Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 10th January 2015. By Barney McGonigle

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Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 10th January 2015.

There were Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Cup, 3rdxv Cup and Medallion Shield games played midweek in the lead up to a list of school friendly games and the seven Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 1 matches played on Saturday 10th January.

In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Cup games, Rainey Endowed School lost by 22-0 against Down High School while the Coleraine AI team had a comprehensive 70-0 victory against Antrim Grammar School. Coleraine AI scored twelve tries in total, four from George McKeag, four from James Bleakly and one each from Adam Alexander, Andy Moore, Johnny Booth and Alastair Telfer. Zac Hutchinson added five conversions to leave the score 70-0.

In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Cup game, St Columb’s College defeated Coleraine Academical Institution 4thxv by 26-12. Thomas Dallas and Jamie Taggart scored the Coleraine AI tries with Thomas adding one conversion. The St Columb’s College points came from four tries and three conversions. Meanwhile, Ballyclare Secondary School defeated Campbell College 4thxv by 31-5 in the same competition.

In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield Round 1 games, Regent House travelled to Wellington College and won the game by 43-10 and the Royal School, Dungannon team travelled to Antrim Grammar School and won the game by 25-0. Luke McMullan scored twice for the RS Dungannon team while Josh Fegan and Patrick Greaves scored one try each. Adam Evans was successful with one conversion, as well as a penalty, to round off the Royal School, Dungannon score. Calvin Nelson was central to all that was positive about the Royal School, Dungannon Medallion performance. Belfast High School came away from Strabane Academy with a win, Belfast Royal Academy defeated Carrickfergus Grammar School, Portadown College defeated Omagh Academy while Portora Royal School defeated Foyle and Londonderry College by 34-0.

There were seven Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 1 games played on Saturday 10th January.

The Banbridge Academy team hosted Antrim Grammar School in a game the Banbridge team controlled from very early on. The home team had built up a 19-0 lead by halftime before going on to win the game by 45-0. The intentions of the Banbridge Academy team were clear from the kick-off when their winger, Michael McGaffin scored a try in the first minute. The try was not converted but the Banbridge Academy team had a 5-0 lead. The Banbridge Academy team was controlling the set piece plays, as well as affairs at the breakdown, in the early stages of the game. It came as no surprise when Ben Carson displayed sublime skill before he touched down for a try after fifteen minutes. Daniel McElderry converted the try to put his team into a 12-0 lead. The Banbridge Academy captain, Matthew Bell, was leading his team well and he showed great qualities before he scored the third try of the game just before the break. Daniel McElderry was successful with his conversion kick to give his team a 19-0 lead at the interval.
It was more of the same for the Banbridge Academy team in the second half of the game. Their talented scrum half, Jay Pinion, ran in for a try three minutes after the re-start. Daniel McElderry converted the try to extend the Banbridge Academy lead to 26-0. Four minutes later, Michael McGaffin ran in for his second try of the game. Daniel McElderry, once again, converted the try to give his team an unassailable 33-0 lead. Despite the best intentions of Antrim Grammar School players such as JJ McKee, the Mawhinney brothers, James and Robert, team captain, Matthew Dunne and his backrow colleagues, Jacob McCollum and Daniel McGrandles, there was little they could do to prevent the Banbridge Academy team running in two more tries in the final quarter of the game. The Banbridge Academy 2nd Row forward, Peter Heaney, trundled in for a try which Daniel McElderry converted. This gave the Banbridge team a 40-0 lead. With just five minutes of the game remaining, Daniel McElderry scored his team’s seventh try of the game. Unusually, the conversion attempt was unsuccessful but this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 1 game finished with the Banbridge Academy emerging as deserved 45-0 winners.

It was a busy morning at Friends’ School, Lisburn when the Portadown College team arrived to play their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round 1 game. The Friends’ School Open Day was in full swing with numerous visitors in and around the school. Many of the visitors took in the game which the Portadown College team won by 16-5.
The Portadown team lost their flanker, Sam White, to a non-contact injury during the warm up. This provided their young replacement, Stuart Hodgen, with the opportunity to gain Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup experience somewhat earlier than he expected. The game started in windy conditions with both teams attempting to impose their structures and patterns on the opposition. Early nerves ensured a large number of mistakes but both teams were trying to play positive rugby. The Friends’ School team made good use of the wind in their backs. They secured a lot of possession from their lineout plays and were effective at the breakdown. Their half backs made good use of the ball and kept the team on the front foot for good periods of time. Curtis Dundas and Ryan Hall asked questions of the Portadown College defence, on a number of occasions. The got in behind the defence, at times, only to see the final pass go to ground or get bundled into touch when in possession. Good use of the ball, with both forwards and backs involved in the build-up, saw the Friends’ School flanker, Adam Milligan, cross the Portadown College line to touch down for an unconverted try and give his team a deserved 5-0 lead thirty minutes into the game. From the restart,the Portadown College team patiently worked their way back up the pitch and Niall Davidson and Michael Orr combined to create space for Michael to mount a rare attack on the Friends’ School line. The Friends’ defence went on a drift and Michael read the pattern well. He simply straightened his line of running and touched down for an unconverted try to level the score at 5-5. The Friends’ School team had an opportunity to retake the lead just before the break but a penalty kick chance was missed.
The Portadown College team made good use of the wind in their backs in the second half. They pinned the Friends’ School team back with some astute kicks. The Friends’ defence gave away two penalties in quick succession. Niall Davidson made no mistake with his trusty boot. He converted both penalty opportunities to put his team into an 11-5 lead early in the second half. The visitors continued to press in the Friends’ School “Red Zone”. They took advantage of some very slack Friends’ School defence when the Portadown College left wing, Jordan Dowds, slipped through three missed tackles to touch down for an unconverted try and put his team into a 16-5 lead. The Friends’ School team then went into attack mode but a mixture of poor decision making, allied to dropped passes at critical times in the final minutes of the game, ensured it was the Portadown College team that emerged from this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 1 encounter as 16-5 winners.

Limavady Grammar School hosted Wellington College in their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 1 clash at the Ballyquin Road venue. In a closely fought encounter, it was the Limavady Grammar School team that emerged eventually as 10-5 winners. The Limavady Grammar school team won the toss and played with the strong wind in the first half. They started well and used the wind to good effect taking up position in the Wellington College 22m area. However, the game was broken up by numerous errors with the high wind and, at times, heavy snow taking their toll on the players. Eventually, the first try of the game came when the Limavady Grammar School captain, Scott McLean, gained good ground for his team with a long penalty kick. The resulting lineout saw the home team gain control of the ball. They protected the ball very efficiently and finished off with a try which was awarded to Oliver Mullan. The conversion kick was unsuccessful but the Limavady Grammar School had a 5-0 lead which they took into the interval.
The second half saw the Limavady Grammar School team enjoy territorial advantage for long periods of time. However, the overhead conditions ensured there were plenty of spillages and the game became somewhat scrappy at times. Both teams displayed great determination and it was the Wellington College team that levelled the score at 5-5 when they kicked their way into the Limavady Grammar School 22m area following a series of penalties. Pressure on the Limavady defence ended when Jamie Hewitt ran in for an unconverted try for the Wellington College team. The home team recovered from this setback and their pack, buoyed by the arrival of impact sub, Alan Wilson, took play deep into Wellington College territory. Pressure on the Wellington College line ended when Gus McIntosh scrambled over for an unconverted try to secure a hard –earned 10-5 victory for the Limavady Grammar School at the end of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round 1 encounter.

The Regent House team was made to work very hard before they defeated the Royal School, Dungannon team by 13-7 when the teams met in the first round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup. The game was played in very strong wind conditions which made life difficult for both sets of players during the game. The RS Dungannon team felt in a confident mood for the game coming into it on the back of a training camp in Portugal and good performances in recent outings. The Regent House team had the advantage of the wind in the first half. They received the kick-off and played through the early phases of the game by protecting the ball very effectively. Their clever work paid off when Aaron May touched down for an unconverted try to put his Regent House team into a 5-0 lead. The rest of the first half was contested on a reasonably even manner with both teams having created opportunities to score points. However, well-organised defences and the occasional knock-on or dropped pass ensured it was the Regent House team that took their 5-0 lead into the halftime break.
The Royal School, Dungannon team had a one man advantage for a short time after the break. However, they were unable to make anything of the situation and conceded a series of soft penalties to let the Regent House team off the hook. Indeed, it was the Regent House team that extended their lead when their captain, Jonny Harris, took advantage of a well-organised driven maul, following a line-out, to touchdown for a try. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Regent House team now had a 10-0 lead. This soon became 13-0 when Taylor Nutt converted a penalty for the Regent House team, following an RS Dungannon indiscretion at a breakdown. The Royal School, Dungannon team had pressurised the Regent House line for good parts of the second buy got no return for their endeavours. That was until Josh McKee scored a try following good work in the lineout from his forwards. Aaron Perry kicked a superb conversion to reduce the arrears to 13-7. However, it turned out to be a case of so near, but yet so far, for the Royal School, Dungannon team. The final whistle sounded and it was the Regent House team that celebrated their hard-earned, but ultimately, well-deserved, victory at the end of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 1 game.

Cambridge House hosted Grosvenor Grammar School in the first round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup in a game the Grosvenor Grammar School team won by 25-3. The Grosvenor Grammar School team started well and dominated both territory and possession for good periods of time. They got off to the best possible start when, from the kick-off, the Cambridge House team turned the ball over. The Grosvenor GS team worked their way through the phases before Caleb McCullough went over for an unconverted try in the corner to give his team a 5-0 lead. A few minutes later, another Cambridge House infringement gave Mark Johnston the opportunity to extend the Grosvenor Grammar School lead to 8-0 when he was successful with the resultant penalty kick. In the final minutes of the first half, the Cambridge House team turned over line-out ball close to the Grosvenor GS line. Grosvenor moved the ball with width allowing their centre, Thomas Quinn to break three tackles. Thomas finished off with a try under the Cambridge House posts. Mark Johnston added the conversion to give the visitors a 15-0 lead. The Cambridge House team re-gathered, and with the last play of the first half, got some reward for their endeavours when James Bovill converted a penalty opportunity to reduce the deficit to 15-3 at the break.
The Grosvenor Grammar School team started the second half strongly. They gained possession and spent a great deal of time in the opposition third of the pitch. From a series of forward drives, Daniel Mayhew eventually forced his way over the Cambridge House line to touch down for an unconverted try to put his team into a 20-3 lead going into the final quarter of the game. Mark Johnston was denied a try a few minutes later. He was almost certain to score only for an outstanding cover defence tackle from a Cambridge House player to deny Mark the try. However, the Grosvenor Grammar School victory was secured when Andrew Boyd touched down for a try following good work from his pack. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Grosvenor Grammar school team had won their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 1 game by 25-3.

In their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup first round game, Carrickfergus Grammar School hosted a Lurgan College team that had defeated the County Antrim team earlier in the season. The Carrickfergus GS team, having returned recently from a training camp in Portugal, took revenge from that defeat by winning the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game by 22-3. The game, played in blustery conditions at Irwin Park, started with the Carrickfergus GS team enjoying a slight wind advantage. They dominated the early exchanges of the game with Adam Urquhart and Reece Berry getting through a lot of work. These players managed to stifle the speed of the ball the Lurgan College team required from the rucks which, in turn, ensured the Lurgan team was unable to mount positive front foot attacks. Indeed, it was the Carrickfergus Grammar School team that took a 5-0 lead when Christian Robinson displayed some great footwork, allied to his pace, to outwit the Lurgan College defence. He ran in for an unconverted try to give his team a 5-0 lead. The Carrickfergus GS team had a number of opportunities to extend their lead but the prevailing conditions made life difficult for the kicker and two penalty opportunities were missed. It was Ryan Wilson, the Lurgan College scrum half, who put the next points on the board, when he was successful with a penalty kick, to reduce the deficit to 5-3. Somewhat against the run of play, the Carrickfergus Grammar School team increased their lead to 10-3 just before the halftime break. Team captain, Jake Porter, combined with his fellow centre, Christian Robinson, to put David Carse in for a try. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Carrickfergus Grammar School team had a 10-3 lead at the interval.
This score seemed to give the Carrickfergus team the confidence to continue their momentum at the start of the second half but, at times, a lack of accuracy let them down. That was until they started to get the upper hand at scrum time. It was from a scrum they mounted an attack which finished with their full back, Fionn McCormack, running in for a try. Marc Ellison added the extras to put his team into a 17-3 lead. The Lurgan College then team mounted something of a revival with Victor MacKenzie, Nathan Moffett and Harry Simpson leading the way. Despite their best intentions, they ran up against a well-organised Carrickfergus GS defence which ensured the Lurgan College midfield attack of Jamie Hunter, Jonny Hunter and Stephen Logan was stifled. It was the home team that finished the stronger when the combined efforts of Scott Henderson, Paul Nelson, David Stewart and Tom Gilpin created the space for Christian Robinson to touch down for his second try of the game. The conversion was unsuccessful but the Carrickfergus Grammar School team had deservedly won their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 1 game by 22-3.

The Foyle and Londonderry College team continued their recent run of good form when they hosted Larne Grammar School in the first round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup, a game the home team won by 37-10. The Foyle team played with the wind in the first half. Alex McDonnell, the Foyle College captain, displayed good tactical awareness and kept the Larne GS team pinned in their half for long periods of time. Alex scored the first try of the game in the eighth minute. He converted the try to put his team into a 7-0 lead. The Foyle College team continued to take advantage of the wind and the Larne GS defence had to work hard. Midway through the first half, the Foyle pack won a lineout just outside Larne’s 22m line. The ball was played off the top, crashed up in midfield, then recycled quickly down the blindside of a ruck. The pattern finished when the industrious Callum McDonnell touched down for a try. His brother, Alex, added the conversion to put the Foyle College team into a 14-0 lead. From the restart Larne came into the game with some good work from their pack. They pressurised the Foyle College defence into conceding a penalty which was converted by Calum McKay to reduce the deficit to 14-3. A couple minutes later Alex McDonnell cancelled that penalty out with a penalty for his Foyle College team to take a 17-3 lead into half time.
The Larne Grammar School team came out of the blocks quickly at the start of the second half. The created the opportunity for Jordan Bell to finish off a flowing move with a try. Callum McKay added the extras to reduce the arrears to 17-10. The Foyle College team, now playing into the wind, had to rely less on the boot of Alex McDonnell to gain ground. They had to keep possession by protecting the ball going through a lot of phase plays. Through sustained possession and pressure they managed to break the Larne defence down with Alex McDonnell scoring his second try of the game in the corner. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Foyle lead was now 22-10.
Alex then extended Foyle lead to 25-10 with another penalty. Jack McNeill then ran in for an unconverted try for his Foyle College team to extend their lead to 30-10. With the last play of the game, Foyle won a Larne scrum and Alex McDonnell was able to go under the posts for his third try of the game. Alex converted his try to secure the 37-10 victory for the Foyle and Londonderry College team at the end of this exciting Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 1 game.

Following the game at Friends’ School, Lisburn, the draws for the Quarter-Finals of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy and the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup 2nd Round took place. The draws were completed by Mr Peter Hunniford, Danske Bank Representative, and Mr Stephen Black, Principals’ Representative on the Ulster Branch (IRFU) The results of the draws are as follows:-

Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy Quarter-Final Draw

Cambridge House v Royal School, Dungannon
Lurgan College v Strabane Academy
Wellington College v Friends’ School, Lisburn
Antrim Grammar School v Larne Grammar School

Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 2 Draw

Bangor Grammar School v Dalriada School
Carrickfergus Grammar School v Belfast Royal Academy
Down High School v Rainey Endowed School
Regent House v Foyle and Londonderry College
Portadown College v Limavady Grammar School
Royal School, Armagh v Belfast High School
Portora Royal School v Banbridge Academy
Grosvenor Grammar School v Omagh Academy

All these games are scheduled to take place on Saturday 24th January.

As well as the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round 1 games, there were some non- cup games played on Saturday 10th January.

Wallace High School continued their successful season with a 17-12 victory against St Mary’s College, Dublin. The St Mary’s College team, one of whose coaches is former Royal School, Armagh, Ulster and Ireland Schools’ 2nd Row Forward, Jamie Cornett, scored two tries, one of which was converted. The Wallace High School team scored three tries from Ben Finlay, Gary Dillon and Philip Hylands, Ryan Wilson added one conversion to secure the well-deserved 17-12 victory for the Wallace High School team.

Campbell College, Belfast hosted Clongowes Wood College from Co Kildare and lost out by 22-21 with the last kick of the game.

The Royal School, Armagh team travelled to play a Blackrock College team that won the game by 15-8. The RS Armagh team made the Blackrock team work hard for their 5-3 lead at the break. The RS Armagh team had taken a 3-0 lead when Michael Thompson kicked a penalty. The Blackrock team scored a breakaway unconverted try just before halftime.
The Blackrock College team then took control and ran in two unconverted tries to take a 15-3 lead. The RS Armagh team displayed great tenacity and got some reward for their hard work when Jonny Nelson touched down for an unconverted try towards the end of the game. Despite losing the game by 15-8 the Royal School, Armagh team felt they got a lot out of their performance.

Belfast Royal Academy continued their recent run of positive results when they hosted, and defeated, Portora Royal School by 23-17. The Belfast Royal Academy team had built up an 18-7 lead by the break with a penalty from Michael Wilson, an unconverted try from David McCullough, a try from David Campbell, which Michael Wilson converted, and another penalty from Michael. The Portora Royal School team scored a converted try in the first half.
The Portora RS team scored two unconverted tries in the second half to reduce the arrears to 18-17. However, the Belfast Royal Academy team secured their 23-17 win when, with the final play of the game, David O’Donnell Anderson touched down for an unconverted try.

Both Ballymena Academy and Sullivan Upper were missing quite a few key regular players when the teams met at the Galgorm Road venue on Saturday. The Ballymena Academy team won the encounter by 16-0 but the Sullivan Upper team made them work hard for the entire game. The Ballymena Academy squad got a major boost with the performance of Alexander Clarke who was making his debut as hooker on the senior team. Joining Alexander, in making his debut, was David Craig who put in a first class performance with his hard work in the Academy “Engine Room”.
The blustery weather conditions meant that each team enjoyed a half with the strong wind in their backs. Ballymena Academy benefitted from the breeze in the first period, with Andrew Magrath and Michael Stronge managing the territory. After a sustained period of pressure near the Sullivan line, Ballymena were awarded a penalty that was successfully slotted by Andrew Magrath to give his team a 3-0 lead. Five minutes later, it was Andrew who won the race to the touchdown following a clever kick through from Angus Kernohan. Andrew’s conversion increased the lead to 10-0. Two more Andrew Magrath penalties, before the interval, stretched the home team’s lead to 16-0 at halftime.
The second half saw Sullivan enjoy the majority of territory and possession and their strong scrum, with Peter Cooper outstanding, was proving to be a useful platform. Ballymena defended very efficiently for long periods of the half, with Marcus Rea and Joe Thompson to the fore. As the half wore on, Sullivan Upper turned down several opportunities to kick penalties as they searched for a try. The Ballymena Academy team continued to defend with intensity and aggression and, in doing so, kept the Sullivan team from crossing the try line until the final whistle sounded for a 16-0 win for the home team.

Ballyclare High School hosted Rainey Endowed School, in a game the Ballyclare High School had to work to secure their 24-7 victory. The first half was evenly contested with Jack Black scoring a try for the Ballyclare team. Matthew McDowell added the conversion for the home team to take a 7-0 lead. Back came the Rainey team with a try from Anton Lupari, which was converted by Mark Rooney, to draw the score level at 7-7. There were no further scores in the first half.
Things were evenly contested in the second half until the visitors lost a player. The Ballyclare High School team took advantage and ran in three late tries through Matthew Robson, Owen Kirk and Ali Burke. Matthew McDowell converted one try to ensure a hard-earned 24-7 win for the Ballyclare High School team.

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