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Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 27th February 2016

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

There were several Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup, Shield, Bowl and Trophy games played midweek in the lead up to the semi-finals of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield and Plate competitions and the finals of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Bowl and Trophy, as well as 2nd and 3rdxv competitions, played on Saturday 27th February. A number of schools’ also played 1stxv friendly games on the same day.

On Wednesday 24th February the first of this season’s Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ finals took place when Belfast High School and Banbridge Academy played in the Danske Bank

Ulster Schools’ Trophy final at Roughfort. The game was played in bright but chilly conditions on a superb surface that was prepared by Anton and the BRA ground staff. Banbridge Academy won the game by 15-0 but the spirited Belfast High School team made them work hard for the victory. The Belfast High School team started well with Simon White asking questions of the Banbridge Academy defence in the early exchanges. Banbridge Academy then began to get some territory as well as possession. They might have taken a 3-0 lead in the twelfth minute but a penalty kick opportunity was wide off the mark. Four minutes later they did get rewarded for their attacking strategy when Ben Russell made a great break through the opposition midfield before off-loading to Troy Pinion who finished the move off with the touchdown. Ben Thompson converted the try to put the Banbridge Academy team into a 7-0 lead. Belfast High school responded positively and had the opportunity to reduce the arrears after twenty minutes. Simon White struck a penalty kick well only to see the ball bounce back into play off the upright and the Banbridge defence was able to clear the danger. The first half finished with Belfast High School team on the attack but, despite the best efforts of Tyler Arnold, Simon White and Ryan Gibson, they could find no way through.The second half started with the Banbridge Academy team launching a series of all out attacks. Four minutes after the restart their captain, Michael McGaffin, finished off one such attack with an unconverted try to increase the Banbridge lead to 12-0. Midway through the second half Ross Cartmill made a great out of defence and looked a certainty to score a try. However, superb Belfast High School defence prevented him from doing so. Unfortunately for the Belfast High School defence they did concede a penalty, which was converted by Ben Thompson, to put the Banbridge Academy team into a 15-0 lead. Belfast High School spent long periods of the final quarter in the Banbridge Academy 22m area but they could find no way through a resolute and well-organised defence. There were no further scores which ensured it was the Banbridge Academy team that won the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy by 15-0.

Post-match Mr Stephen Hilditch, Senior Vice President of the IRFU, complimented both teams for the way in which they played the game, thanked the referee, Stephen Crothers and his assistants, for the way in which they controlled the game, thanked the staff at Belfast Royal Academy for hosting the game and congratulated Banbridge Academy on winning the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy. Andy Robinson, representing the Danske Bank, then presented both teams with their medals and Stephen Hilditch presented the captain of the Banbridge Academy team, Michael McGaffin, with the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy.

On the same afternoon the final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Cup took place at Wellington College, Belfast when Royal Belfast Academical Institution 4thxv played Methodist College, Belfast 3rdxv. The Royal Belfast Academical Institution 4thxv, the current holders of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Cup, retained the Cup with a 25-9 victory. Post-match, John McKibbin, Senior Vice President of the Ulster Branch, IRFU, complimented both teams for the way in which the game was played, thanked the referee, Henry Richmond and his assistants for the way in which they handled the game, thanked the staff at Wellington College for hosting the game and congratulated the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team on winning the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Cup. John then presented the medals to both teams and the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Cup to the victorious Belfast Inst team.The first of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Plate semi-finals took place on Wednesday 24th February when Ballyclare High School 3rdxv hosted Wallace High School 3rdxv. The Ballyclare High School team won the game by 26-13. Regent House School and Rainey Endowed School met in a replay of their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Subsidiary Shield quarter-final game on Wednesday 24th February.

Winners now host Down High School on March 5th. The Rainey Endowed School team had built up a 10-7 lead by the interval before going on to record a 17-15 victory at the end of the game. The Rainey Endowed School team got off to a great start and found themselves 7-0 in the lead with just one minute on the clock. Great work from Neal Hastings and Adam Thornton presented Lorcan Quinn with the opportunity to run in for a try. Lorcan added the conversion to give his team their 7-0 lead. Regent House responded with a midfield break from Robbie Johnston which finished with a try. Robbie added the extras to draw the score level at 7-0. On the stroke of halftime a break from Matthew Smyth resulted in a penalty, which Lorcan Quinn converted, to see the Rainey team take their 10-7 lead into the interval.

Rainey started the second half with great intensity with Matthew Mulholland and Andrew Brown causing problems for the Regent House defence. The pressure eventually paid off when Anton Lupari stormed over for a try. Lorcan Quinn hit a superb touchline conversion into the wind to increase the Rainey Endowed School lead to 17-7. Robbie Johnston replied with a Regent House penalty to reduce the deficit to 17-10. With the last play of the game Ali Deering scored a try for the Regent House team. The conversion kick was unsuccessful which ensured the Rainey Endowed School team had recorded their 17-15 victory and, with it, a Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Subsidiary Shield semi-final game at home against Down High School on Saturday 5th March.

On Saturday 27th February there were games in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield, Medallion Plate, Medallion Bowl, Medallion Trophy, 2ndxv Plate and 3rdxv Plate competitions.

In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield semi-finals Belfast Royal Academy and Wallace High School met at Osborne Park. Wallace High School won the game by 20-15.

Royal Belfast Academical Institution and Methodist College, Belfast met at Roughfort in the semi-final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield. The Royal Belfast Academical Institution team won the game by 24-5.The Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield final will take place at the Kingspan Stadium on Tuesday 8th March.

Portadown College hosted Campbell College, Belfast in the semi-final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Plate competition. This game finished as a 12-12 draw. The replay will take place at Campbell College on Wednesday 2nd March.

Sullivan Upper School played the Royal School, Dungannon Medallion team in the semi-final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Plate competition. The Sullivan Upper team won a closely contested game by 16-15.The final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Plate is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 9th March.

In the final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Bowl competition Dalriada School played Bangor Grammar School at Antrim Grammar School. Dalriada won the game by 13-10. Chris Shields, the Ulster Rugby Strength and Conditioning Education Officer, presented the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Bowl to the winning captain. Chris thanked the Danske Bank for their continued support of Ulster Schools’ Rugby, the Principal, Governors, Staff and, in particular, Robin McKenna from Antrim Grammar School for hosting the game. He thanked the referee and his assistants for controlling the game so well.

In the final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Trophy competition Foyle and Londonderry College played Cambridge House Grammar School at the Rainey Endowed School playing fields in Magherafelt. The Foyle College team won the game by 16-12. The post-match presentations were conducted by Chris Campbell, Master-in-Charge of Rugby at the Rainey Endowed School. Chris congratulated both teams in reaching the final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion trophy competition, thanked the referee and his assistants for the way in which they contributed to an enjoyable game, thanked the Danske Bank for their continued sponsorship of Ulster Schools’ Rugby, thanked the staff at the Rainey School for hosting the game and presented the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Trophy to the captain of the victorious Foyle and Londonderry College team.

In the semi-final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Plate competition Methodist College, Belfast hosted their Royal School, Armagh counterparts. The Methodist College team won the game by 36-0 and will play Sullivan Upper School in the final on Saturday 5th March. Venue and details are still to be confirmed.

The Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Cup final will take place on Wednesday 2nd March when the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team will play Ballyclare High School at Pirrie Park. This game is scheduled to kick off at 3-00pm.

In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Plate competition Campbell College, Belfast 4thxv entertained Ballymena Academy 3rdxv in the last of the quarter-final games. The Campbell College team won the game by 27-20 and will now travel to play Ballyclare Secondary School in the semi-final.