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Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 25th January 2014.

Monday, 27 January 2014

There were recent midweek games played in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield, Medallion Trophy, 2ndxv and 3rdxv Cup competitions.

In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield 3rd Round competition, Portadown College lost by 17-0 to Regent House.

In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Trophy competition, Carrickfergus Grammar School lost by 22-15 to Limavady Grammar School.

In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2nd xv Cup competition, Limavady Grammar School lost by 50-3 against Methodist College, Belfast and Campbell College defeated Coleraine Academical Institution by 15-7.

In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 3rdxv competition, St Columb’s College lost by 38-17 against Coleraine Academical Institution.


Danske Bank Schools’ Cup Round 2 Games

There were eight Danske Bank Ulster School’ Cup Round 2 games and three Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy Quarter-Final games scheduled to have been played on Saturday 25th January. However, two of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 2 games, as well as one of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy games, were postponed due to the prevailing weather conditions.

Dalriada School hosted Portadown College in a game the Ballymoney School won by 26-0. However, it might have been a different story if the Portadown College team had converted a number of scoring opportunities they created just after half time.

On a very wet and windy day both teams dealt well with the horrible conditions but it was the Dalriada team that controlled the game for most of the first half and had built up a 19-0 lead at the interval. Dalriada came racing out of the blocks and scored a try shortly after the start of the game. A clever kick through by Timmy Emerson was then kicked ahead by Robert Hunter who won the race to score in the corner. The conversion kick was unsuccessful but the Dalriada team had built up a 5-0 lead. From the restart the Dalriada forwards controlled possession and made their way up the pitch with some strong ball carries from Matthew Christie and Scott Malcomson. Dalriada pressure caused the Portadown College defence to infringe and from the resultant penalty Timmy Emerson kicked to touch. The Dalriada forwards took control of the ball from the lineout and drove the maul over the Portadown College line with Scott Malcolmson eventually setting his fellow forward, Scott Love, up for the try. Timmy Emerson added the extras to put the Dalriada team into a 12-0 lead. Just before the interval, the Dalriada team got good front foot possession which paved the way for Scott Malcolmson to rumble over for a try. Timmy Emerson, once again, converted to give the Dalriada team a 19-0 lead at the interval.

The start of the second half saw the Portadown College team create a number of scoring opportunities with Ryan Turner, Jason Lau, Niall Davidson and Thomas Troughton all asking questions of the Dalriada defence. However, the Dalriada defence was up to the task and nothing got through. Then, on a rare visit to the Portadown College 22m area, the Dalriada full back, Michael Finnerty, took advantage of a lapse in the Portadown College defence. He broke through and off loaded a clever pass to Timmy Emerson who was only too pleased to run in for a try. Timmy converted the try to put his Dalriada team into an unassailable 26-0 lead.

The Portadown College team never gave up and took play back into the Dalriada half. However, Ryan Malcolmson, who put on a “Man of the Match” display, had his defence well-organised. He got great support from players such as Alan Montgomery, David McKeeman, Craig Anderson and Matthew Steele, as well as young replacement player, Angus Johnston. Their efforts ensured the Dalriada line remained intact and the Dalriada School team finished the game with a deserved 26-0 win and a place in the draw for the 3rd Round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup.

Banbridge Academy made the much fancied Coleraine Academical Institution team work very hard before the Coleraine team was able to record a close 15-10 victory at the end of their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 2nd Round game. The opening exchanges of the game were evenly contested with both defences ensuring there were no tries scored. Both teams had penalty opportunities but the difficult conditions, both overhead and underfoot, dictated not one of these opportunities was successful. However, twenty five minutes into the game, it was the Coleraine AI team that did manage to get points on the board. They scored a try through Daniel McAllister, which was converted by Conor Shiels, to take a 7-0 lead. The Banbridge Academy team responded positively to this set back. Rory Thompson, Ben Carson and Ethan Harbinson all combined well only to see a potential try scoring opportunity denied through good Coleraine AI defence. This ensured it was the Coleraine AI team that turned around with a 7-0 lead at the interval.

The Banbridge Academy team started the second half strongly and their pack really took the Coleraine AI pack on. They got the upper hand and, after a series of scrums on the Coleraine line, came away with a penalty try. Daniel McElderry added the conversion to draw the score level at 7-7 ten minutes into the second half. It was now a game of nip and tuck but, midway through the half, the visitors regained the lead when Conor Shiels converted a long range penalty opportunity to see his team into a 10-7 lead. Two minutes later, this became 15-7 when the Coleraine AI team took advantage of a loose Banbridge Academy kick. The visitors counter attacked and finished with a try from Thomas Pethwick. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Coleraine AI team now had a two score lead. The Banbridge Academy team fought back and reduced the arrears to 15-10 when Daniel McElderry was successful with a penalty opportunity with just five minutes of the game remaining. Despite their best efforts, the home team could find no way through a resolute Coleraine AI defence in the final few minutes of the game. This ensured it was the Coleraine Academical Instituition team that went through to the draw for the 3rd Round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup following their hard earned 15-10 win.

Down High produced a mature performance, battling against horrendous weather conditions in Downpatrick, to beat Lurgan College by 30-0 and progress to the 3rd Round of the Danske Bank Schools’ Cup. The Lurgan College team had to play without the services of their talented scrum half, Drew Davis, who was struck down with illness just before the kick-off. The home side got off to a shaky start putting the ball straight out of play from the kick-off. However, they defended the ensuing Lurgan College attack very successfully. William Martin eventually secured a penalty which allowed Down High School to clear their lines. Smart territorial play over the next period of time saw Lurgan College defend their line. After the visitors were deemed to have gone off side at a ruck, Patrick Wright took no time in getting the Down High School scoring under way with a straightforward penalty on the five minute mark to give his team a 3-0 lead. With twelve minutes of the game gone, Patrick Wright extended the Down High lead to 6-0 when he kicked into the strong breeze to land another penalty. After several exchanges of play in the slippery conditions, the Down pack gradually came into the ascendancy with great carries from the players such Nathan Gibson and Thomas McCavera. These efforts from the Down High forwards, allied to smart kicking from the Down High half backs, led eventually to Down High School scoring their first try of the game through winger Ryan Smyth. The pack won a scrum on the Lurgan College 5 metre line and, after a number of phases of play, Ryan found a gap which he exploited. He showed good strength to fend off a number of covering tackles before dotting down for the try. Patrick Wright had no problems with the conversion to put his team into a 13-0 lead. Towards the end of the first half the Lurgan College out half, James Patterson, produced a daring and successful break from his own 22m area. This caught the Down defence off guard but good scrambling defence from the Down back three eventually snuffed out the threat and Down High went into the break with a 13-0 lead.

For virtually the whole of the second half, the two teams found themselves battling the extreme weather conditions as much as each other! However, within four minutes of the restart, Down High had extended their lead to 18-0 through prop, Thomas Johnston. Thomas barged his way over the Lurgan College line following some good driving play from his comrades in the Down High pack. Patrick Wright was unsuccessful with the conversion as the wind blew the ball over on his approach and left him on the receiving end of the Lurgan College charge down. Midway through the second half, Down’s other prop, Nathan Gibson, was next on the score sheet when he showed fantastic strength to stay on his feet, and shrug off the efforts of the Lurgan midfield defence, to run in for a try following a clever pass from Patrick Wright. Patrick added the extras to put his team into a 25-0 lead. The final Down High School score came with about eight minutes to go. Replacement scrum half Thomas Forson, made a break before off-loading to Joseph Bingham. Joseph showed great footwork to evade the Lurgan College cover defence and touch down for an unconverted try. This ensured a 30-0 victory for the Down High School team and a place in the draw for the 3rd Round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup. Despite losing by 30-0 the Lurgan College team played a full part in the game with players such as Mark McIlwaine, Ryan Osbourne and Harry Simpson impressing with their performances throughout the game.

Regent House and Portora Royal School met in their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 2 game in Newtownards,  a game which the Regent House team won by 12-7. The game kicked off with the horrendous weather conditions forcing both sides to play a tight and narrow game. With the wind in their favour during the first half, Portora worked to pin Regent back in their own half through the effective boot of their outhalf, Adrian Edmonson. Regent were required to consistently fight their way out of their 22m area with a very gutsy, disciplined and controlled defence and displays of very sound ball retention. In doing so, Regent successfully kept Portora from crossing their line and the score at half time read 0-0.

After the restart the weather conditions improved significantly and Regent appeared to have lost some of the advantage of having the wind in their backs. However, just minutes into the half, the Regent full back, Nathan Graham, fielded a hefty Portora wiper kick. He countered and returned a low hard grubber kick which he re-gathered on the bounce and cleverly offloaded to his supporting winger, Lewis Loane. Lewis then fed back to Nathan who grounded the ball over the Portora RS line for the first score of the match. Nathan Graham then converted his try to put the Regent House team into a 7-0 lead. Portora Royal School fought back well and pressed the Regent House line with excellent carries from their tight head prop, Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ player, John Clarke. John eventually crossed the Regent line to score a try which was converted by Adrian Edmonson converted to bring the score level at 7-7. The game remained a tight and hard fought battle but Regent House began to use the elements well in the final quarter. They pinned Portora back and applied effective pressure. This culminated in a Regent line out on the Portora 5m line. After sustained Regent House pressure, prop, Tom Arthur Donnan, forced his way over the line to touch down for a try. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Regent House team had a 12-7 lead, a lead they held until the final whistle.

Grosvenor Grammar School hosted Bangor Grammar School in a very close Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 2nd Round encounter which the Bangor Grammar School team won by 10-8. The first half was played in extremely difficult conditions and it was a tribute to both teams for the positive manner in which they approached the game. The Grosvenor Grammar School team started the game well and controlled affairs for most of the first half. The Bangor Grammar School had an opportunity to take a lead, much against the run of play, midway through the first half. However, a penalty kick was missed and the Grosvenor Grammar School team breathed a sigh of relieve. They took play deep into the Bangor Grammar School half and the strong Grosvenor pack displayed great determination with their attacks on the Bangor GS line. Eventually, one of these attacks paid off with the hard working Sam Purdon barging his way over the Bangor line to score a try following a series of “pick and go” attacks. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Grosvenor Grammar School team had a deserved 5-0 lead. However, this was turned around shortly afterwards when the Grosvenor GS pack failed to deal adequately with the Bangor GS restart. The ball was turned over allowing the Bangor GS backline to launch a rare attack. The Grosvenor GS defence was posted missing as the Bangor winger glided his way through to score a try under the Grosvenor GS posts. Ross McCloskey added the conversion to see his team into a 7-5 lead, a lead they held until the interval.

The second half saw the Grosvenor GS team dominate proceedings in the opening exchanges. However, handling errors and poor decision making ensured the home team could not convert the pressure into points. That was until midway through the second half when the Bangor GS team was penalised at the breakdown in front of their posts. Up stepped Jonah McDowell to convert the penalty and put his team into an 8-7 lead. Now it was the turn of the Bangor Grammar School team to turn possession into pressure. With just minutes remaining the pressure paid off when the Grosvenor team was penalised at the breakdown. Ross McCloskey converted the penalty to give his team a 10-8 lead. The Grosvenor Grammar School team tried to get back into the game but could not convert last minute pressure into points. This ensured it was the Bangor Grammar School team that won the game by 10-8 and, with the win, a place in the draw for the 3rd Round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup.

In the North West of the Province there was a local “Derby” in the 2nd Round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup when Limavady Grammar School hosted Foyle and Londonderry College. The game kicked off in reasonable weather conditions but, just a matter of minutes into the game, atrocious weather conditions set in making the playing of the game very difficult for both sets of players. It was a credit to both sets of players as well as to referee, Gareth Dunlop, that this game, which Limavady Grammar School won by 15-6, actually finished. Limavady won the toss and chose to play into the elements. The Foyle College out-half, Alex McDonnell, used the conditions well to pin Limavady pack into their 22m area. Eight minutes into the game the visitors got the first points of the game when Alex McDonnell converted a penalty opportunity to give his team a 3-0 lead. The Foyle College team continued to dominate the opening exchanges but could not get any more points, despite their pressure. Then, with conditions worsening, the Limavady pack started to acquire some possession. They kept the ball for a good period of time and constantly pushed their Foyle counterparts back. The Limavady centres, Michael Barr and Jamie Millar, punched holes in the midfield and it appeared only a matter of time before Limavady would take the lead. A try duly came on twenty minutes when, after good work by his pack, the Limavady centre, Jamie Millar, broke through the Foyle College midfield and scored under the posts. Scott McClean added the simple conversion to put his team into a 7-3 lead. From the restart, the Limavady half-backs made a mistake and this allowed Foyle to exert some pressure. Limavady were pinned for not rolling away at a ruck and the Foyle College out-half, Alex McDonnell, kicked the points to reduce the deficit to 7-6, a score the home team maintained until the interval.

The second half was almost played entirely in the Foyle and Londonderry College half. Limavady Grammar School went close on a number of occasions but with over-head conditions deteriorating by the minute, players on both sides were finding it difficult to hold onto the ball. After ten minutes of pressure, Limavady out-half, Scott McClean, kicked another penalty to increase the Limavady GS lead to 10-6. Under-foot conditions were becoming appalling making all further penalty attempts at goal impossible. Twenty minutes into the second half, the Limavady pack mauled their Foyle College counterparts over the line with Brendan Ferguson touching down for an unconverted try to give his team a 15-6 lead, a lead they held until the no-side whistle and, with it, a place in the draw for the 3rd Round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup.

The Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 2nd Round games involving Rainey Endowed School and Belfast Royal Academy and Belfast High School and Omagh Academy were postponed due to flooded pitches. These games have been re-scheduled for Wednesday 29th January (KO TBC).


There were two Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy games played on Saturday 25th January.

Antrim Grammar School can consider themselves unfortunate to have lost out to Wellington College by 13-10 in their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy Quarter-Final game. The loss of key players at key times somewhat affected the Antrim GS performance. Both teams experienced difficulties with the conditions in the opening encounters of the game which, at this stage, was riddled with mistakes. However, midway through the half the Wellington College team broke the deadlock when Andy Hanna converted a penalty kick to give his team a 3-0 lead. This encouraged the Wellington College team who took and maintained play deep in the Antrim Grammar School half. Following quick possession from a ruck, the Wellington College backs displayed good skills to move the ball through five sets of hands before Josh Garnham touched down for a try. The conversion kick was unsuccessful but the Wellington College team had built up an 8-0 lead, a lead they held until the break.

Wellington College started the second half well in control of the game. However, good Antrim GS defence forced a turnover and the Antrim team took play deep into Wellington College territory. From a well organised lineout move, the home team broke through and David Armstrong touched down for a try in the corner. The conversion kick was unsuccessful but the Antrim Grammar School team had reduced the deficit to 8-5. The Wellington College pack then played a key role in setting Josh Garnham up for his second try of the game. The conversion kick was unsuccessful but the Wellington team had a 13-5 lead. Back came the Antrim GS team and their hard working centre, Chris Donnelly, got some reward for his endeavours throughout the game when he ran in for an unconverted try to reduce the arrears to 13-10. The Antrim Grammar School team went all out for a win but the Wellington College defence held out to secure a narrow 13-10 victory and with it a place in the draw for the semi-finals of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy.

Despite the horrendous weather conditions prevailing in Lisburn, the Friends’ School and Carrickfergus Grammar School teams served up an exciting game of rugby when the teams met in the Quarter-Final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy. The Carrickfergus GS team won the game by 32-20 but the Friends’ School team can look back positively on their input to the game, a game in which the lead changed hands on three occasions. Playing into the elements in the first half, the Carrickfergus GS team scored two early tries through Stuart McLaughlin and Christian Robinson. The Friends’ School team responded with a penalty from James McGucken and tries from Stevie Kay and Allister Nesbitt. Back came the Carrickfergus Grammar School team with the hard-working Adam Urqhart paving the way for a Michael Black try.

The second half saw more of the same positive approach from both teams. The Friends’ School team started well with Stevie Kay scoring his second try of the game. This set back seemed to shake the Carrickfergus GS team into action. Further Carrickfergus tries came from Joel Bell, Scott Henderson, Christian Robinson and Jake Porter. One of the tries was converted to leave the final score reading 32-20 in favour of the Carrickfergus Grammar School team.

The Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy game between Larne Grammar School and Royal School, Dungannon, scheduled for Saturday 25th January was postponed. The game has been rescheduled for Wednesday 29th January (kick off 2-15pm)

Following the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup and Trophy games, the draws for the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy Semi-Finals, Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Bowl Quarter-Finals and the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 3 games took place at Grosvenor Grammar School. The draws were conducted by Mr David Croft, Senior Business Banking Manager at Danske Bank, and Mr Robin McLoughlin, Principal of Grosvenor Grammar School.


A few non Schools’ Cup games were played on Saturday 25th January.

Methodist College and Ballyclare High School met in a game which the Methody team won by 39-17. The Methody team had built up a 29-0 lead by the interval with tries from Rory Cairns, Wolfe Diamond, Conor McKee, Michael Lagan and Alex Thompson. Gareth Millar added two conversions.

The second half saw the Methodist College team make wholesale changes to their line- up after Conor McKee had scored his second try of the game to give his team a 34-0 lead. The Ballyclare High School team took full advantage of the situation and ran in three tries, one of which was converted. However, the Methody team scored one further try through Saul Herdman. The conversion was missed but the Methodist College team had recorded a 39-17 victory at the end of the game.

Campbell College played a Royal School, Armagh team that was missing a few regular players involved in other sporting activities. The Campbell College team maintained their recent run of good form, winning the game by 18-0.The RS Armagh team had performed well in the first half of the game, playing into the wind. Their forwards, with Philip Matthews and Grant Hutchinson prominent, made the Campbell College pack work hard to get any worthwhile possession.  However, it was the Campbell College team that displayed the required composure at crucial times. They scored an unconverted try and converted two penalty kicks through their talented centre, Jack Owens, to take an 11-0 lead into the interval.

The Royal School, Armagh team, started the second half strongly with James Johnston and Jonathan Morton getting through a lot of work. They were encamped, for long periods of time, on the Campbell College line but could not manage to get over the whitewash. Indeed, it was the Campbell College team that sealed the game when their young centre, Jack Howard, finished off a flowing counter attack to touch down for a try. Jack Owens was successful with conversion kick to secure a deserved 18-0victory for his Campbell College team.

Royal Belfast Academical Institution had a 38-0 victory against Ballymena Academy. Prominent for the Belfast Inst team, throughout the game, were players such as Frazer Wright, Josh Coyle, Rory Bell and Rory Campbell.