Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 3rd Round postponed/replay games: REPORTS by Barney McGonigle

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There were three postponed Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 3rd Round games played midweek as well as one Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 3rd Round replay game.

Belfast Royal Academy hosted a very spirited Carrickfergus Grammar School team at Roughfort and had to work hard before finally overcoming the visitors by 41-6.

The Carrickfergus team started well denying the home team anything worthwhile in terms of quality possession or territory. That was until the tenth minute when Mark Wylie started a run from deep inside his half which ended with the impressive Daniel Dass scoring a try. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Belfast Royal Academy team had a 5-0 lead. From the restart, the home team made good use of possession and once again, Mark Wylie, exposed weaknesses in the Carrickfergus Grammar School defence to run in for a try. Daniel McFadden was successful with the conversion to put his team into a 12-0 lead. This seemed to spur the Carrickfergus team and they took play deep into home territory. Robert O’Callaghan, Adam Urquhart and Michael Black all asked questions of the opposition defence but could find no way through. Close to half time the Carrickfergus team got some reward for their endeavours when Kealan Gilpin was successful with two penalty opportunities to reduce the arrears to 12-6 at the interval.
With the wind in their backs in the second half, the home team spent long periods of time in the opposition 22 m area. Two minutes into the half, Jordan Carlisle spotted a gap in the Carrickfergus Grammar School defence and ran in for a try. Daniel McFadden converted the try to give his team a 19-6 lead. Daniel then got in on the try scoring act when he emerged from the bottom of a driven maul, over the Carrickfergus line, with the ball. He was unable to convert his try but the Belfast Royal Academy lead had been extended to 24-6. The Academy team had to work hard to maintain possession but towards the end of the game their physicality paid dividends. Quality possession and good use of the ball presented Sam Lindsay, Stewart Martin and David Campbell with try scoring opportunities. Daniel McFadden converted one of these tries to leave the final score reading 41-6 in favour of the Belfast Royal Academy team at the end of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 3rd Round game.

Grosvenor Grammar School hosted Dalriada School in a game which was in the balance until the visitors scored a try in the final few minutes to record a 14-10 win.

Dalriada started the game strongly by creating a well-worked strike move through their outhalf, Timmy Emmerson. This move finished with Ryan Malcolmson scoring a try under the Grosvenor Grammar School posts. Timmy added the conversion to give the Dalriada team a 7-0 lead. Grosvenor worked the conditions well and used the wind to their advantage. Dalriada’s resilient defence through their hard-working back row paid dividends. That was until the last minute of the first half when a strong Grosvenor Grammar School scrum saw Steven Marshall launch an tack which finished with a Sam Purdon try. Peter Davidson added the conversion to take the score to 7-7 at the interval.
The second half started will the Grosvenor Grammar School team on the attack. The Dalriada defence held firm and the only points they gave away came in the form of a Peter Davidson penalty which put the Grosvenor team into a 10-7 lead after sixty minutes. The Dalriada forwards started to take the game to their Grosvenor counterparts with Adam Pollock and Ryan Malcolmson leading the way. With just minutes remaining the Dalriada pressure paid off when Andy McWilliams paved the way for Timmy Woods to crash over for a try. The conversion attempt was successful and the Dalriada team had a 14-10 lead with little time on the clock. The Grosvenor team created an overlap close to the end of the game but “white line fever” prevented a score leaving the Dalriada team as triumphant 14-10 winners of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 3rd Round game.

The much vaunted Limavady Grammar School team travelled to play Friends’ School and emerged with a hard earned 21-10 victory.
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Limavady went into the game as strong favourites but it was the Friends’ team that had the first chance to score. Unfortunately for the Lisburn boys, a penalty opportunity was spurned. The Limavady Grammar School responded from this let-off when they converted a penalty opportunity of their own through Jack McCool to take a 3-0 lead. The Limavady team built on this lead and their pack started to produce some quality possession. Following the production of some quick ruck ball, the Limavady Grammar School winger, Joel Stirling, scored in the corner. The conversion was missed but the Limavady team had an 8-0 lead. The Friends’ team responded positively and got some reward for their endeavours when Ross Robinson was successful with a penalty kick to reduce the arrears to 8-3. Just before the interval defensive mistakes from the Friends’ team allowed Sam Mackey to burst through and supply his prop forward, Richard Boyd, with a precision pass which enabled him to touch down in the corner for a try. The conversion was missed but the visitors had a 13-3 half time lead.
At this stage Limavady seemed to be comfortable and, with a convincing lead at half time, they seemed to expect they would win the game comfortably. However, the Friends’ pack stepped up to the mark with Dean Howes, Peter Simpson and Dylan Lewis getting through a lot of work. With just ten minutes of the game remaining the Limavady team managed to get play into the Friends’ 22m area. Joel Stirling stole in for his second unconverted try of the game to give his team an 18-3 lead. This became 21-3 when Jack McCool kicked a penalty two minutes from time. The Friends’ School team deserved to get something from the game and they did when Peter Ferguson stepped inside the rush defence to touch down for a try. Ross Robinson converted the try to leave the Limavady Grammar School team as 21-10 winners of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 3rd Round game.

The Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 3rd Round replay, featuring Belfast High School and Royal School, Dungannon, took place at the Shore Road venue.
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The visitors thought they had the game won on Saturday 26th only to see the High School team snatch a 17-17 draw out of the jaws of defeat with the last play of the game. There was no such dramatic end to the replay with the Belfast High School team leading from the start and going on to record a 39-0 win. The RS Dungannon team had to make changes to their line up having lost the services of their captain, Jacob McCammond, to injury in the first game. The High School team took a 5-0 lead after just five minutes when Joel McBride scored an unconverted try following good work from his pack. Adam White then scored a try which Robbie Reid converted to increase the lead to 12-0. Prior to the interval the RS Dungannon team might have scored a try only to see Thomas Fegan denied by a last gasp tackle from Jake Hutchinson.
With the half time score reading 12-0 in favour of Belfast High School the first score of the second half was going to be important. It was the High School team that scored it with Adam White crossing for his second try of the game. Robbie Reid added the conversion to put the High School team into a 19-0 lead. Lewis Benson then stole an RS Dungannon lineout and the High School backline used the ball to good effect with Matthew Connolly finishing off a fluid move with a try. Robbie Reid converted the try to put his team into a 26-0 lead. Once again, the Tyrone men displayed their never say die attitude with Thomas Fegan and Jack Milligan both coming close. Matthew Connolly then scored his second try following good work from Jordan Garford. The conversion was missed but the Belfast High School team had a 31-0 lead. This became 34-0 when Robbie Reid converted a penalty. The final try of the game came from Darren Scott who outpaced the tiring RS Dugannon defence. The conversion was missed but the Belfast High School team had done enough to emerge from this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 3rd Round replay game as deserved 39-0 winners.

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