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Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The Royal Belfast Academical Institution sealed a 30th outright Danske Bank Schools’ Cup win after edging out The Wallace High School 14-10 in a dramatic St. Patrick’s Day Final at Kingspan Stadium.

The result means Wallace HS has now lost all five of their final appearances, with the last three coming at the hands of today’s opposition.

RBAI forced two kickable penalties in the opening quarter of an hour but scrumhalf TJ Morris was off target with both of his attempts.

Despite the dominance showed by Inst in the opening stages it was Wallace HS that opened the scoring with a neat try in the right hand corner. The forwards were heavily involved in providing go forward ball and a lovely floated pass by outhalf Neil Kilpatrick gave Connor Guiney space to touch down. Andrew Cardosi’s conversion attempt was off target from a difficult angle.

Inst captain Lewis McNamara dragged his team back into the game almost immediately when he powered over beside the posts after excellent work by his fellow forwards. Morris added the extras to push his side 7-5 ahead going into the break.

Cardosi had a chance to restore the lead for Wallace just two minutes into the second half but his penalty effort drifted just wide. However, his teammates continued to press for a breakthrough and they were rewarded in the 45th minute. Scrumhalf Jonny Stewart pounced on a loose ball from a scrum and fed number 8 Max Trouton, who dummied and ran through unopposed to touch down. Cardosi’s missed conversion left the score reading 7-10.

But RBAI responded in typical fashion as a solid scrum laid the platform for a well-executed starter play from their lively backs. Morris sucked in a couple of defenders and switched play back inside to left wing, Jack Conlin, who burst through and beat the covering defenders. Morris’ conversion put Inst 14-10 ahead.

It was a double blow for Wallace who lost influential fullback, Philip Hylands, in the build up to the score. But the Lisburn boys pushed for a late, decisive score, but heroic defence kept RBAI’s line intact.

The final whistle was greeted by huge applause and cheers from the RBAI contingent in the 6361 crowd. Wallace will hope that their good work at Medallion level will mean they have another realistic shot at that elusive title next year.

RBAI (15-9): Andrew McGregor; Joe Finnegan, Callum McLaughlin, James Hume, Jack Conlin; Michael Lowry, TJ Morris; (1-8): Jake Chambers, Ryan McComiskey, John Dickson, Garrett Bell, Connor Wallace, Lewis McNamara (captain), Ethan Harbinson, Mark Mairs;
Replacements (16-23): Callum Reid, Neil Saulters, Dermot Wallace, Andrew Thompson, Patrick Nicholas, Matthew Young, Patrick Dolaghan, Ben McGavock.

WALLACE HS (15-9): Philip Hylands; Connor Guiney, Andrew Cardosi, Ryan Wilson, Ben Finlay; Neil Kilpatrick, Jonny Stewart; (1-8): Jonathan Blair, Ben Pentland, Andrew Weir, Graham Malley, Patrick Ferguson, Sam Moore (captain), Andrew Irvine, Max Trouton;
Replacements (16-23): Michael Smyth, Gary Dillon, Nicholas Woods, Tom Baird, Adam Heaps, Ikenna Nzewi, Adam Black, Gary Chan.