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Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ v Munster Schools’ Friday 26th August 2016 Report

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Following their recent success against the Saracen’s Rugby Club Academy U18 team the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ team was hopeful of a successful outcome when they hosted their Munster Schools’ counterparts on the pristine Pirrie Park Paddock pitch on Friday afternoon in the first of this season’s restructured Schools’ Inter-Provincial games. Alas, it was not to be as the Munster Schools’ team emerged from the encounter as 18-15 winners.

The game was played in perfect conditions in front of an enthusiastic bunch of supporters. The Ulster team took a 5-0 lead with just four minutes on the clock when Matthew Crowther emerged from a well-organised driven maul with ball touched down over the Munster line. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but it seemed the Ulster team had set the stall out in a very positive manner. However, from the restart the Munster team regained possession and exposed the Ulster defence with an attack down the Munster right. Daniel Feasey then had a simple run in for a try. Ben Healy added the conversion with a successful kick to put the Munster team into a 7-5 lead with just six minutes of the game gone. The Ulster team struggled to get any real quality possession and Ulster players were found of giving away unnecessary penalties on a regular basis. From one such penalty offence, midway through the first period of play, Ben Healy was successful with his kick to increase the Munster lead to 10-5. This seemed to spur the Ulster team into action but, just as things were starting to look a little better, an unerring ability to turn ball over at critical times denied the Ulster team any real opportunities to make a real impact on the game. The exception to this was the Ulster centre, Angus Kernohan, who caused problems for the Munster defence all afternoon. From one such positive passage of play the Ulster team was awarded a penalty in the opposition 22m area. Bruce Houston stepped up to successfully convert the penalty kick and reduce the Ulster deficit to 10-8 just before the break.

Ulster started the second period of play and might have taken a narrow lead only to see an early penalty kick opportunity drop just short of the target. Munster escaped and three minutes later the visitor’s increased their lead to 13-8 when Ben Healy was successful with another penalty kick opportunity. The Ulster team responded positively and pressurised the Munster defence with a series of plays in the opposition 22m area. Following a series of rucks and mauls Angus Kernohan got just reward for his hard work throughout the game when he took advantage of space on the right hand side of the pitch. Angus needed no invitation to exploit the situation and he ran in to touch down for a fine try. Bruce Houston obliged with the conversion to put the Ulster Schools’ team into a 15-13 lead twelve minutes into the second half. The Ulster team went back on the attack but managed to concede yet another penalty. Munster cleared their lines and took play into the Ulster 22m area. From a lineout they secured possession which ended when Finn Burke touched down for a try. For once in the game Ben Healy’s boots deserted him but the Munster team now had regained the lead with the scoreboard reading 18-15 in their favour. Try as they might the Ulster team was unable to rescue the situation even when the Munster team was reduced to fourteen players. The Ulster team continued to struggle with their ball retention problem which ensured one or two promising looking attacks did not come to fruition. The game ended with the Munster team celebrating a deserved 18-15 victory with the nature of the defeat reflected in the genuine disappointment expressed in the faces and minds of the Ulster players. Hopefully that disappointment can be translated into a more positive approach from the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ team as they prepare to take on Leinster Schools’ in their next Inter Provincial game at the Donnybrook Stadium in Dublin on Saturday 3rd September at 3-00pm.

Danske Bank Ulster U18 Schools’ Team
15. Mark Thompson (Ballymena Academy)
14. Ben Webb (Campbell College)
13. Jonathan Hunter (Wallace HS
12. Angus Kernohan (Ballymena Academy)
11. George Pringle (Friends’ School)
10. Bruce Houston (Ballymena Academy)
9. Niall Armstrong (RBAI)
1. John McKee (Campbell College)
2. Clayton Milligan (Down HS)
3. Calum Smyth (Sperrin Integrated College)
4. Matthew Mooney (Coleraine GS)
5. Oisin Kiernan (St Clare’s College, Cavan)
6. Jamie Macartney (Campbell College)
7. Matthew Crowther (Campbell College)
8. Azur Allison (Captain, Ballymena Academy)
Replacements:
16. Tim Savoury (Ballymena Academy)
17. Ben Savage (Ballymena Academy)
18. Scott Agnew (Ballymena Academy)
19. Max Baillie (Coleraine GS)
20. Jack Rutledge (Portora RS)
21. Tom Gilpin (BRA)
22. Ethan Field (RBAI)
23. Lewis Finlay (Down HS)
24. Jules Storey (Sullivan Upper)
25. Jamie Manderson (Wallace HS)
26. Jack Lewis (Ballyclare HS)
Team Management:
Head Coach: James Topping
Assistant Head Coach: Bryan Young
Assistant Coaches: Gavin Murray and Chris Nash
Strength and conditioning coach: Matthew Maguire
Physiotherapist: Katie Lannon
Doctor: Dr Ryan Hamilton
Resources Manager: Daniel Carson
Manager: Richard Clingan