Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 21st March 2015
Monday, 23 March 2015
The Royal Belfast Academical Institution sealed a 30th outright Danske Bank Schools’
Cup win after edging out The Wallace High School 14-10 in a dramatic St. Patrick’s Day
Final at Kingspan Stadium.
Tries from captain Lewis McNamara and winger Jack Conlin, both converted by TJ
Morris, sealed a 34th overall win for the Belfast school. Wallace HS has now lost all
five of their Schools’ Cup Final appearances, with the last three coming at the hands of
RBAI forced two kickable penalties in the opening quarter of an hour but scrumhalf TJ
Morris was off target with both of his attempts.
Despite the dominance showed by Inst in the opening stages it was Wallace HS that
opened the scoring with a neat try in the right hand corner. The forwards were heavily
involved in providing go forward ball and a lovely floated pass, by outhalf Neil
Kilpatrick, gave Connor Guiney space to touch down. Andrew Cardosi’s conversion
attempt was off target from a difficult angle.
Inst captain Lewis McNamara dragged his team back into the game almost immediately
when he powered over beside the posts after excellent work by his fellow forwards. TJ
Morris added the extras to push his side 7-5 ahead going into the break.
Andrew Cardosi had a chance to restore the lead for Wallace just two minutes into the
second half but his penalty effort drifted just wide. However, his teammates continued
to press for a breakthrough and they were rewarded in the 45th minute.
Scrumhalf,Jonny Stewart, pounced on a loose ball from a scrum and fed his No 8, Max
Trouton, who dummied and ran through unopposed to touch down. Andrew Cardosi’s
missed conversion left the score reading 7-10 in favour of the Wallace High School
But RBAI responded in typical fashion as a solid well-driven scrum laid the platform for
a well-executed starter play from their lively backs. TJ Morris sucked in a couple of
defenders and switched play back inside to Jack Conlin who burst through and beat the
covering defenders to touch down for an excellent try. TJ Morris’ conversion put
Belfast Inst 14-10 ahead.
It was a double blow for Wallace who lost influential fullback, Philip Hylands, in the
build up to the score. But the Lisburn boys pushed for a late, decisive score, but heroic
defence kept RBAI’s line intact.
The final whistle was greeted by huge applause and cheers from the RBAI contingent in
the 6361 crowd. Wallace will hope that their good work at Medallion level will mean
they have another realistic shot at that elusive title next year.
RBAI (15-9): Andrew McGregor; Joe Finnegan, Callum McLaughlin, James Hume, Jack
Conlin; Michael Lowry, TJ Morris; (1-8): Jake Chambers, Ryan McComiskey, John
Dickson, Garrett Bell, Connor Wallace, Lewis McNamara (captain), Ethan Harbinson,
Replacements (16-23): Callum Reid, Neil Saulters, Dermot Wallace, Andrew Thompson,
Patrick Nicholas, Matthew Young, Patrick Dolaghan, Ben McGavock.
WALLACE HS (15-9): Philip Hylands; Connor Guiney, Andrew Cardosi, Ryan Wilson, Ben
Finlay; Neil Kilpatrick, Jonny Stewart; (1-8): Jonathan Blair, Ben Pentland, Andrew
Weir, Graham Malley, Patrick Ferguson, Sam Moore (captain), Andrew Irvine, Max
Replacements (16-23): Michael Smyth, Gary Dillon, Nicholas Woods, Tom Baird, Adam
Heaps, Ikenna Nzewi, Adam Black, Gary Chan.
In the build up to the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup final, there was still a lot of
rugby being played in schools in the Province.
Omagh Academy 1stXV travelled to Magherafelt to play the Ulster Clubs U18s to bring
the curtain down on a season to remember for the Co Tyrone players.
This would be the last time their Year 14 pupils would pull on the Omagh Academy shirt
and they were in determined mood to ensure a win would be recorded. Scott Ballantine
got the game underway in horrendous conditions kicking deep into the opposition half.
The Omagh side, as they had done all season, defended resolutely to ensure there was
no easy way out for their Ulster counterparts. The back row trio of James Longwell,
Johnny Anderson and Matthew Clyde were a thorn in the opposition side chopping the
ball carrier to the ground and regularly turning the ball over. From one such turn over,
the ball was moved quickly away from the breakdown reaching team captain, Adam
Stephenson, in the wide channel with just one opposition player to beat. Adam cut
inside leaving the defender grasping at air before touching down for the first score of
the night. Stuart Ballantine, kicking into the wind, was unlucky with the conversion as
the ball dropped just short of the bar. However, it was the Omagh academy team that
had a 5-0 lead.
Omagh were controlling much of the game, including the lineout, where Joshua McKinley
was excelling on his own ball as well as stealing a lot of Ulster throws. He was ably
assisted by his second row partner, Jake Cunningham, who moved a lot of ball off the
top in an attempt to bring Omagh’s exciting back line into the game. Despite the
blustery conditions, Omagh moved the ball effectively, often bringing their wingers,
Chris Hemphill and Andrew Monteith into the game. Omagh extended their lead from
another set piece, this time a scrum. The front row of Matthew Sproule, Ethan
McKeown and Clive Hawkes was made to work hard by their much bigger opposition.
With superior technique the Omagh pack managed to get the squeeze on and turn the
scrum just enough for No 8, Matthew Clyde, to break from the base. Matthew drew
the Ulster flanker before skilfully offloading to scrum half Fintan Lagan who crossed
for the try. Stuart Ballantine converted the try to give his team a well-deserved 12-0
lead at half time.
Both teams used their replacement players in the second half and the deteriorating
weather conditions were having an impact on the game. Both teams were struggling to
gain any real control on the game as it became more and more scrappy. However, under
severe pressure the Omagh defence continued to stand firm. The centre pairing of
Dean Kane, moving up from fullback and filling in for the unavailable Luke Hanson, and
Adam Stephenson, let nothing through all night while full back Daniel Ritchie was
assured under the high ball and was never looked lie missing a tackle when called upon.
Ulster kept coming at the Omagh side but continually their attacks were repelled and
Omagh finally cleared their lines. Ulster had a line out just outside the Omagh 22m
area and moved the ball across the backs to the centre of the pitch. Replacement
Omagh Academy back row, Nathan Sides, tackled his opponent to the ground, regained
his feet and turned over the ball and had the presence of mind to move the ball away
from the breakdown. Once again the ball reached Adam Stephenson who somehow ran
the length of the field to touch down for his second try of the night. Adam beat up to
six Ulster defenders as he made his way on an agile and powerful run from his own 22m
area. Stuart Ballantine was again accurate with the conversion to take the score to 19-
0 in favour of his Omagh Academy team.
This game would finish with all of the Omagh Academy Year 14 pupils on the pitch for
one last time, rounding off a memorable season and their Omagh AcademySchool rugby
playing careers. What better way to finish than beating the Ulster U18 Clubs’ team!
A couple of U13 and U14 tournaments were played recently at Belfast Royal Academy
and Ballymena Academy.
In the Belfast Royal Academy U13 Tournament, it was the Friends’ School, Lisburn
team that emerged as winners after an enjoyable series of games. The Lisburn team
went through five games undefeated and conceded only two tries throughout the
morning. In the group stage of the tournament they defeated Coleraine AI by 12-7,
Ballymena Academy by 12-0 and Ballyclare High School by 32-0. The semi-final game
was against Grosvenor Grammar School, a game the Friends’ School team won by 31-5.
The final game of the tournament saw the Friends’ School team play the host team
from Belfast Royal Academy. In an exciting final the Friends’ School team recorded a
21-0 victory. For the Friends’ School team Reece Malone distributed the ball with
speed, accuracy and precision in all the games. Stuart Patterson, in the Friends’
midfield, took full advantage of the constant supply of quality possession and proved to
be threat in all his games. Ben Greenhill started the tournament off by playing in the
second row. He finished the tournament by playing in the centre and scoring a hat trick
All the schools participating in the Belfast Royal Academy U13 Tournament would like
to thank Chris McCarey, and the Rugby Staff at BRA, for the invitation to attend and
play in this very enjoyable tournament.
Meanwhile, the annual O’Kane Sponsored U14 Tournament was taking place at Ballymena
Academy with a large number of schools participating. The very strong Ballyclare High
School team defeated Wallace High School by 19-0 in what turned out to be an
excellent final. In the Plate Final the Ballymena Academy U14 team defeated the
Grosvenor Grammar School U14 team.
All schools participating in the O’Kane U14 Tournament would like to thank John
Andrews and the Ballymena Academy Rugby Staff for the invitation to attend and play
in this very popular tournament.
In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Cup, Down High School hosted Ballymena
Academy in a game that finished as a 3-3 draw. In the replay of this game, on Saturday
21st March, Down High School travelled to Ballymena Academy and came away with a 13-
7 win. The Down High School team will now travel to play Belfast Royal Academy in one
of the semi-final games in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Cup. The second
semi-final will feature Methodist College against Royal Belfast Academical Insitution
who travelled to Wallace High School and came away with a 5-0 victory at the end of
their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Cup quarter-final game played on Friday 20th
The Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Cup final was played at Osborne Park on
Saturday 21st March. The Royal Belfast Academical Institution Colts 4thxv team
defeated the Royal Belfast Academical Institution 3rdxv team by 13-10 in the final.
Following the game, John McKibbin, Junior Vice –President and Honorary Secretary of
the Ulster Branch, IRFU, presented the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Cup to the
winning captain and the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Cup final medals to players
from both teams.
In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Plate Campbell College 3rdxv travelled to
play Shimna Integrated College and came away with a 23-14 win. Campbell College will
now host Ballyclare High School in the quarter-final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’
3rdxv Cup. Wallace High School defeated Royal School, Armagh by 38-0 in the same
competition to gain a place in the semi-final of the 3rdxv Plate. St Columb’s College
defeated St Columba’s College, Stranorlar by 17-14 to take their place in the semi-final
of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Plate competition. The final quarter-final
game in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Plate will see Coleraine AI host their
close rivals from Ballymena Academy.
The Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Subsidiary Shield final took place at the Kingspan
Stadium when Ballymena Academy played Down High School in an entertaining game on
Thursday 19th March. The Ballymena team had built up a narrow 6-3 lead by the break
before going on to finish their season in style and win the game by 20-10. The result
will provide some consolation for Ballymena, who exited the Danske Bank Ulster
Schools’ Cup at the third round after an 18-10 loss to Methodist College.
It was Down HS that dominated the opening exchanges with Zac Ward, Rory Kerr and
Luke Sandford particularly prominent around the park. However, the Ballymena defence
was resolute and they were able to launch some attacks of their own although they
were unable to cross the whitewash. Both sides were unsuccessful with penalty
opportunities before Ballymena outhalf. Andrew Magrath, registered the first points of
the game from the tee on the half hour mark to give his team a 3-0 lead. However,
Down HS fullback Joe Bingham kicked a penalty two minutes later to draw level but
there was still time for Andrew Magrath to push his side ahead with another three
points on the stroke of half time.
Both teams had opportunities after the break but it was Ballymena who made the first
breakthrough in the 42nd minute. Joe Thompson and Jonny McKeown were involved in
the initial burst before Andrew Magrath sent Angus Kernohan racing clear to score
under the posts. Andrew added the conversion to give his Ballymena team a 13-3 lead.
Most of the next period of the game was played in the middle third of the pitch and,
despite some good phases by both teams, the defences were on top. The result was
sealed for Ballymena when captain, Josh McIlroy, started and finished an attack five
minutes from the end. Andrew Magrath’s conversion extended the Ballymena advantage
Joe Bingham got a consolation score for the Down High School team at the death when
he collected the ball in his own 22m area and outpaced the tiring Ballymena Academy
defence to touch down for a fine individual try. His conversion reduced the deficit to
20-10 as the final whistle sounded following an excellent game of schoolboy rugby. This
ensured it was the Ballymena Academy team that celebrated their hard earned Danske
Bank Ulster Schools’ Subsidiary Shield 20-10 victory against a gallant Down High
Following the game presentations took place to both teams with Carol Wilson,
representing the Danske Bank sponsors, presenting the medals to both teams. John
Kinnear, President of the Ulster Branch, IRFU, then presented the Danske Bank Ulster
Schools’ Subsidiary Shield to Josh McElroy, captain of the victorious Ballymena
Royal School, Armagh defeated Grosvenor Grammar School by 20-10 in the semi-final
of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Plate. The RS Armagh team will play the
winners of the Friends’ School, Lisburn v Dalriada School Danske Bank Ulster Schools’
2ndxv Plate semi-final game.
The Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Sevens Tournament was superbly well hosted by
Campbell College on Saturday 21st March.
Ballymena Academy survived a tough semi-final encounter against Campbell College
before going on to defeat Coleraine Academical Institution in the final of the Senior
Carrickfergus Grammar School defeated a second Campbell College team in the final of
the Junior Sevens competition.
The Medallion competition was won by Friends’ School who defeated Sullivan Upper in
All the schools involved in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Seven-a-Side Tournament
would like to thank the Principal and Governors of Campbell College, John McKinney,
Brian Robinson and the staff at Campbell College for all their hard work and
organisation involved in hosting this prestigious competition. The players involved, from
every school in the province, thoroughly enjoyed playing in the various competitions.
The Friends’ School 1stxv finished their season off with a trip to Scotland where they
played games against Ayr RFC U18’s and then Boroughmuir RFC U18’s in Edinburgh. The
squad then attended the Six Nations game at Murrayfield where they watched the
Ireland team succeed in their quest to win the Six Nations Championship.
The Friends’ School team won their game against a physically much bigger Ayr RFC U18
team by 17-12. Friends’ took a 5-0 lead after five minutes when No 8, Thomas Boyde,
displayed good control at the back of a rolling maul and touched down for an
unconverted try. Ayr went back to respond immediately using their clear height and
weight advantage over the Friends’ team. They weren’t behind for long as their
forwards rumbled over the Friends’ School line to touch down for an unconverted try
and level the scores at 5-5. It wasn’t long before Ayr took a 12-5 lead with a well
worked converted try scored under the Friends’ School posts. However, the Friends’
team recovered from this setback when their winger, Owen Beckett, went over in the
corner to score an unconverted try which reduced the arrears to 12-10 at the break.
The second half was as evenly contested as the first with both teams being very
physical at the breakdown and not willing to give anything away in defence. There were
a number of opportunities for both teams to score points but both defences held firm.
That was until the Friends’ team was awarded got a penalty in the Ayr half fifty
minutes into the game. James McGucken put his team into a strong position fifteen
metres from the opposition try line. Friends’ attacked through a well-organised rolling
maul following the lineout and, after making good ground No8, Thomas Boyde, broke
away and used good strength and pace to go over line for a try. Out-half, James
McGucken, converted from a tricky position making the score Ayr 12 Friends’ School
17. There was not much time left in the game and Friends’ saw it out comfortably to
record a hard earned victory. Friends’ School, Lisburn would like to thank Ayr Rugby
Football Club for hosting the game and for the excellent hospitality provided
In the second game of their two match tour, Friends’ played Boroughmuir RFC in
another close encounter which the Friends’ School team won by 29-21. Friends’ started
the game confidently and Curtis Dundas went over the try line touch down for an
unconverted try to give his team an early 5-0 lead. Boroughmuir U18’s got back into the
game immediately with two quick breakaway tries, both of which were converted, to
take a 14-5 lead. Then, on the stroke of half time, the Friends’ School scrum half,
Adam Schofield, reduced the arrears to 14-10 when he darted over the line to score an
The second half was much more expensive with both teams wanting to play more
running rugby. Friends’ were rewarded with this by forcing penalties from the
opposition. Good use of quality possession from a lineout finished with Thomas Boyde
touching down for yet another try. James McGucken added the extras to put the
Lisburn boys into a 17-14 lead. Thomas then scored his fourth try of the tour when he
took advantage of a similar scenario a few minutes later. The conversion attempt was
unsuccessful but the Friends’ School lead had extended to 22-14. Boroughmuir U18’s
responded swiftly with a try and conversion to reduce the deficit to just one point with
the score reading 22-21 in favour of the Friends’ School team. The Friends’ School
team secured their 29-21 win when Zac Campbell took advantage of a clever turnover
to touch down for a try. James McGucken converted the try to ensure the Friends’
School, Lisburn win.
Friends’ School would like to thank Boroughmuir RFC for hosting the game and for
their excellent hospitality at the post-match reception..