Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 25th October 2014. By Barney McGonigle

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Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 25th October 2014
There were eight midweek games played in the lead up to a good list of fixtures played on Saturday 25th October.
Belfast High School recorded a 57-5 victory against a Friends’ School, Lisburn team that had shown a steady improvement in recent games. However, on this occasion they were unable to match the power and pace of the Belfast High School team that scored nine tries in the course of this game. Joel McBride capped a fine personal performance with two tries and six conversions. Darren Scott ran in for two tries as well with Adam Kelso, Connor Elliott, Ethan Rock, Ryan Huntley and Ross Neill all touching down for one try each.
Despite losing the game, the Friends’ School team had good performances from their captain, Thomas Boyde, as well as their fullback, David Newell. Their consolation try came from the hard working Adam Schofield.
Ballyclare High School fielded a Year 12 team against a St Gerard’s School, Bray Transition Year team. The Ballyclare High School team recorded a comfortable 35-0 victory in the game. The Ballyclare team scored five tries with centre, Owen Kirk, running in for four of the tries. Captain, Andrew Robson, scored the fifth try with Owen Hutchinson successfully converting all five tries.
Banbridge Academy welcomed their impressive scrum half, Jay Pinion, back from injury for the visit of the Catholic University School team from Dublin. The Banbridge Academy team took a 3-0 lead when Daniel McElderry converted a penalty opportunity ten minutes into the game. Five minutes later the CUS team took a 5-3 lead when they touched down for an unconverted try following a well organised driven maul following a lineout. They repeated this play near the end of the first half to take a 10-3 lead into the break.
The second half was a game of “Nip and Tuck” with neither team able to take control of the game. There were no further scores which ensured the CUS team returned to Dublin with a 10-3 victory.
Ballymena Academy 2ndxv played the Belfast Metropolitan College team in a game the Belfast Met team won by 23-18.
The Strabane Academy 1stxv, a team that will be making a welcome return to the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup competition later in the season, played St Columb’s College in a game the Strabane team won by 26-5.
Sullivan Upper played their North Down rivals, from Bangor Grammar School, for the second time this season in a game the Sullivan Upper team won by 45-8. The Sullivan Upper was still missing five 1st xv regulars from their starting line-up but did manage to score seven tries. Peter Baker, Conor McEvoy, Matty Moran and Johnny Betts all scored one try each but it was Ryan Spence who put in a great performance which saw him score three tries. Callum Jeffery was successful with five of his conversion kicks.
In response, the Bangor Grammar School crossed the whitewash for one try as well as being successful with one penalty opportunity.
The Grosvenor Grammar School 1stxv Squad toured to Scotland where they played two games. The first game was against Glasgow Academy and the Grosvenor team won this game by 29-12. The Grosvenor GS scores came from Ross Nelson, Daniel Clarke, Ben Davidon, Daniel Mayhew and Mark Johnston, all of whom scored one try each. Thomas Quinn was successful with two conversion kicks.
The second tour game took place against Lomond School in Helensburgh. The Grosvenor GS team won this game by 55-3, scoring nine tries in the process. Ben Davidon scored two tries as did Daniel Clarke and Mark Johnston. Jack Kennedy, Taylor Pollock and Thomas Quinn all touched down for one try each with Thomas converting five of the nine tries.
All in all it was a very successful tour for the Grosvenor Grammar School team who would like to thank both schools for the games as well as hosting the Grosvenor players so superbly.
Royal Belfast Academical Institution, Methodist College, Belfast, Campbell College, Belfast and Wallace High School were among the schools invited to participate in a Festival of Schools’ Rugby held at Clongowes Wood College in County Kildare. The festival was held over two days and it was the Methodist College team that qualified for the Cup competition when they defeated teams from Roscrea, Gonzaga and Rockwell College during the games held on Friday 24th. The Methodist College team lost narrowly in one game against St Michael’s College.
The Royal Belfast Academical Institution team defeated Presentation Brother’s College, Cork by 14-12, lost by 7-3 against Colegy College from Wales, lost by 14-0 against Blackrock College and drew 7-7 with St Mary’s College in the Friday games.
On the Saturday, the Belfast Inst team experienced mixed fortunes when they lost to Wallace High School by 5-0, defeated Campbell College by 10-0 and lost to Rockwell College by 12-5.
In the group stages of the Cup competition the Methody team finished as runners-up in their group by defeating an impressive Ivybridge team, drawing with the hosts from Clongowes and losing a close encounter against Blackrock College. St Michael’s College went on to win the competition when they defeated Blackrock College by 3-0 in the final.
All in all the two day festival was an outstanding success and one that fully exemplified and highlighted the rugby talent that exists in schools throughout Ireland and, indeed, further afield.
With Wallace High School taking part in the Clongowes Festival, their planned encounter against Ballyclare High School did not take place. The Ballyclare HS team picked up a fixture against a Sullivan Upper team that was missing a number of regular players due to injury, University Open Days in Glasgow and half term holiday breaks. The Ballyclare HS team won the game by 19-5, inflicting the first loss of the season on the Sullivan Upper team. Reece Turner opened the scoring for the Ballyclare High School team when he took advantage of good work from his pack to touch down for an unconverted try and give his team a 5-0 lead. Sullivan Upper responded immediately with an unconverted try from Matty Moran to draw the score level at 5-5. Jack Black scored a try for the Ballyclare High School team, which was converted by Matthew McDowell, to give the home team a 12-5 lead.
The Sullivan Upper team looked impressive when they attacked with the ball in hand but could find no way through a resolute Ballyclare HS defence. The Ballyclare High School team sealed their 19-5 victory when their impressive No 8, Matthew Darling, crossed the Sullivan Upper line for a try which was converted by Matthew McDowell.
Banbridge Academy hosted Coleraine Academical Institution in a game the Coleraine AI team won by 7-0. The Coleraine team scored from the kick off when Peter Bonnar touched down for a try which Callum Smith converted. The rest of the game saw the Coleraine team attack at every opportunity but found the Banbridge Academy defence to be impenetrable. The Banbridge Academy centre pairing of Shane Honeyford and Rhys Mackey was particularly impressive in the course of the game.
Ballymena Academy 2ndxv travelled to play Regent House in a thrilling game that finished in a 17-17 draw. Craig Hanna scored a hat trick of tries for the Ballymena Academy team with Andrew Kernohan adding one conversion.
For Regent House, Taylor Nutt, Jonny Harris and Ryan McCarroll all scored one try each with Adam Curry converting one of the tries to secure the 17-17 draw.
Foyle and Londonderry College hosted the Portora Royal School team in a game which finished with the Foyle team emerging as 17-7 winners. Robbie House put the Foyle team into a 7-0 lead when he scored a try which Alex McDonnell converted. The Portora RS team responded positively and got rewarded for their endeavours when Jamie Gibson scored a try, which Adam Lendrum converted, to leave the score line reading 7-7 at the break.
After the interval, Robbie House scored his second try of the game, again converted by Alex McDonnell, to put the Foyle College team into a 14-7 lead. The 17-7 victory was secured for the Foyle and Londonderry College team when Alex McDonnell converted a penalty kick with just minutes remaining on the clock.
Carrickfergus Grammar School and Larne Grammar School played out a controlled game scenario with both schools using extended squads. For the Carrickfergus GS team debutant players such as Jeremy Addley, Ian Woodside and Ben Stevenson all impressed with their performances and have all put themselves in line for regular selection on the Carrickfergus Grammar School 1stxv.
Omagh Academy hosted Royal School, Armagh at Campsie Playing Fields. The RS Armagh team had to work hard for their 5-0 victory which came through a first half try from the hard working Peter Grant who took full advantage of good work in a driven maul by his forwards.
Rainey Endowed School took to the pitch against Limavady Grammar School missing some eight of their regular starting xv. The Rainey Endowed School team lost the closely contested game by 14-12. Anton Lupari and Adam Hunter scored the Rainey ES tries with Lorcan Quinn adding one conversion.
The Down High School team was missing a number of regular players when they defeated a well-organised Lurgan College team by 24-18. Luke Sandford took advantage of good work from Zac Ward to score an unconverted try to give the Down HS team a 5-0 lead. This became 10-0 when Marcus Graham touched down for an unconverted try following an impressive break in midfield by Johnny McCoubrey. Ill-discipline from the Down team saw them marched back 20 metres by the referee following a penalty awarded to the Lurgan College team after an infringement at a ruck. Robbie Norton converted the penalty to reduce the arrears to 10-3 at the break.
The second half saw the Lurgan College team control the game for long periods of time. Further ill-discipline from the home team, after another penalty, gave Robbie Norton a closer shot at goal. He was successful with the kick to reduce the Down HS lead to 10-6. The Lurgan team then took an 11-10 lead when Matthew Laird took full advantage of a clever kick ahead from Jonny Hunter to touch down for an unconverted try. This became 18-10 for the Lurgan College team when Nathan Moffett and Jonny Hunter combined to provide turn over ball which Stephen Logan used to run in for a try which was converted by Robbie Norton. However, it was the home team that finished the stronger in the final ten minutes of the game. Zac Ward broke through to score a try, which Joseph Bingham converted from the touchline, to reduce the arrears to 18-17. Then, Thomas Forson broke Lurgan College hearts when he combined with Luke Sandford and Joseph Bingham to score a try. Joseph converted the try to secure a hard earned 24-18 win for the Down High School team.

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