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Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 23rd January 2016

Monday, 25 January 2016

There were several Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield games as well as one Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Trophy game and one 1stxv friendly game played midweek in the lead up to one Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy game played on Friday 22nd January and eight Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup matches and three Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy matches played on Saturday 23rdJanuary. There were also two Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield games and three 1stxv friendly games played on Saturday 23rd.

On Monday 18th January Omagh Academy and Dromore High School played their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield game. The Omagh Academy team finished the game as 28-3 winners.

In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield two postponed games took place on Tuesday 19th January. Larne Grammar School and Limavady Grammar School played out a 0-0 draw. The replay for this game will take place on Monday 25th January.  Meanwhile, in Armagh the Royal School, Armagh team recorded a 35-0 victory against Down High School.

Also on Tuesday 19th January Foyle and Londonderry College defeated Wellington College, Belfast by 55-14 in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Trophy Quarter-Final.

The Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy Quarter-Final featuring Cambridge House Grammar School and Strabane Academy, which was scheduled for Friday 22nd January, was postponed because of unplayable ground conditions. The arrangements for the replay of this game are to be confirmed but should be played by Wednesday 27th January.

The postponed Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield game, featuring Rainey Endowed School and Regent House School, was played on Friday 22nd January at the Meadowbank Sports Arena in Magherafelt. The Rainey Endowed School team won the game by 26-0. “Man of the Match” Karl Warner scored three tries and kicked three conversions for the Rainey Endowed School team with Bryan Hall scoring the fourth try. The Rainey Endowed School team will now travel to play Ballyclare High School in the next round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield.

In another postponed Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield game Friends’ School, Lisburn travelled to play Ballymena Academy on Saturday 23rd January. The Friends’ School team put on a great performance and came away with a 26-5 victory. The Friends’ School team will now travel to play the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team in the next round.  The Ballymena Academy team will travel to play Regent House in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Bowl competition. Portora Royal School and Banbridge Academy played out a 3-3 draw in their postponed Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield game. The replay should take place by Tuesday 26th January.

Belfast Royal Academy defeated Grosvenor Grammar School by 31-14 when the teams met in the second round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup at the Roughfort playing fields. Despite going 7-0 down in the first minute of the game the Belfast Royal Academy team went on to build up a 21-7 lead by the half time break. The Grosvenor GS team could not have got off to a better start when, from the first scrum of the game, Mark Courtney sliced through the home defence to put Daniel Martin in for a try in the corner. Adam Skelton added the conversion to give the Grosvenor team a 7-0 lead. The BRA team then got some quality possession and began to pressurise the Grosvenor GS defence. Some strong running from the midfield eventually yielded three penalties for the BRA team. Michael Wilson converted all three to give his team a 9-7 lead. Despite the best defensive efforts of players such as Adam Skelton, Thomas Quinn and Jos McConkey there was little they could do to prevent Jack Burton scoring a try, which Michael Wilson converted, to increase the BRA lead to 16-7. The BRA halfbacks made good use of the wind to pin the Grosvenor team back into their 22m area. Eventually the pressure told and good work from Tom Gilpin put Francis Collins in for an unconverted try to leave the Belfast Royal Academy team with a 21-7 lead at the break.

The BRA pressure continued in the second half and a try from Jay McCrum, which was converted by Michael Wilson, increased their lead to 28-7. Michael then added another penalty to put the game beyond the reach of the Grosvenor Grammar School team with the score board reading 31-7. From that stage on the Grosvenor GS team worked hard with Ben Davison, Andrew Boyd, Ben Davis and Taylor Pollock all getting through a lot of work. However, the accuracy the Grosvenor GS team had built up during the season eluded them due in no small part to the well-organised and aggressive Belfast Royal Academy defence. With time running out the Grosvenor GS team got some reward for their endeavours when Jack Mahon took advantage of quality possession from a lineout to rumble over the whitewash for a try. Adam Skelton added the extras to leave the final score reading 31-14 in favour of the Belfast Royal Academy team.

When former Friends’ School, Lisburn player, Stephen Ferris, heard that the Friends’ School team had travelled to Portadown and won their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ game against Portadown College by 20-11 there was a large smile on his face. Stephen suggested he might have a quiet word with his good friend, Rory Best, a former Portadown College player, after the Ulster v Oyonnax game. The Friends’ School, Lisburn team overcame their pre-match billing as underdogs, having lost to the same opposition just before Christmas, to put on an impressive performance in this game and emerge as deserved winners. Intensity and physicality from the outset was high with both teams struggling to gain a foothold in the early stages of the game. Portadown peppered the Friends’ defence and forced penalties from the Lisburn side. The stalemate broke with a Friends’ penalty proving costly and gave the Portadown College team a 3-0 lead when fly half, Michael Orr, converted the penalty kick. They continued to put pressure on the Friends’ School team but got little out of an unyielding defence. Eventually, the Friends’ School team got points on the board when David Stewart converted a penalty kick following a Portadown College infringement at the breakdown. More and more penalties were then conceded by Friends’ at the lineouts but it was a mistake on the ground which set up another chance for Portadown to take a shot at the posts. The chance was taken and converted once again by Michael Orr to put his team into a 6-3 lead. The Friends’ School team responded positively and took play deep into the Portadown College 22m area. The physicality of the Portadown defence kept the Friends’ attack at bay and a crucial knock on by the Friends’ School team close to the line ensured the teams turned around at half time with the Portadown College team 6-3 ahead.

The second half told a different story with four tries scored. Within the first five minutes of the restart Friends’ hit with power and pace through Chris Nesbitt. Three phases later the ball went blind and some good offloading play set winger, Alex O’Brien, off down the touch line. He cut through a number of despairing defenders to touch down for the first try of the game, which was not converted to give the Friends’ School team an 8-6 lead. The second try came shortly after in much the same manner. The restart came to James Maxwell and after moving the ball side to side David Newell was released to run in for an unconverted to increase the Friends’ School lead to 13-6. Portadown would not let their heads drop and came back with the intent to score. They stepped up their intensity took play deep into the Friends’ half. With strong carries from Matthew Neill and James Wright forcing the Friends’ School team into making mistakes the home team was rewarded with a try from Ryan Daly. The try was not converted but the Portadown College had reduced the deficit to 13-11. However, the Friends’ School team then went on to seal their victory when Adam Schoffield, Adam Milligan and Kirk McGrady all combined to send Bart Campbell in for a try. David Stewart added the extras to ensure it was the Friends’ School, Lisburn team that finished this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round 2 game as 20-11 winners.
Bangor Grammar School defeated Limavady Grammar School by 36-13 when the teams met in their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round 2 encounter on Saturday 23rd January. The Bangor Grammar School team had built up a 10- leads by the interval before going on to dominate proceedings in the second half. The Bangor team had to work hard in the course of the first half before going on to break down what could only be described as a resolute Limavady Grammar School defence. Good work from their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ player, Matthew Agnew, saw him score two unconverted tries to give the Bangor Grammar School team a 10-0 lead after just fifteen minutes of the game. The Limavady Grammar School team then responded with two penalties from the accurate boot of Jim McCartney, midway through the first half, to reduce the arrears to 10-6. No further first half points from either team ensured it was the Bangor Grammar School team that took their 10-6 lead into the break.

The second half saw the Bangor GS team control territory and possession for long periods of time. They adopted an all-out attacking approach and this was rewarded with two tries from centre, Charlie Blair, as well as one try each from Martin Withers and Thomas Boyd. Zach Kerr converted three of these tries. The Limavady Grammar School team was constructive when they did acquire some possession and Mark Woods kept up his fine Schools’ Cup campaign try scoring achievements with a try in the final quarter of the game. Jim McCartney was successful with his conversion attempt to leave the final score reading 36-13 in favour of the Bangor Grammar School team at the end of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game.

Regent House and Portora Royal School played out a closely contested Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game which the Regent House team won by 14-13.  Despite Regent House dominating the opening exchanges in the game it was the Portora Royal School team that took ma 3-0 lead when Reece Smyton converted a penalty opportunity following a Regent error at the breakdown. Regent House remained in control but could find any way through a resilient Portora Royal School defence in which Josh Kennedy, Dylan Crawford and Connor Keyes shone. The teams turned around at the break with just the three points on the board.

The second half commenced and opened with a head clash between Alasdair Deering, the Regent number 8, and the Portora back row player, Josh Kennedy. Replacement player, Lewis English, joined the Regent House back row to cover the blood injury. Portora Rs increased their lead to 8-0 when Dylan Crawford scored an unconverted try following good work from his pack. In response to that setback, the Regent pack surged forward and skipper, Tom-Arthur Donnan, crossed the line to touch down for a try with most of his pack hanging on to him. A fine conversion kick from Adam Curry brought Regent to within one point of the challengers with the deficit reduced to 8-7. Portora were eager to build on their lead and the Josh Kennedy managed to score an unconverted try to increase the Portora RS lead to 13-7. With just minutes of the match remaining the Regent forwards bombarded the Portora  Royal School defence and tested their resolve. Ryan McCarroll broke the Portora Royal School hearts when he grounded the ball for a try, which Adam Curry converted, to secure the 14-13 victory for the Regent House team at the end of this competitive Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup second round game.

Foyle and Londonderry College progressed the next round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup following their 20-8 victory over a gallant Antrim Grammar School team. It was a case of both teams displaying nerves in a first half of the game which lacked any real excitement.  Both teams struggled to gain any real control and the only points separating the teams at the half time break came from the boot of Matthew Orr when he converted a penalty opportunity to give his Foyle and Londonderry College team a 3-0 lead.

The Antrim Grammar School team started the second half very strongly. Team captain, Daniel McGrandles, took advantage of a great lineout from his fellow forwards. The ball was secured and the resultant driven maul was finished off with a try when Daniel grounded the ball. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Antrim Grammar School team had a 5-3 lead. The Foyle College team responded positively and was awarded a penalty from the restart. Matthew Orr stepped up to successfully slot the penalty over and see his team into a 6-5 lead. Foyle College then conceded a penalty, which Sam Gordon converted, to retake the lead with the scoreboard reading 8-6 in their favour midway through the second half. The Foyle and Londonderry College team then found another gear in the final quarter of the game. From a lineout the home team moved the ball to their midfield. Centre, David Jackson, outflanked the Antrim defence but was tackled just short of the goal line. The ball was quickly recycled and the passage of play ended with Conall Gill touching down for a try. Matthew Orr added the extras to see the Foyle College team into a 13-8 lead. With five minutes remaining a loose Antrim Grammar School pass was gratefully intercepted by Conall Gill. He ran in for a try, which was converted by Matthew Orr, to secure the 20-8 victory for the Foyle and Londonderry College team at the end of this Danske Bank, Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 2 clash.

Dalriada and Omagh Academy played out an entertaining game which the Dalriada School team won by 26-14 when the teams met in the second round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup. The Omagh Academy team kicked the game off in almost perfect conditions. The opening quarter saw both packs test each other with the Dalriada pack getting on the front foot on a number of occasions. This enabled the Dalriada backs to test the opposition with their direct lines of running and pace of their attacks. However, they struggled to turn the pressure into points until Aaron Christie touched down for an unconverted try to give the Dalriada team a 5-0 lead. The Omagh team then responded with a Kyle Beattie try, which he converted, to leave the Omagh Academy team with a 7-5 lead at the half time break.

The Dalriada captain, Angus Johnston, scored a try immediately after the break which Stewart Moore converted to see the home team into a 12-7 lead. It was only in the final quarter of the game that the Dalriada team sealed their win. Thomas Hunter and Fergal Wiseman each scored a try. Both were converted by Stewart Moore which saw the Dalriada team into a 26-7 lead. The Omagh Academy team never gave up and Glen McKinley, a late call up for the ill Neil Logan, took advantage of some great work from Matthew Clyde and James Longwell, to touch down for a try. Kyle Beattie added the extras to leave the final score reading 26-14 in favour of the Dalriada School team.

The Royal School, Armagh team hosted the Rainey Endowed School team in their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup encounter at the College Hill venue. The Rainey Endowed School team was made to work hard before emerging from the closely contested game as 12-10 winners. It was an error strewn game from an Armagh point of view with an extremely high penalty count against them. The Rainey Endowed School team played into a strong wind in the first half. They went on the attack but good RS Armagh defence kept the Rainey ES attacks at bay. The home team then had a number of opportunities but could not finish off some promising moves. Anton Lupari scored an unconverted try for the Rainey Endowed School team to see the visitors into a 5-0 lead. The Rainey ES team was then penalized at the restart and William Hazelton stepped up to convert the penalty for the Royal School, Armagh team to leave the scoreline reading 5-3 in favour of the Rainey Endowed School team at the interval.

Rainey started the second half on the attack but were denied several try scoring opportunities. Good game management from Lorcan Quinn gave the Rainey team territorial advantage but giving away a number of penalties did his team no favours. In fact, it was the RS Armagh team that scored next when Graham Crawford touched down for a try which William Hazelton converted to see the home team into a 10-5 lead. The Rainey Endowed School team now went on an all-out attack. It took them some time to break the Royal School, Armagh defence down but break it down they did. Neal Hastings crashed over for the decisive try which Lorcan Quinn coolly converted to see the Magherafelt men into a 12-10 lead. The Armagh team threw everything at the Rainey ES team for the final minutes of the game but could find no way through. The Rainey Endowed School defence remained secure and ensured it was their team that secured a 12-10 victory at the end of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 2 clash.

Ballyclare High School hosted the Royal School, Dungannon team in a nip and tuck Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup second round game. The Ballyclare High School team won the game by 17-12 but it was the RS Dungannon team that took a very early 7-0 lead. Almost from the kick off Patrick Foster took the ball and charged over the Ballyclare HS line to score a try. Aaron Perry converted the try to see the RS Dungannon team into the 7-0 lead. Both teams were attacking at every opportunity but both defences were well-organised. The Ballyclare High School team drew level when Dean Jones broke through the RS Dungannon defence and finished off with a try. Owen Hutchinson added the conversion to see the score line read 7-7 at the break.

The visitors started the second half in somewhat of a shaky manner. The Ballyclare HS team took a 12-7 lead when Owen Kirk ran in from forty metres to touch down for an unconverted try. The Dungannon team responded positively and they took advantage of a Ballyclare HS player going to the “bin”.  A cross field kick and clever play involving Peter Doran and Aaron McCammon ended with Aaron Perry touching down for an unconverted try to leave the score at 12-12. Then a failed RS Dungannon clearance kick was gathered by the Ballyclare High School team. Sustained pressure from the home team finished with Jonny Crockett touching down for an unconverted try which ensured it was the Ballyclare High School team that was celebrating their 17-12 victory at the end of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 2 game.

There were three Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy games played on Saturday 23rd January.

Carrickfergus Grammar School had built up a 13-0 lead against Larne Grammar School before the Larne Grammar School team stormed back to win the game by 17-13. Good work from Ian Woodside paved the way for a Fionn McCormick try to give the Carrickfergus GS team a 5-0 lead. Fionn added the conversion to secure a 7-0 lead. Two further penalties from Fionn gave his team a 13-0 lead at the break.

The Larne Grammar School team responded with a strong second half display. Al Black, Jonny Glasgow and Micah Stevenson all scored tries and Barry Faul’s conversion secured the 17-13 win for the Larne Grammar School team.

Banbridge Academy travelled to Wellington College and won the game by 5-0. The first half was a fairly dour encounter with both teams making a lot of mistakes. There was no score at the end of the first half.

Banbridge Academy controlled affairs for most of the second half but the Wellington College defence was outstanding. Eventually a score did come when the Banbridge full back, Ben Russell, finished off a slick attacking move with an unconverted try. This was sufficient to secure the 5-0 victory for the Banbridge Academy team.

Belfast High School defeated Lurgan College by 3-0 with a penalty ten minutes from time. Both teams had opportunities to score throughout the game but a mixture of good scrambling defence from both teams and some elementary errors ensured a lack of points. That was until Simon White, a player who had impressed throughout the game, stepped up to convert the penalty kick which secured the 3-0 win for the Belfast High School team.


Four friendly games were played on Saturday 23rd January.

Campbell College, Belfast defeated the Ulster Youth team by 25-10. The Campbell College team scored their tries through Justin and Nikolai Koplesky, Ben Webb, Dan Kearly and Jonny Haldane.

Coleraine Grammar School hosted Down High School in a game the Coleraine Grammar School team won by 11-7. Down High School opened the scoring when a clever interchange of passes involving Lewis Finlay and Thomas Martin ended with a William Martin try. Charley Power converted the try to see the Down High School team into a 7-0 lead. Coleraine GS responded with two Callum Smithy penalties to see the arrears reduced to 7-6 by the interval.

Coleraine Grammar School then secured their 11-6 victory when David Greatorex touched down for an unconverted try early in the second half.

Royal Belfast Academical Institution travelled to play Ivybridge College and recorded a deserved 31-27 victory. Played in wet conditions this was an excellent game which was seen as sound preparation for the Belfast Inst squad vas they prepare for their defence of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup. Mark Keane, Conor Field, Paddy Finnegan, Charlie Cloke and David Lyttle scored the RBAI tries with James Hume adding three conversions.

Methodist College, Belfast hosted Ballymena Academy in a cut and thrust game the Ballymena Academy team won by 19-18. Ballymena Academy travelled to Pirrie Park to take on perennial Cup contenders, Methodist College. Earlier in the season the teams had served up a competitive and open game with Ballymena winning by the narrowest of margins 23-22.  Saturday’s fixture was no different with the final score again seeing Ballymena win by a solitary point. Methodist College started the stronger and Paul Kerr was successful with an early penalty. Bruce Houston and Paul Kerr then exchanged penalties as Methody took a 6-3 lead into the middle part of the first half. From an accurate line-out, Ballymena Academy moved the ball to Jonathan McKeown who shook off two tacklers to score below the posts. Bruce Houston’s conversion gave Ballymena Academy a 10 – 6 lead. Bruce Houston then added another penalty five minutes later to stretch the lead to 13-6 but it was the home team who dominated the remainder of the half. Following an extended period of pressure on the Ballymena line, Methody moved the ball wide to score in the corner with Owen Frew getting the touchdown. Paul Kerr’s conversion was successful which brought the scores level but there was still enough time left on the clock for Bruce Houston to give Ballymena Academy a 16-13 half-time lead with another successful penalty.

Much of the second period was played deep in the Ballymena Academy with the away team adjudged guilty of a number of infringements.The high penalty count took its toll allowing Methody to dominate both territory and possession. Despite some aggressive defending, Methody capitalised on a loose ball and Kane Doherty scored a try in the corner. The conversion was missed and the game was poised for a grandstand finish at 18-16.Ballymena created several try-scoring opportunities and Bruce Houston narrowly missed both a long-range penalty and drop goal. However, the young out-half showed composure to slot over with the final kick of the game to secure a 19-18 victory for the Ballymena Academy side.