Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 18th March 2023

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Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 18th March 2023

The weather conditions prevalent on the weekend of 11th March ensured that a number of end of season U12, 13 and 14 Tournaments, including the well-established O’Kane Tournament held annually at Ballymena Academy, did not take place.
However, Coleraine Grammar School hosted the Year 8 NEBSSA Rugby Tournament on Tuesday 14th March 2023 on a very cold, windy and snowy day in Coleraine. The competition consisted of 13 Schools and 22 teams with over 400 players involved on the day. In a fantastic Cup Final Larne Grammar School defeated Ballyclare High School by scoring a well worked try towards the end of the game to win by five tries to four in a real thriller.
In the Plate Final Ballymena Academy had a hard fought three tries to two win over Coleraine Grammar School in another very keenly contested game.
Overall, this was a really successful day despite the sleet and snow and it was helped by the great enthusiasm off all players & coaches involved. Coleraine Grammar School would like to thank all the coaches, players, parents, referees, helpers, first aiders, caterers, ground staff and photographers for all their efforts and helping to ensure the day ran very smoothly. Coleraine Grammar School look forward to hosting the tournament again next year and hopefully the weather will be better in 2024!
Participating Schools
1. Coleraine Grammar School
2. Dalriada School
3. Ballymena Academy
4. Ballyclare High School
5. Rainey Endowed School
6. Cambridge House Grammar School
7. Larne Grammar School
8. Antrim Grammar School
9. Cullybackey College
10. Ballyclare Secondary School
11. Carrick Grammar School
12. Foyle College
13. Limavady Grammar School

Cup Winners: Larne Grammar School (Topping Shield Trophy & Gold Medallists)
Cup Runners Up: Ballyclare High School (Silver Medallists)
Plate Winners: Ballymena Academy (Gold Medallists)
Plate Runners Up: Coleraine Grammar School (Silver Medallists)

On Friday 17th March the annual Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Final took place when Campbell College, Belfast met Royal Belfast Academical Institution in the final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Blue Riband event at the Kingspan Stadium.
Royal Belfast Academical Institution produced a stunning finish to win the Danske Bank Schools’ Cup in a well contested final at Kingspan Stadium.
As the clock ticked over into the 5th minute of added time in the second half it was the Belfast Inst captain and “Man of the Match”, Jacob Boyd, who stormed over for the winning try.
The game had been gridlocked at 17-17and looked almost certain to be heading for a draw which would have seen the Schools’ Cup Trophy shared for the first time since 1996.
Campbell College, Belfast had been the stronger side in the early exchanges on a wet and windy St Patrick’s Day forcing Royal Belfast Academical Institution to get through plenty of defensive work in their Red Zone.
Midway through the first half Campbell College took the lead through a well-executed lineout maul which ended when their hooker, Jed Dornan, touched down for the first try of the game. Matthew Rea added the conversion to give his team a 7-0 lead.
Some six minutes later the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team responded after some creative work saw winger, Flynn Morrow, join an attacking scrum. This freed up the powerful Number 8, Bryn Ward, to make some hard yards with another rampaging run in midfield.
This set the stage for a series of quick drives at the line from close range and it was captain, Jacob Boyd, who eventually muscled his over the whitewash for the first Royal Belfast Academical Institution try. The try was not converted but the scoreboard was now reading Campbell College, Belfast 7 Royal Belfast Academical Institution 5.
With the final play of the first half Campbell College forced Royal Belfast Academical Institution into conceding a penalty. Up stepped Matthew Rea to convert the penalty to see his team into a 10-5 lead at the interval.
In the opening stages of the second half Belfast Inst took the game to Campbell College and soon scored to claim the lead for the first time in the course of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Final.
Jacob Boyd and Byrn Ward were once again used to make driving runs at the Campbell College line before lock, Jacob Edwards, powered over from close range.
Jacob touched down close to the posts and Josh Eagleson made no mistake with his conversion to make it 10-12 to Belfast Inst. Josh not only puts his place-kicking ability down to the positive coaching he has received from his school coaches but also down to the years of advice he has received from Dr Adrian Eagleson, his dad, himself a former Royal Belfast Academical Institution player.
The momentum looked to have fully swung in favour of Royal Belfast Academical Institution. They worked the ball from a scrum on the right just inside the 22, moving it through the hands to Josh Eagleson, who launched a superb long pass out wide to winger, Alex Place, who finished the attack with a dive into the corner to score an unconverted try.
Alex’s effort made it 10-17 but the Campbell College team soon fought back and got themselves level.
With sixty minutes on the clock their impressive full back, Lukas Kenny, gathered a clearance kick and skipped his way past 2 defenders before releasing his back three colleague, Jake Daly.
Jake then found his fellow winger, Henry Ralston, with a pass and he stepped inside his defender to reach for the line and score. Matthew Rea confidently stepped up and split the posts to make it 17-17 and nothing could separate the sides until the very end.
Four minutes into added time Bryn Ward made another powerful surge smashing through several attempted tackles on the Campbell College 22m line. The ball was recycled quickly and, gathering Callum Soper’s quick pass, Jacob Boyd then hit the line at full speed and, having rampaged toward the whitewash, he touched down to score one of the most memorable tries in an incredible Danske Bank Schools’ Cup Final.
Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Final Teams
Campbell College, Belfast: Lukas Kenny; Henry Ralston, Matthew Booth, James McConnell, Jake Daly; Matt Rea, Sean Robinson; Chris Massey, Jed Dornan, Flynn Longstaff (captain); Alexander Brennan, Daniel Harkin; Cal McKinney, Cameron Faith, Joe Jeffery.
Replacements: Will Alexander, Robbie Holmes, Daniel Solomon, Charlie McClurg, Scott Gray, Harry Dyer, Sam Boomer, Jay Davis.
Royal Belfast Academical Institution: Joshua Gibson; Flynn Morrow, James Hilman, Fraser Cunningham, Alex Place; Josh Eagleson, Callum Soper; Blake McClean, James Clark, Jacob Boyd (captain); Jacob Edwards, Daniel Moore; Callum Simms, Jack Parkinson, Bryn Ward.
Replacements: Euan Paterson, Zak Molyneaux, Shéa Scullion, Milo Carter, Loughlin Sweeney, Sam Patterson, Matthew Sweetlove, Adam Hawthorne.
The Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ season will finish when the annual Seven-a-Side competitions take place over the course of the incoming week.
On Wednesday 22nd March 2023 the Junior Sevens will take place at Limavady Grammar School with 10 teams participating. Thanks to Brian Hughes for organising this very enjoyable event.
On Friday 24th March 2023 the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Sevens will take place at the Queen’s University Playing Fields at the Dub with 19 teams having registered to participate.
On Saturday 25th March 2023 the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Senior Sevens will take place at the Queen’s University Playing Fields at the Dub. 12 teams have registered to participate and it is hoped to play the final on the Arena Pitch prior to the AIL game involving Queen’s University RFC v MU Barnhall.
Both QUB events are being organized by David Chambers, Rugby Development Officer for Queen’s University and the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Committee is grateful to David and his team for organising both these very enjoyable end of season events.

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