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
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
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
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