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Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 6th December 2014.

Monday, 8 December 2014

There was one Danske Bank Preliminary Round game, as well as one friendly game, played midweek in the lead up to a full list of fixtures on Saturday 6th December.

Antrim Grammar School V Strabane Academy

The Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 2014/5 competition got underway when Antrim Grammar School hosted Strabane Academy at the Steeple Road venue on Wednesday 3rd December. The Antrim Grammar School team won the game by 26-7 but the Strabane Academy team made their hosts work hard for the win. Antrim Grammar School took a 5-0 lead when Adam Johnston crossed for an unconverted try midway through the first half. The Strabane Academy team played with vigour, determination and no little skill and were enjoying the occasion. They came close to scoring on a number of occasions but resolute Antrim Grammar School defence kept them out. Just before the break, the Antrim team extended their lead to 12-0 when they took advantage of the Strabane team losing a player to the sin bin. The home side created  an overlap situation which was finished off with a second try from Adam Johnston. Sam Gordon successfully added the conversion to see his team into a relatively comfortable 12-0 lead at half time.

The Strabane Academy team came out to start the second half very strongly. They were not in any way phased by the occasion and took advantage of some indifferent Antrim defence. Jonny O’Flaherty, a live wire scrum half, got in behind the Antrim defence before he cleverly off loaded to Rory Kelly. Rory then found Reece Nelson, running a great support line and, despite the best efforts of the Antrim Grammar School defence, it was Reece who touched down for the try. Thomas O’Flaherty added the extras to reduce the deficit to 12-7. Both teams attacked positively at every opportunity but there were no further points until the final quarter of the game. A tiring Strabane Academy defence was exposed on two occasions. The Antrim Grammar School team took advantage of the couple of lapses in concentration and ran in for two tries. Robert Mawhinney and the impressive JJ McKee were awarded the tries, both of which Sam Gordon converted, to see the Antrim Grammar School team into a 26-7 lead. The Strabane team came back strongly and displayed a great determination to play positive rugby. The kept the ball in hand from a number of penalty opportunities in the final minutes of the game. They came close to scoring a try but could not manage to cross the whitewash. At the final whistle it was the Antrim Grammar School that celebrated their hard earned, but well-deserved 26-7 victory. However, the Strabane Academy team will have been delighted with their performance. After an absence of six seasons from the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup the team announced the return of Strabane Academy to the competition with a very positive display and the players can look forward, with confidence, to playing in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy competition on January 24th.  Antrim Grammar School will take a lot of confidence and experience from this game as they prepare to travel to play Banbridge Academy in the 1st Round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup on January 10th 2015.

Friends’ School, Lisburn V Ballyclare High School Select ‘xv’

In the midweek friendly fixture, Friends’ School, Lisburn travelled to play a Ballyclare High School Select “xv”. The game turned out to be a most enjoyable, fast paced encounter which the Friends’ School team won by 36-12. The Friends; School team took a 7-0 lead, almost from the kick-off, when their hooker, James McGucken, scored a try. Full back, James Maxwell, converted the try. That lead was extended to 10-0 when James Maxwell converted a penalty opportunity, following a Ballyclare HS indiscretion at the breakdown, midway through the first half. The young Ballyclare team responded with a fine try in the corner. A superb conversion kick reduced the deficit to 10-7. James Maxwell then another try for the Lisburn team, which he converted, to see the Friends’ team into a 17-7 lead at the break.

The second half saw both teams attack at every opportunity. The Friends’ School defence denied the Ballyclare HS team on a number of occasions while their attacking play caused problems for the home defence. The Friends’ School lead increased to 24-7 when Adam Scholfield sold an outrageous dummy, from the base of a ruck, to run in for a try which James Maxwell converted. Further attacking prowess from Adam Scholfield saw him rewarded with his second try of the game. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Friends’ School lead was now 29-7. The fifth Friends’ try of the game saw the forwards provide an attacking platform which was carried on by the back division. Curtis Dundas threw an overhead pass to Ryan Hall who outpaced the Ballyclare HS defence. Ryan then passed inside to Bart Campbell who ran into touch down for a fine try. James McGucken added the conversion to put his team into a 36-7 lead. The Ballyclare High School team displayed great character and, with the last play of the game, scored an unconverted try to leave the final score reading 36-12 in favour of the Friends’ School team.

Ballyclare High School 1stxv V Blackrock College

On Saturday 6th December, Ballyclare High School 1stxv hosted Blackrock College, the lynchpins of Leinster Schools’ Rugby. At the end of a very physical encounter, the Blackrock team emerged as 21-6 winners but they were made to work hard for their win. The Ballyclare HS team had built up a deserved 6-0 by halftime thanks to two well struck penalties from Matthew McDowell.

The Blackrock College team controlled affairs for long periods of time in the second half. They reduced the deficit to 6-3 with a penalty early in the second half. This turned into a 10-6 lead when the visitors scored a converted try. Two more successful penalties extended that lead to 16-6. With just minutes remaining, the Blackrock College team secured their hard earned 21-6 win when a cross field kick was gathered and the Blackrock College winger touched down in the corner for an unconverted try.

Ballymena Academy V Limavady Grammar School

Ballymena Academy, having just returned from their Portugal training camp, hosted Limavady Grammar at a cold and damp Galgorm Road venue. The home team struggled to settle into the game and the first twenty minutes saw both sides enjoying dominant periods of territory and possession but neither team was in a position to capitalize. However, things turned in favour of the home team when, midway through the first half, Ballymena generated a turnover and the ball was moved wide to Marcus Rea who showed power and pace to finish in the corner. Andrew Magrath added the conversion to give his team a 7-0 lead. Shortly after this, the Ballymena Academy team increased their lead to 14-0 when Andrew converted a Josh McIlroy try. There were no further scores in the remainder of the first half.

After the half-time break, Ballymena looked in much more control and their dominant maul provided an excellent platform for several tries. Josh McIlroy crossed the line twice in five minutes and, a further Andrew Magrath conversion, stretched the lead to 26-0. The Ballymena Academy set piece was proving to be a useful attacking weapon and full back, Dean Reynolds, added the next two tries for the home team; the first an outstanding individual effort from the halfway line. Andrew Magrath’s conversion made the score 38-0 and, fittingly, the Ballymena Academy captain, Josh McIlroy, rounded off the scoring with his fourth try of the morning for a 43-0 win for his Ballymena Academy team.

Despite being on the wrong end of a 43-0 scoreline, the performance of the Limavady Grammar School captain, Scott McLean, impressed a number of spectators watching the game.

Royal School, Dungannon V Banbridge Academy

Royal School, Dungannon hosted a rampant Banbridge Academy team in a game the Banbridge boys won by 33-10. The Banbridge Academy took a 7-0 lead when Michael McGaffin ran in for a try which was converted by Daniel McElderry. Ben Carson then got in on the try scoring act when he touched down for a try, which Daniel McElderry converted, to put the visitors into a 14-0 lead, a lead they held until the interval.

The RS Dungannon team reduced the arrears to 14-5 when Jonny Black scored an unconverted try five minutes into the second half. The Banbridge Academy team responded with a Jonny Campbell try, which Daniel McElderry converted, to take a 21-5. Back came the RS Dungannon team with a second unconverted try, this time from David Cooper, to leave the score board reading 21-10 in favour of the Banbridge team.  Stephen Rompante and Michael McGaffin scored two late tries for the Banbridge Academy team, one of which was converted by Daniel McElderry, to secure the 33-10 win for their team.

Rainey Endowed School V Royal School, Armagh

The Rainey Endowed School team was at full strength, for almost the first time this season, when they hosted the Royal School, Armagh team. The Rainey Endowed team had built up a 7-0 lead by the interval before going on to win the game by 13-0. Neal Hastings scored the first half try which Mark Rooney converted.

Mark went on to convert two second half penalty opportunities to secure a well-deserved 13-0 win for the Rainey Endowed School team, a team that put in a performance to match the undoubted potential of the team.

Cambridge House V Lurgan College

Cambridge House travelled to play Lurgan College on the back of three consecutive victories which had raised considerably the confidence levels of the Cambridge House players. Their confidence was not misplaced as they returned to Ballymena with an 18-5 victory under their belts. The Lurgan College team displayed an unerring ability to give away penalties at crucial times in the game and, ultimately, this proved to be their downfall in this game. There were no scores in the first half but the Lurgan College team had ample opportunities for possible points only to be let down by giving away careless penalties.

It was the Lurgan College team that took a 5-0 lead, early in the second half, when James Mitchell broke out of defence to find his captain, Matthew Laird, who was running a great support line, with a clever pass. Matthew used his power and pace the touch down for an unconverted try. The Cambridge House team responded with three tries, one from team captain, Sam Nicholl and two from, full back, Josh Henry, a stand out performer in the course of the game. James Bovill added one penalty kick to complete an impressive 18-6 win for the Cambridge House team.

For the Lurgan College team, wingers, Thomas Neill and Victor McKenzie, both played well throughout the game.

Belfast Royal Academy V Coleraine Academical Institution

A very young and inexperienced Belfast Royal Academy team hosted the Coleraine Academical Institution team at a wet, windy and very cold Roughfort. The visitors had built up a 21-0 lead by the interval before going on to win the game by 31-3. Matthew Smyth opened the Coleraine AI account with a fine individual try which Calum Smith converted. This was extended to 14-0 when Calum Smith converted a penalty try. Just before the break Thomas Lavery scorched in for a Coleraine AI try, which was converted by Calum Smith, to see his team into a 21-0 lead.

Michael Wilson converted a penalty for the Belfast Royal Academy team at the start of the second half to reduce the arrears to 21-3. From that stage on, the Coleraine AI team controlled the game in terms of territory and possession. Conor Skuce and Peter Bonar scored one unconverted try each to secure the 31-3 win for the Coleraine Academical Institution team.

Methodist College V Campbell College

Methodist College got back to winning ways when they defeated Campbell College by 32-5. The “Man of the Match” award would have gone to the Methodist College full back, Robert Lyttle, who capped an outstanding performance with four tries, two conversions as well as a penalty. Robert opened the scoring for the Methodist College team with an unconverted try, following a “chip and chase” early in the game, to give his team a 5-0 lead. The score was increased to 12-0 when Gareth Millar and Ali McIvor combined to send Louis Trainor in for a try which Robert Lyttle converted. Campbell College replied with an unconverted try to reduce the deficit to 12-5. However, the remainder of the first half belonged to the Methodist College team with Robert Lyttle touching down for his second try of the game, which he converted, to give his team a 19-5 lead. Robert then converted a penalty kick to see the Methodist College team into a 22-5 lead at half time.

The second half saw the Campbell College team gain much more possession and, at times, they held a territorial advantage. However, the Methody defence was well-organised and in no mood to let anything through. Methody then sealed the game when quick, quality possession from the pack was used effectively by the back line. Robert Lyttle was the main benefactor and he scored two unconverted tries to secure the 32-5 victory for the Methodist College team.

Dalriada School V Down High School

Dalriada School hosted Down High School in a closely contested game the Dalriada boys’ won by 24-17. The Down High School team took a 7-0 lead when Harry Hitchens gathered a cross field kick and touched down for a try. Jo Bingham added the conversion. Dalriada replied with a converted try, following a kick and chase, to leave the score board reading 7-7 at half time.

Following the restart, the Dalriada team took advantage of Down HS hesitancy and scored a converted try to give the Ballymoney boys a 14-7 lead. An Angus Johnston penalty increased this lead to 17-7. Down High School responded with an excellent try from Marcus Graham who evaded three would be Dalriada tacklers before touching down for a try. Jo Bingham was successful with the conversion to reduce the deficit to 17-14. Then the Dalriada defensive line strayed into an offside position and Jo Bingham converted the resultant penalty to draw the scores level at 17-17. The Dalriada team then pressurized the Down High School defence into turning the ball over. Dalriada made good use of the possession and scored a try, which Angus Johnston converted, to ensure their hard earned 24-17 victory at the end of the game.

Grosvenor Grammar School 1stxv V Wesley College

Grosvenor Grammar School took their 1stxv, Medallion xv, U13 and U14teams to Dublin where they played a set of fixtures against Wesley College. The Grosvenor GS 1stxv put on a good performance against the Wesley College team before losing the game by 17-8. The Wesley team took a 7-0 lead when they scored a converted try in the first half. Just before the break the Grosvenor team converted a penalty kick to reduce the arrears to 7-3 at halftime.

The second half saw the Wesley College team start strongly and run in for two unconverted tries to increase their lead to 17-3. The Grosvenor GS team competed well and, eventually, got some reward for their hard work when James Cartilage blasted his way over the Wesley College line to touch down for a try. The conversion kick was unsuccessful and the game finished with Wesley College as 17-8 winners.

The Grosvenor Grammar School Medallion team won their game by 32-23; the U14 team lost their game while the U13 team won.

Wellington College V Belfast Metropolitan College

Wellington College continued their recent run of good form when they defeated Belfast Metropolitan College by 28-22. They fielded a “Select”xv to give members of their extended senior squad the opportunity to impress. James Blanchflower, James Hayes, Jason Lyons and Jamie Hewitt all scored tries with James Hewitt successfully converting all four of the tries to secure the win for the Wellington College team.

Foyle and Londonderry College V Omagh Academy

Foyle and Londonderry College hosted Omagh Academy in a hard fought game the Omagh team won by 16-14. The Foyle College team started strongly and took a 5-0 lead when Jack McNeill touched down for an unconverted try. The Omagh team responded with a penalty from Stuart Ballentine to see the score board read 5-3 in favour of the home team. The visitors then took a 10-5 lead when Stuart Ballentine placed a clever kick behind the Foyle defence. Adam Stephenson gathered the ball at pace to touch down, under the posts, for a try. Stuart Ballentine was successful with the conversion kick. Alex McDonnell converted a penalty opportunity for the Foyle team to leave the Omagh Academy team with a 10-8 advantage at the interval.

The second half was a bruising encounter with both teams defending resiliently. Omagh extended their lead to 13-8 with another successful penalty kick from Stuart Ballentine. The Foyle College team then took a 14-13 lead when Alex McDonnell was successful with two penalty kicks. The outcome of the game was not settled until Stuart Ballentine, with the last kick of the game, converted a penalty opportunity to secure a 16-14 victory for his Omagh Academy team.

Belfast High School V Regent House

Belfast High School got back to winning ways with a 21-13 win against Regent House when the teams met at the Shore Road venue. The Belfast High School victory was inspired by a fine personal performance from Joel McBride.

The Royal Belfast Academical Institution team hosted Castleknock College from Dublin in a game the Belfast Inst team won by 19-12. The Royal Belfast Inst team had built up a 19-0 lead in the first half. Winger, Jack Conlin, scored the first try of the game after ten minutes of play. Michael Lowry then scored an outstanding individual try, having broken through the Castleknock defence from inside his half. No 8. Michael Mairs, then took advantage of a “strike against the head” to run in for a try from the base of a scrum. TJ Dickson was successful with two of the three conversion kicks.

Things were evenly balanced for most of the second half until the final ten minutes when the visitors ran in for two tries, one of which was converted, to leave the final score reading 19-10 in favour of the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team.

Portora Royal School V Sligo Grammar School

Portora Royal School hosted Sligo Grammar School in a closely contested game the Portora team won by 22-21. The Sligo GS team had built up a 14-0 lead within twenty minutes of the start. Then, a fine break from Portora RS prop, Jamie McKane, followed by a clever off-load to hooker, Jamie Gibson, ended with Jamie touching down for a try. Adam Lendrum added the conversion to leave the Sligo team just 14-7 ahead at the interval.

Portora RS dominated the game early in the second half but, against the run of play, the Sligo GS team broke away to score a converted try and enhance their lead to 21-7. Portora recovered and, two unconverted tries from Robert Balacoune, reduced the deficit to 21-17. In the last minute of the game the Portora RS flanker, M organ Bruce, took a quickly tapped penalty to touch down for an unconverted try and secure the 22-21 victory for the Portora Royal School team.

Bangor Grammar School V Larne Grammar School

Bangor Grammar School fielded a team, including ten Year 12 players, when they hosted Larne Grammar School. Before going on to win the game by 31-14, the Bangor GS team had built up a 17-0 lead by halftime with two tries from Jonny Baxter and one from Jamie Fulton. Jamie was successful with one conversion.

The Larne Grammar School team displayed superb commitment and determination and staged a great recovery in the early stages of the second half. They scored two converted tries to reduce the deficit to 17-14. However, the Bangor Grammar School secured their 31-14 win with late tries from Patrick Eves and Charles Blair, both of which were converted by Jamie Fulton.

Medallion Shield, first round:

In the First Round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield, Cambridge House lost by 15-14 against Strabane Grammar School while Wellington College defeated Downshire School by 29-15.



The draw for the Second Round of the Danske Bank Ulster Medallion Shield is as follows:-

Antrim Grammar School v Royal School, Dungannon

Regent House School v Wellington College

Lurgan College v Limavady Grammar School

Carrick Grammar School v Belfast Royal Academy

Portora Royal School v Foyle and Londonderry College

Strabane Academy v Belfast High School

Banbridge Academy v Larne Grammar School

Portadown College v Omagh Academy

These games are scheduled to be played on/before Wednesday 7th January 2015. Some schools have made arrangements to play their fixtures before the Christmas break. Banbridge Academy will play Larne Grammar School on Tuesday 16th December at Banbridge with a 2-30pm kick off.

Schools are reminded that this week has been set aside for schools to support the IRFU Charitable Trust. Information has been sent out to all School Masters –in- Charge as well as to all School Principals. Rugby playing schools are urged to support this most worthy of causes.