unfortunate not to have

scored at least one try. They had opportunities to reduce the arrears even further but

two penalty chances, in the 40th and 46th minutes, were missed. Despite losing a player

to the sin bin, in the final minutes of the game, it was the Coleraine AI team that

finished the stronger of the two teams. With little time remaining, and having

weathered a number of Omagh Academy attacks, the Coleraine AI team laid siege on

the Omagh Academy line. Their advances were spurned on a number of occasions with a

well-organised defence. However, the Coleraine AI pack eventually wore down the

Omagh Academy defence and Alastair Corbett rounded off some good work by his

forwards when he scored a try with the last play of the game. Callum Smith added the

conversion to secure a 22-9 win for the Coleraine Academical Institution team at the

end of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Quarter-Final game.

The “Match of the Day” tag went to the game featuring Campbell College, Belfast

against Methodist College, Belfast which was played at the famous Fox’s Field venue.

The Methodist College team won the game by 20-14. They laid down early markers and

went on to control the game, in terms of territory and possession, for long periods of

time. The early domination by the Methody team paid off when Robert Lyttle

converted a penalty opportunity to give his team a 3-0 lead. The visitors continued to

take the game to the Campbell College team and got due reward for their domination. A

well-organised driven maul took them close to the Campbell College line. The Methody

team displayed great discipline and, following a series of “picks and goes”, Daniel

Coulter found a gap in the Campbell defence and finished off a strong drive with a try.

The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Methodist College team had taken an

8-0 lead. Then a change of Methodist College tactics saw them move the ball through

the hands of their backs on a number of occasions. Ali McIvor created the space for

the Methody winger, Conor Kelly, to get the ball in space. Conor took on his opposite

number and gained valuable ground on the outside of the Campbell College defence. A

clever inside pass to the supporting Robert Lyttle presented the Methodist College full

back with the opportunity to score a try under the Campbell College posts. The

conversion kick was a formality for Robert who put his Methody team into a 15-0 lead

coming up to the interval.

The second half saw the Campbell College team stage something of a recovery following

their first half performance. They took the play deep into Methodist College territory

and spent periods of time close to the Methody whitewash. Eventually, they made the

break through when their hard working forward, Jack Barry Glendinning, crashed over

for a deserved try. Cameron Stewart added the extras to reduce the deficit to 15-7.

The Methodist College team responded positively and a clever spin and break from

Gareth Millar opened up the Campbell College defence. A clever exchange of passes,

involving both forwards and backs, finished with the Methodist College captain, Saul

Herdman, touching down for a try in the corner. The conversion attempt was missed

but the Methodist College team had extended their lead to 20-7 midway through the

second half. The Campbell College team recovered to create a number of try scoring

opportunities in the final quarter of the game. However, they found it difficult to get

anything out of the Methodist College defence. Despite having a numerical advantage

there was no way through for the Campbell College team. That was until the final

minute of the game when replacement scrum half, Malcolm Corry, sniped his way

through the Methody defence to score a try. He converted the try to leave the final

result of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Quarter-Final game reading Campbell

College 14 Methodist College 20.

Ballyclare High School knew they had nothing to lose when they hosted Wallace High

School in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Quarter-Final game at the Rashee Road

venue. The Wallace High School team, favourites to win the Danske Bank Ulster

Schools’ Cup, had to work hard before they came away from Ballyclare with a hard

earned 11-3 victory. In a physical and, at times, abrasive game both teams showed

commitment in contact in the early stages. It was Wallace High School who opened the

scoring with an Andrew Cardosi penalty to take a 3-0 lead. Ballyclare responded

positively with a Matthew McDowell penalty to level the score at 3-3. The next score

was going to be vital and it was the Wallace High School team that got it! Following a

series a close quarter attacks on the Ballyclare High School line a succession of

forward surges took their toll on the home defence. Andrew Irvine spotted a gap in the

home defence and powered his way over the line from close range. The conversion kick

was unsuccessful but the Wallace High School team had established an 8-3 lead. That

lead was extended to 11-3 when Andrew Cardosi was successful with his second penalty

of the game. Wallace had a number of opportunities to add to their tally but it was

Ballyclare High School who finished the half strongly. Some committed tackling from

the Wallace back row held their line intact and a couple of missed penalties from the

Ballyclare team ensured the Wallace High School team held on to their 11-3 lead at the

half time break. .

The second half was something of a stalemate with both defences on top. Wallace High

School again had a number of opportunities in the Ballyclare 22m area. However, they

were held up over the line twice by some heroic tackling from Ballyclare High School

players such as Jack Magee, Jack Black and Jack Lewis. Ben Pentland, Ben Finlay, Philip

Hylands, Andrew Cardosi, Jonny Stewart and Andrew Ervine got through a lot of work

for the Wallace High School team but there were no further scores. This ensured it

was the Wallace High School team that finished this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup

Quarter-Final game as 11-3 winners.

In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Subsidiary Shield the tie of the round was the

game in Holywood where Sullivan Upper entertained Ballymena Academy. Both teams

were still hurting from their Round 3 exits in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup and

both were determined to get a run in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Subsidiary

Shield competition. The Ballymena Academy team started strongly and were awarded an

early penalty which Andrew Magrath slotted confidently to give his team a 3-0 lead. .

Five minutes later, Josh McIlroy was first to a loose ball and, following a kick ahead,

the Ballymena captain showed outstanding pace to win the race for the touchdown.

Andrew Magrath made no mistake with the conversion to increase the Ballymena

Academy lead to 10-0. The Sullivan Upper team rallied and, following a sustained period

of pressure deep in the Ballymena 22, their powerful pack, with Peter Cooper and Conor

McEvoy to the fore, drove over for a try in the corner. Peter Cooper was awarded the

touch down which was not converted but the deficit had been reduced to 10-5. The

Ballymena team, with Joe Thompson, Alexander Clarke and Marcus Rea impressing with

their endeavours, increased their lead to 13-5 with another penalty from Andrew

Magrath. Following a series of infringements, Ballymena found themselves reduced to

fourteen men and the Sullivan pack began to dominate the set piece. However, despite

dominating aspects of play, they were unable to create any real points scoring

opportunities and it was the Ballymena Academy that took their 13-5 lead into the half

time break.

Sullivan Upper started the second half as they had finished the first by continuing to

dominate scrum and lineout. Several drives from close range resulted in a deserved try

from Conor McEvoy early in the second period. The try was not converted but the

Sullivan Upper team had reduced the arrears to 13-10. Now back to fifteen men,

Ballymena came back into the game with Joe Thompson, Alexander Clarke and Marcus

Rea regularly making ground with the ball in hand. Joe was particularly impressive with

his “hard yards” and, following several quick rucks, the ball was moved wide to Josh

McIlroy who dived over for his second try of the game. Andrew Magrath’s conversion

was successful as the Ballymena Academy team stretched their lead to 20-10. As the

game neared its conclusion, it was Ballymena who looked more likely to score again with

Josh Bill and Dean Reynolds making ground into the opposition territory. Following a

turn-over on the halfway line, Jack Archer moved the ball into space and Andrew

Magrath beat the tiring Sullivan Upper defence to race home from forty metres.

Andrew converted his own try to ensure a 27-10 victory for his Ballymena academy

team at the end of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Subsidiary Shield Quarter-Final

game.

 

Regent House entertained the Carrickfergus Grammar School team in the Danske Bank

Ulster Schools’ Subsidiary Shield at the Circular Road venue. The Regent House team

had opened a 12-0 lead by half time before going on to win the game eventually by 12-8.

The Regent House team took an early control of the game and hemmed the

Carrickfergus Grammar School into their 22m area for large parts of the first half.

They came close to scoring tries on a number of occasions but were thwarted by a

combination of good Carrickfergus GS defence and a number of poor decisions by the

Regent House ball carriers. However, the Regent House team managed eventually to get

the first points on the board when Alex Hendriske ran in for a try. Taylor Nutt added

the extras to give his team a 7-0 lead. Further Regent pressure presented Jonny

Harris, the Regent House captain, with the opportunity to score a try. The conversion

attempt was unsuccessful but the Regent House lead had been extended to 12-0, a lead

they held until the interval.

The start of the second half saw the Regent team come closed to scoring more points

on a number of occasions. However, they failed to do so and the Carrickfergus Grammar

School team seemed to take a degree of confidence from this. Tom Gilpin and Fionn

McCormack combined with the hard working Adam Urquhart who scored an unconverted

try to reduce the arrears to 12-5. Then David Carse converted a penalty opportunity to

take the scoreboard to 12-8 in favour of the Regent House team. The Carrickfergus

Grammar School team then missed three kickable penalties which ensured it was the

Regent House team that finished this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Subsidiary Shield

Quarter-Final game as 12-8 winners.

 

Down High School hosted Bangor Grammar School on their recently commissioned new

1stxv pitch when the teams met in the quarter-final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’

Subsidiary Shield. Conditions were ideal for running rugby and, from the outset, Down

High showed attacking intent. They moved the ball well and strung phases of play

together very successfully. This early pressure soon presented a scoring opportunity

when a penalty was awarded after a Bangor infringement at the ruck but Joe Bingham’s

kick drifted wide of the posts. As the half developed the Down High pack began to

gain the upper hand at set piece and players were also making more line breaks. Ross

Carlisle, Zac Ward and Rory Kerr all made noticeable carries into Bangor Grammar

School territory. On the fifteen minute mark all the Down High pressure led to a score.

Captain, Nathan Gibson, showed great strength to run in from ten metres out,

shrugging off two tacklers in the process and stretching over the line for an

unconverted try, to give his team a 5-0 lead. A few minutes later Down High extended

their lead by three points when Joe Bingham slotted a penalty. Rory Kerr had made

another incisive break and after he was tackled one of the Bangor arriving players at

the breakdown went off their feet. Bangor did up their game in the closing ten minutes

of the first half and, with the help of some lacklustre Down High defence, made a few

decent breaks up field, including one from their own 22m area. They did manage to

reduce the deficit to five points on the twenty five minute mark when their full back

landed a long range penalty after a Down High tackler had failed to roll away from the

tackle area. This left the score at 8-3, in favour of the Down High School team, going

into half time.

In the second half Down High notched their efforts up a gear, especially in defence.

Within three minutes of the restart they had forced an error in Bangor’s handling and,

from the resultant scrum, Thomas Forson made a break before offloading to Joe

Bingham, Joe touched down out wide but missed the difficult conversion. However, his

team now had a 13-3 lead. It wasn’t long before the Down High team was back in try

scoring mode. After stringing together a number of phases, that included a decisive

carry by Duncan Ross, Zac Ward ultimately showed superb heart and channelled

aggression to fight his way through three defenders and reach for an unconverted try

which gave his team an 18-3 lead. With five minutes to go Down High put the icing on

the cake when Joe Bingham made a scintillating break from just inside his own half. He

was stopped eventually around the opposition 22m line. Down High quickly recycled the

ball and proceeded to move the ball through a number of phases including another

impressive Zac Ward carry. In a fitting end to this passage of play, Joe Bingham took a

pass and ran in for a try which he converted himself. This left the score reading 25-3

in favour of the Down High School team at the end of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’

Subsidiary Shield Quarter-Final game.

 

Portora Royal School travelled to play Limavady Grammar School in the Danske Bank

Ulster Schools’ Subsidiary Shield and returned home with a convincing 27-3 win under

their belts. In a game played in very wet, cold and windy conditions it was the home

team that took an early 3-0 lead when Scott McLean converted a penalty kick. The

Portora RS team struck back almost immediately when Marcus Crawford ran in for an

unconverted try to see his team into a 5-3 lead. Despite the conditions deteriorating

and snow falling, the Portora RS team maintained a good tempo and played positive

rugby. Close to half time Andrew Crawford scored a try, which Adam Lendrum

converted, to increase the Portora RS lead to 12-3 at the interval.

Shortly after the restart Adam Lendrum extended that lead to 15-3 when he was

successful with another penalty kick. Then Ryan Egerton rounded off a super Portora

team effort when he crossed the Limavady GS line to touch down for an unconverted

try and put his team into a 20-3 lead. With the final play of the game the Portora Royal

School full back, Robert Balocoune, capped a fine personal performance when he cut a

great line through the Limavady Grammar School defence and finish off with a try.

Adam Lendrum added the conversion to secure the 27-3 win for the Portora Royal

School at the end of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Quarter-Final game.

There were two Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Bowl Semi-Final gamers played on

Saturday 21st February.

 

The Dalriada School team was 11-0 down at half time against Banbridge Academy

before staging a second half recovery and winning their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’

Bowl Semi-Final game by 19-11. In a game that proved to be a great example of all that

is positive about rugby in schools in Ulster, Daniel McElderry gave his Banbridge

Academy team an early 3-0 lead when he converted a third minute penalty. This became

6-0, midway through the first half, when Daniel was successful with his second penalty

of the game. Just before the break, further Banbridge Academy pressure released

Ross Cartmill into space. He touched down for an unconverted try to put his team into

an 11-0 lead at half time.

The Dalriada School team had to raise their standard of performance in the course of

the second half. The power and pace of their second half performance caused problems

for the Banbridge defence. The Dalriada team scored three second half tries through

Angus Johnston, Alan Montgomery and Barney McConaghie. Aaron Sparks converted

two of the tries to ensure the Dalriada team entered the final ten minutes with an

eight point cushion. The Banbridge Academy team could find no way through to reduce

the deficit and the Dalriada School team ran out as winners of this Danske Bank Ulster

Schools’ Bowl Semi-Final game.

 

Rainey Endowed School hosted Foyle and Londonderry College in a Danske Bank Ulster

Schools’ Bowl semi-Final game which the Rainey Endowed School team won by 14-10.

The Foyle College team got off to an absolute flyer and took a 7-0 lead in the first

minute of the game. Thomas Cole stormed in for a try, which Alex McDonnell

converted, following a lack of midfield defence from the home team from the kick off.

The Rainey team recovered and controlled the game for long periods of the first half.

However, they could not convert the territorial advantage into points. Indeed, the

Foyle College team looked threatening on the break, at times. They might have added

to their score only to be let down, on a number of occasions, by the final pass.

The second half started off with the Rainey Endowed team drawing the score level at

7-7. Quality possession provided Mark Allingham with the opportunity to score a try

which was converted by Mark Rooney. The Foyle team recovered and regained the lead,

at 10-7, when Alex McDonnell successfully converted a penalty opportunity. The Rainey

Endowed team then stepped up a gear and Anton Lupari scored a try. With Mark

Rooney adding the conversion the Rainey ES team had a 14-10 lead going into the final

few minutes of the game. The Foyle College team went all out to regain the lead but the

Rainey Endowed team stood firm and thwarted the Foyle and Londonderry College

advances. This ensured it was the Rainey Endowed School team that finished this

Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Bowl Semi-Final game as 14-10 winners.

When all the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup and Subsidiary Shield results came

through the draws for the semi-final stages of both competitions took place at

Coleraine Academical Institution.

 

The draw for the semi-finals of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Subsidiary Shield was

made by Terry O’ Doherty, representing the Danske Bank, and Dr David Carruthers,

Principal of Coleraine Academical Institution. The results of the draw are as follows:-

Portora Royal School v Ballymena Academy

Regent House v Down High School

These games are scheduled to be played on Saturday 7th Match.

The draw for the semi-finals of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup was made by

Terry O’ Doherty, representing the Danske Bank and Chris Webster, Domestic Rugby

Manager of Ulster Rugby. The results of the draw are as follows:-

Coleraine Academical Institution v Royal Belfast Academical Institution

This game is scheduled to be played at the Kingspan Stadium on Tuesday 3rd March

Methodist College, Belfast v Wallace High School

This game is scheduled to be played at the Kingspan Stadium on Thursday 5th March

Kick off times in both the semi-final games are to be confirmed.

 

The final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy competition will take place at

Banbridge Academy on Wednesday 25th February. Royal School, Dungannon, the current

holders of the Trophy, will meet Lurgan College in the Trophy final which is scheduled

to kick off at 2-30pm.

 

The final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Bowl competition will take place at Eaton

Park, home of Ballymena RFC, on Wednesday 4th March. Dalriada School will meet the

Rainey Endowed School team in the Bowl final which is scheduled to kick off at 2-30pm