Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 4th January 2014 by Barney McGonigle

Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 4th January 2014 by Barney McGonigle

Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 4th January 2014

Despite the fact schools do not restart, after the Christmas break, until Monday 6th, there were some games played on Saturday 4th January.

Belfast High School hosted Royal Belfast Academical Institution, at the Shore Road venue, in a game in which the Belfast Inst team had to work hard before recording a 10-0 victory.

The Belfast High School team might be seen as one of the “Dark Horses” for success in the forthcoming Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup competition and will have gained a lot of confidence following their performance in the course of this game. They asked questions of the Belfast Inst defence and defended well for most of the game. It took the pace of Rory Campbell to get past the home defence and touch down for a try in the latter stages of the first half. Frazer Wright added the extras to give the visitors a 7-0 lead. From the restart the Belfast High School attack, with Jordan Garford playing a leading role, might have reduced the deficit only to be denied by a scrambling Belfast Inst defence and a superb tackle from Rory Bell. This ensured the Belfast Inst team retained their 7-0 lead until the interval.
The High School team started the second half strongly with Robbie Reid, James Creighton, Joel McBride and Jake Hutchinson asking questions of the Belfast Inst defence. With players such as Scott White, Jacob McConkey, Lewis Benson and Scott Shaw getting through a lot of work, at the set pieces and breakdown, the Belfast High School backs had plenty of quality possession with which to work. However, they were unable to cross the whitewash and the Inst line remained intact. Late in the game it was the pace of Rory Campbell, running out of defence, which led to a Belfast High School infringement at a ruck. From the resultant penalty Frazer Wright slotted the ball over the bar to secure a hard earned 10-0 for his Royal Belfast Academical Institution team.

Omagh Academy travelled to play Portora Royal School at Enniskillen Rugby Club with their strongest team available for the first time since September.

The Co Tyrone team won the game by 26-12 and this result will put them in a positive mood as they prepare for their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup campaign.
Omagh had built up a 12-0 lead by the interval with an early unconverted try from Lloyd Kane and a try from Scott Barr which was converted by Stuart Ballentine. Portora RS had a number of opportunities to score points in the first half but kickable penalties were missed and try scoring opportunities lost due to handling errors.
Omagh Academy started the second half well with Lloyd Kane touching down for his second try of the morning having gathered a perfectly weighted chip kick from Stuart Ballentine. Stuart added the extras to give the Omagh Academy team a 19-0 lead. Omagh stayed on the front foot and, following a well worked lineout move, James Catterson bundled over for a try. Stuart Ballentine converted the try to give his team a 26-0 lead. In the final ten minutes of the game both teams made use of their entire squads and the Portora RS team finished the game with two tries, one of which was converted, to ensure a 26-12 win for the Omagh Academy team.
Both teams would like to thank Enniskillen Rugby Club for use of their fine facilities at Mullaghmeen and for hosting this game.

Rainey Endowed School and Banbridge Academy met in an entertaining game which the Rainey Endowed team won by 8-7.

The Banbridge Academy team started the game well and had the Rainey team on the back foot in the opening exchanges of the game. However, the latter stages of the first half saw the Rainey team ask questions of the Banbridge Academy defence. However, they could find no way through and there was no score from either team at the break.
The visitors took the lead early in the second half when their strong running centre, Rory Thompson, touched down for a try. Daniel McElderry converted the try to give the Banbridge Academy team a 7-0 lead. Five minutes later the Rainey Endowed team reduced the deficit to 7-5 when David McClelland scored an unconverted try. Midway through the second half the Rainey Endowed team took an 8-7 lead when Kieran Lynch converted a penalty opportunity. The visitors mounted more pressure late in the game but the Rainey Endowed School defence held out to secure their 8-7 win.

Grosvenor Grammar School hosted Belfast Royal Academy in a game which the Academy team won by 26-24.

The Belfast Royal Academy team opened the scoring and took a 5-0 lead early in the game. The Grosvenor GS team replied with an unconverted try from their impressive prop, James Cartilage, to draw the score level at 5-5. The Grosvenor GS team then took a 10-5 lead when Jonan McDowell took advantage of a clever kick from Jamie McMullan to touch down for an unconverted try. The BRA team responded immediately an scored an unconverted try to leave the score line 10-10 at half time.
The Grosvenor Grammar School team then took a 17-10 lead early in the second half when Neil Cushley forced his way over the BRA line following a scrum. Jonah McDowell added the conversion. The BRA team then responded with two tries, neither of which were converted, to take a 20-17 lead. Once again, the Grosvenor team responded positively and regained the lead when Jonah McDowell scored another try. He converted the try to see his team into a 24-20 lead. However, poor discipline from his team presented the BRA team with two penalty kick opportunities, which were converted, to secure a hard earned 26-24 win for the Belfast Royal Academy team.

Royal School, Armagh played Dalriada School and continued their recent runs of good form with a 31-0 win.

The RS Armagh team had built up a 19-0 lead by half time with tries from Mervyn Brown, Matthew Hooks and Curtis Sherry, two of which were converted by Matthew Hooks.
The second half saw the RS Armagh team continue to dominate with Robin Sinton impressing in the lineout and Jonny Morton getting through a lot of hard work in the rucks. This provided quality possession for Mervyn Brown to orchestrate things with his backline in which the Agnew brothers, David and Josh, impressed. The home team scored two second half tries through Mervyn Brown, one of which Matthew Hooks converted, to ensure the 31-0 win for the Royal School, Armagh team.

Lurgan College recorded a 33-5 victory against Friends’ School in an entertaining game played in Lurgan.

The home team started well with first half tries from Matthew Laird and Mark McIlwaine. Mark converted Matthew’s try to ensure a 12-0 lead for the Lurgan College team. The Friends’ School team responded with an unconverted try from Zach Finlay to ensure a 12-5 Lurgan College lead at the break.
The Lurgan College team controlled the play in the second half and ran in tries through Jordan McIlwaine, Matthew Laird and Mark McIlwaine. Mark added to a successful morning when he converted all three tries to secure the 33-5 victory for his Lurgan College team.

Wallace High School hosted Ballymena Academy in a game the Lisburn team won by 19-9.

Having lost their last game by 20-0 against Coleraine Academical Institution, it was important for the Wallace HS team to get back to winning ways in the course of this game. Andrew Magrath put the visitors into an early 6-0 lead when he converted two early penalty opportunities. The Wallace High School team responded positively and Jacob Stockdale, hat trick hero of a recent Ireland Schools’ victory against the Ireland Clubs’ team, broke through the Ballymena Academy defence to put Philip Hylands in for a try. Ryan Moore converted the try to give the Wallace HS team a 7-6 lead. Andrew Cardosi then made full use of his pace to score an unconverted try for the Wallace HS team and increase their lead to 12-6. Andrew Magrath reduced the deficit to 12-9 when he converted his third penalty of the game just before the break.
The balance of play was fairly even in the course of the second half until just before the end of the game. The Ballymena Academy team had chances but the Wallace HS defence was equal to anything the Ballymena Academy attack came up with. The final minute of the game saw Andrew Cardosi take full advantage of a clever Jonny Stewart kick and touch down for a try in the corner. Ryan Moore stepped up and converted the try to secure a hard earned, but well-deserved, 19-9 victory for the Wallace High School team.

Methodist College travelled to play Blackrock College in Dublin.

The Methody team lost the game by 20-13 but can take many positives from their performance against the Leinster Schools’ Cup favourites. Blackrock College had built up an 8-6 lead by the interval with a try and a penalty goal. In response, the Methody team had one Josh Bingham penalty as well as a long range drop goal from the same player in the course of the first half
With just a minute remaining the Blackrock College team had a 15-13 lead, having scored a converted try against a Saul Herdman try and a Josh Bingham conversion for the Methody team. The Methody team was sitting on the Blackrock line and going all out for a win. Just as it looked as if they were going to score the Methody team lost possession and Blackrock broke out to score an unconverted try and record a 20-13 victory.

Campbell College hosted Rockwell College from Munster and continued their recent run of good results by recording a hard earned 8-3 win.

Limavady Grammar School travelled to Dublin to play the Catholic University School in a close game which the Limavady GS team was delighted to win by 12-10.

This was a hard earned but well-deserved win against the ever improving Dublin CUS team. The Limavady team was missing half backs, Ross Allen and Scott McClean. In the early stages of the game this was evident as the Limavady GS team did not make good use of the plentiful supply of possession provided by their pack. Limavady missed a number of kickable penalties as their pack dominated possession in the opening encounters. This meant the end result was probably closer than it should have been. Limavady scored two tries through 2nd Row, Brendan Ferguson, when their pack mauled the CUS pack back over their line twice in the first half. Daniel Forrest converted one of the tries to give his team a 12-0 lead. Limavady continued to dominate the first half but poor support play saw CUS turn the ball over after excellent breaks through centre Michael Barr, No 8 Sam Mackey, winger Sam Neilly and second row Brendan Ferguson. All of these opportunities should have resulted in points. CUS got back into the game right on half time, when the Limavady centre, Tom McClelland, pulled his hamstring and the CUS centre went through the gap to score an unconverted try in the corner. This try took the score to 12-5, in favour of Limavady GS, at the interval.
The second half was a much tighter affair with Limavady guilty of squandering two guilt edged opportunities. CUS scored late in the game after good work by their pack resulted in an overlap and their winger touched down for an unconverted try in the corner. On the day forwards Sam Mackey, Richard Boyd and Michael McMullan produced fine performances for the Limavady GS team. In the backs, Scott Patton played well at scrum-half with captain and centre, Michael Barr, again prominent in the midfield exchanges. Limavady Grammar School also welcomed back Rory Squires who got his first taste of action this season after injury and he played a dominant role in the Limavady GS 12-10 victory.

Royal School, Dungannon had a useful work out, prior to their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game with Omagh Academy, against Carrickfergus Grammar School. The RS Dungannon won the game by 24-5.

The Coleraine Academical Institution team maintained their excellent recent form when they hosted Sullivan Upper.

Having defeated Wallace High School by 20-0 in a game played during the Christmas break, the Coleraine AI defeated the much fancied Sullivan Upper team by 9-7. Sullivan started the better of the two teams and pressed the Coleraine AI defence for long periods of the first half. Sullivan dominated possession and territory for the first twenty minutes. However, a combination of poor decision making and superb defence by Conor Shiels, Olly McDowell and Ally Corbett kept the score at 0-0. In the closing stages of the first half the Coleraine AI team got some quality possession with which to attack but they could not make the essential break through leaving the score line reading 0-0 at the interval.
After half time the roles reversed with Coleraine AI dominating territory and Sullivan having to display resolute defensive qualities. Coleraine AI’s efforts were rewarded on forty five minutes when Sullivan infringed at the breakdown in front of their own posts. Conor Shiels stepped up and slotted the points to give his team a 3-0 lead. Coleraine AI continued to press with Daniel McAllister and Conor Shiels making significant line breaks. On fifty minutes, after yet another Conor Shiels line break, Sullivan infringed at the breakdown. Conor stepped up and slotted the penalty from the Sullivan 10m line to put his team into a 6-0 lead.
Coleraine now dominated proceedings and were well on top in terms of both territory and possession. However, they couldn’t convert this pressure into points despite both Johnny Crowe and Conor Shiels coming close with drop goal attempts. On fifty eight minutes, ColeraineAI threw a careless pass in the Sullivan 22m area. The Holywood team capitalised on this mistake and David McMaster ran the length of the pitch to score close to the posts, The conversion was added by Mark Adair and Sullivan Upper had taken a 7-6 lead. Coleraine AI responded positively but their chance seemed to have been missed when wave after wave of attack was repelled by stubborn Sullivan defence. With little time left on the clock the home side was awarded a penalty inside their own 22m area. A quick tap enabled a combination of Olly McDowell, Thomas Pethick and Conor Shiels to open up the tiring Sullivan defence. Eventually, after several phases of play, Sullivan infringed again just inside their own half. Conor Shiels stepped up and coolly converted the penalty for an impressive 9-7 Coleraine Academical Institution victory.

Wellington College recorded a well-deserved 47-11 win against Cambridge House.

In an error riddled game the Wellington team had built up a 12-6 lead by half time. The Wellington tries, in the first half, came from Sam Thompson and Jason Lyons. Andy Hanna added the conversion to Jason’s try. In response, the Cambridge House team converted two penalty opportunities.
Wellington College dominated proceedings in the second half and ran in five tries. David Montgomery and Matthew Elliott scored two tries each with Sam Bridge touching down for one. Andy Hanna was successful with all five conversions. The Cambridge House team scored one consolation try in the second half to leave the Wellington College team as 47-11 winners.

The scheduled Bangor Grammar School v Down High School game was cancelled due to flooded pitches at the Bangor Grammar School campus.