This season’s Danske Bank Schools’ Cup was launched by participating captains today at a revamped Ravenhill.
With two new stands already built and the main grandstand nearing completion ahead of the St. Patrick’s Day final at Ravenhill, the Schools’ Cup captains will compete to showcase their skills in front of a large crowd at the world class venue.
Last season, Ross Kane became the 36th Methodist College captain to lead his team to success in the Danske Bank Schools’ Cup. The world’s second-oldest rugby competition was first won by Royal School Armagh back in 1876.
Ivan McMinn, Head of Corporate Banking at Danske Bank and John Robinson, President of IRFU (Ulster Branch), made the draw for the first round draw of the competition, which included five previous winners: Foyle College, Grosvenor Grammar School, Regent House, Royal School Dungannon and Wellington College.
The draw is as follows:
Foyle College v Friends’ School Lisburn
Carrickfergus Grammar School v Portadown College
Royal School Dungannon v Omagh Academy
Banbridge Academy v Larne Grammar School
Lurgan College v Antrim Grammar School
Regent House v Wellington College
Grosvenor Grammar School v Cambridge House
The fixtures are scheduled to be played on Saturday 11th January 2014.
The seven winners of these ties will be joined in the Round 2 draw by Bangor GS, BRA, Coleraine Academical Institution, Down High School, Limavady Grammar School, Belfast High School, Portora Royal School, Dalriada School and Rainey Endowed School. Reigning champions Methodist College Belfast, along with seven other seeded teams, will enter the competition in Round 3.
Speaking at the launch, Ivan McMinn commented: “This is now the ninth year of Danske Bank’s sponsorship of this historic competition. A lot has changed during that time, such as the major redevelopment of Ravenhill and the rebrand of Northern Bank to Danske Bank. But supporting the Schools’ Cup has always been, and continues to be, a central part of Danske Bank’s community involvement and support for youth sport in Northern Ireland. History has shown that the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup is a truly great platform for young rugby talent to shine and I have no doubt that this new season will be no exception.”
The draw was attended by former Belfast Royal Academy pupil Stuart Olding, one of 29 current Ulster Rugby players to have played in the Danske Bank Schools’ Cup. Olding spoke to the captains about his experiences in the competition and how his career has developed since.