Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 21st September 2013: By Barney Mcgonigle

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There were some midweek games played in the lead up to three Age Grade Inter-Provincial games as well as a series of school friendly games played on Saturday 21st September.

Royal School, Armagh hosted Banbridge Academy in a midweek game and had to rely on the strength of their pack before they merged eventually as 27-18 winners.

The Banbridge team took an early 3-0 lead when Daniel McElderry kicked a penalty with just three minutes on the clock. Seven minutes later Kyle Faloon levelled the score when he was successful with a penalty kick for his RS Armagh team. Five minutes after this, Ben Carson, the Banbridge Academy outhalf, scored a try which was converted by Daniel McElderry to give the visitors a 12-3 lead. From the restart the RS Armagh team scored a converted try to level the game at 10-10. Daniel McElderry regained the lead when he kicked a Banbridge penalty to take the score to 13-10. Five minutes from the interval, the RS Armagh team scored an unconverted try to leave them as 15-13 leaders at halftime.
This increased to 22-13 when the RS Armagh team scored another converted try ten minutes after the restart. Both teams were looking for further tries but for a large part of the second half a lot of play was between the two 22m areas. That was until five minutes from time when the RS Armagh team scored their fourth try of the game. The try was not converted but the home team now had a 27-13 lead. Two minutes from time, the impressive Banbridge Academy flaker, Ethan Harbinson, took advantage of good work from his backrow colleague, Rory Carson, to run in for a consolation Banbridge Academy try to leave the final score reading 27-18 in favour of the RS Armagh team.

Methodist College, minus quite a few regular players, hosted a spirited Down High School team at Pirrie Park.

The Methody team continued their impressive start to season when they recorded a 36-5 win. The Methodist College team controlled both territory and possession for large parts of the game. They opened the scoring with an unconverted try from James McCreanor. The Down High School levelled the score at 5-5 when they crossed the Methody line for an unconverted a few minutes later following a free-flowing backline attack. For the remainder of the game it was mostly Methody in control. They scored five further tries through Frazer Wallace, Daniel Coulter, Oliver Cairns, Zack Jordan and Ryan Cullen. Gareth Millar converted three of the six Methody tries.

Bangor Grammar School played the Ulster Clubs’ U18 team in a midweek floodlit fixture.

The U18s had lost recent games against Royal Belfast Academical Institution and Royal School, Armagh. They recorded an impressive 26-7 victory against the Bangor Grammar School team in a game that proved to be ideal in terms of preparation for their forthcoming Inter Provincial series of games.

The Ulster U20 team travelled to play their Leinster counterparts at Donnybrook on the evening of Friday 20th September.
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The Ulster team needed to score four tries and limit Leinster to at least an eight point gap if they were to have any chance of retaining their Inter Provincial title. The young Ulster team gave everything in a very physical encounter which ended as a 17-17 draw. This result ensured it was Leinster U20s who won the Inter Provincial Championship this season.
The Ulster team started well determined to play with the ball in hand at every opportunity. Early Ulster pressure resulted in a try for Lorcan Dow which Mark Best converted to give the Ulster team a 7-0 lead. Leinster responded positively but missed a penalty opportunity a few minutes later. Leinster had a player “binned” on twelve minutes but, unfortunately, the Ulster team was unable to take advantage when a backline attack ended with a knock on. Fifteen minutes into the game the Leinster team had a rare incursion into Ulster territory. Cian Kelleher took advantage of some poor Ulster defence to score a try which Ross Byrne converted to draw the game level at 7-7. From the restart Josh Atkinson picked up an injury to be replaced by Ben Alexander. The Ulster team continued to dominate both territory and possession but found the Leinster defence to be well-organised. The Ulster team lost Mark Best to injury on thirty minutes. Mark was replaced by Connor McKee. Ulster continued to dominate proceedings and got reward for their endeavours when they stole a ball from the Leinster scrum, spread the ball wide to the left and Ross Adair needed no invitation to finish off a fine attacking move close to the interval. The try was not converted but Ulster had a 12-7 lead. However, the Leinster team showed some steely determination and, on only their second visit to the Ulster 22m area, Ian Fitzpatrick, ran in for an unconverted try to leave the score reading 12-12 at the interval.
Leinster started the second half strongly but the Ulster defence held firm. Midway through the second half the Leinster team had a player shown the “Red Card” for a second “Yellow Card” offence. From the resultant penalty, Ulster opted for the scrum. They won the scrum comfortably and No 8, Lorcan Dow, had good reason to believe he had scored a try following a strong run down the blindside of the scrum. There was utter amazement in the Ulster ranks when the referee indicated the ball had been knocked on in goal and awarded Leinster a five metre scrum. The Ulster pack was penalised at the scrum and Leinster relieved the pressure. Leinster then put Ulster under pressure but the Ulster boys defended well with Paddy Colhoun combining well with David Busby to run the ball out of defence. On thirty eight minutes a good Ulster scrum provided the platform for Josh Bingham to put in a clever cross field kick. Jacob Knight gathered the ball and passed inside to David Busby who touched down for the try. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but Ulster now had a 17-12 lead going into the final stages of the game. It was now the last throw of the dice for the Leinster team but they threw everything into attack. The Ulster team defended well and was unfortunate to be penalised close to the Ulster line. Leinster took a quick penalty and good hands presented Ian Fitzpatrick with the opportunity to squeeze in for his second try of the game. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the score was now 17-17. It was sufficient to secure a point for Leinster and ensure their status as Ireland U20 Champions. The Ulster team had given their all and players and management can be justly proud of the Ulster U20’s performance throughout this game.

The Ulster U19 team travelled to Donnybrook to play the Leinster U19’s team at Donnybroook on Saturday 21st September.
CLICK HERE for action shots of the Inter-Pro Championssssssssssssssssss
The Ulster team needed only a draw to secure the Inter Provincial title, having won their previous two Inter Provincial games against Munster and Connacht. However, despite losing the game by 8-3 the Ulster team did win the U19 Inter Provincial title due to the Connacht U19 team registering a win against their Munster counterparts.
The Leinster team took a 3-0 lead in the first minute of the game when Tim Schmidt converted a penalty opportunity following an Ulster infringement at the breakdown. For most of the rest of the first half the Ulster team was in total control of both possession and territory. They pressurised the Leinster defence continually but let themselves down, at times, by knocking the ball on and giving away a series of penalties at crucial times. Injuries forced a number of changes in the Ulster backline but they stayed true to their determination to play with the ball in hand.
The Leinster team might have increased their lead close to the interval when, on a rare incursion into the Ulster 22m area, they home team had the chance to score a try. However, a crossing offence led to a penalty for the Ulster team and they were able to relieve the pressure with a clearance kick.
With Leinster taking their 3-0 lead into the second half the Ulster team started strongly after the interval. A penalty opportunity was narrowly missed immediately after the restart but Rory Campbell was successful with another penalty to level the score at 3-3 five minutes into the second half.
Midway through the second half Michael Cartmill made a great break through the Leinster defence and had the line at his mercy. However, he was brought back by the referee who adjudged that Michael had not released the ball in a previous tackle.
The Leinster team got into the Ulster 22m area for the first time in the second half on twenty seven minutes. The Ulster defence was up to the task and relieved the pressure. However, on the thirty fourth minute the Ulster team had a player sent to the “bin” The Leinster team kicked the ball to touch and, from the resultant line-out, replacement player, Andy Marks took advantage of some indecision in the Ulster defence to run in for a try. The conversion was missed but the Leinster team had an 8-3 lead, a lead they held until the final whistle.
There was a sense of devastation in the Ulster U19 camp immediately after the game but the mood lifted dramatically when, on the way back to Belfast, the result came through from Galway and the Ulster U19 team was declared Inter Provincial U19 Champions.

The third age grade Inter Provincial game of the weekend took place at Musgrave Park in Cork where the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ team took on their Munster counterparts.

The Ulster team had defeated Connacht Schools but lost against Leinster Schools. A win in Cork would give them the runners-up spot in the Championship.
On the resplendent surface of Musgrave Park, Ulster kicked off in their last Interprovincial fixture of the season in warm conditions. The game was continually punctuated by stoppages as both sides strove to control the breakdown area, but generally this resulted in the staccato nature of the game as penalties flowed. After decent pressure, Ulster wing Robert Lyttle opened the scoring with a straightforward penalty. Two searing breaks from Ulster outhalf, Conor Kelly, came to nothing as he couldn’t find his support players, but Lyttle increased the lead to 6-0 with his second penalty. Munster’s best efforts came to grief with elementary handling errors and eventually Ulster increased their lead with a great individual try by full back Jacob Stockdale as he scorched up the left touchline , evading would-be tacklers to dot down in the corner. Lyttle missed the difficult conversion, but Ulster held a well-deserved lead of 11-0. Against the run of play, and well into first half injury time, Munster drove at the Ulster line and eventually, No8, Kelvin Browne forced his way over for a try which outhalf, Bill Johnston converted, to leave the score at halftime reading Ulster 11 Munster 7.
The second half began with a bang as the Munster hooker was yellow carded for a tackle on the player in the air but Ulster were unable to capitalise on this situation and a rejuvenated Munster increased the pressure and Ulster scrumhalf, Cameron Fulton received a yellow card for interference at the ruck. Munster were able to take advantage of this and their right wing, Calvin Nash, squeezed into the corner for an unconverted try to give Munster an unexpected lead of 12-11. As both coaches gradually brought on their replacement players, Ulster were awarded a penalty on the halfway line and, with most spectators waiting for Ulster to kick for touch, the Ulster kicker set the ball up for a kick at goal. His decision proved to be correct as the ball sailed safely over the Munster posts to restore Ulster’s lead to 14-12. The game was virtually sealed when a poor kick from Munster was received by Ulster and great interpassing between Conor Kelly and Jacob Stockdale, saw the Methody outhalf Kelly, cross for an excellent try. Robert Lyttle was unable to convert but Ulster led 19-12. With a converted try needed to draw the game, Munster tried everything but a resolute Ulster defence held out and this young Ulster side ran out deserved victors to finish a credible second in the Interprovincial School’s Championship. Credit must go to all the players in the enlarged squad and to the Management team who looked after them so effectively this season.

Saturday 21st September saw the end of Age Grade Inter-Provincial games involving schoolboy players who will now return to be involved with their school teams.

Reports were received from a number of school friendly games played on Saturday 21st September.

The Sullivan Upper team played Banbridge Academy in Holywood missing a large number of regular players due to the Inter Provincial games.

The Banbridge team played with great spirit and determination but found the Sullivan Upper team to be more powerful in many aspects of the game with the Sullivan team eventually winning by 40-6.
The first half proved to be a dogged affair with the Sullivan team scoring tries through Chris Jordan and Fergus Jemphrey. Charlie McEwan added one conversion to give his team a 12-0 lead. The Banbridge team responded with a penalty from Dan McElderry to leave the halftime score 12-3 in favour of the Sullivan Upper team.
Early in the second half a second McElderry penalty reduced the arrears to 12-6 but from then on it was Sullivan Upper in the driving seat. They scored four second half tries with David McMaster touching down twice, Fergus Jemphrey scoring a second try and Chris Griffiths scoring once. Charlie McEwan converted the tries to leave the Sullivan Upper team as 40-6 winners.

Dalriada School hosted Rainey Endowed School in their annual Arthur Topping Trophy game.

It was a hard fought game with Rainey opening the scoring with an early try from Eunan Shaw which was converted by Kieran Lynch to give the Magherafelt boys a 7-0 lead. Later in the half Dalriada got a try with their impressive young fly-half, Angus Johnston, giving the fake pass and going through the gap to touch down for an unconverted try which reduced the arrears to 7-5. Just before half-time Rainey got another try with Mark Rooney scoring to leave the Rainey team with a 12-5 lead at the interval.
In the second half Rainey got a penalty and opted for the posts. Kieran Lynch was successful with the kick to give his Rainey team a 15-5 lead. Timmy Emerson, released from Ulster U19 duties, came on as a replacement for Angus Johnston. Not long after this, Peter Dunlop made a break in the midfield which ended up with Gavin McCaughern finishing with a try in the corner. The try was not converted but the Dalriada team was now just five points behind. Henry Loan, the Dalriada captain, then scored an unconverted try to draw the scores level at 15-15. a try to bring Dalriada level. With just minutes remaining Dalriada got a penalty which Timmy Emerson chose to kick. Timmy converted the penalty to give his team an 18-15 lead, a lead they held until the final whistle. At the end of the game the Dalriada team was presented with the Arthur Topping Trophy.

Foyle and Londonderry College hosted their near neighbours and close rivals, Limavady Grammar School, in the North West Derby game.

The Limavady Grammar School team got back to winning ways with an emphatic 29-3 victory over Foyle College at the end of the game. Limavady dominated both possession and territory for most the game and, although missing three of their first choice forwards, it was the Limavady pack that laid the foundations for this victory. They dominated both the set piece and the breakdown and continually punched holes in the Foyle defence. First half tries came through hooker Stephen Kennedy, prop Michael Rice and second row Darren Corrigan on his debut. Out half, Scott McClean, added three conversions as well as a penalty to give his team a 24-0 lead. In response, the home team converted a penalty opportunity through Alex McDonnell when Limavady were penalised for going off their feet at a ruck to leave the halftime score reading 24-3 in favour of Limavady Grammar School. Limavady went further ahead when second row Brendan Ferguson touched down from a driving maul early in the second half. The try was not converted but the Limavady team now had a 29-3 lead, a lead they held until the final whistle. This was a good team performance from Limavady, with notable performances coming from Darren Corrigan, Michael McMullan, scrum-half Scott Patton and winger Ethan Sherrard who like Darren Corrigan was making his debut.

Cambridge House hosted Friends’ School buoyed by their large win in their previous outing.

However, this game proved to be a much tighter affair with the Cambridge House team emerging as 5-3 winners. Sam Nicholl scored the Cambridge House try with Friends’ School responding with a Zach Finlay penalty.

Royal School, Dungannon, Wellington College and Larne Grammar School played out a three team tournament.

The RS Dungannon team defeated Wellington College by 12-10 with Marcus Nelson and Matthew Montgomery scoring tries, one of which was converted by John Buckley.
John Buckley then scored the only try of the game against to secure a 5-0 win for the RS Dungannon team against Larne Grammar School.

Kenny Hooks took his Royal School, Armagh team to Dublin to play the Tony Ward coached St Gerard’s College team. The St Gerard’s team emerged from the game as narrow but deserved winners.

Both Ballymena Academy and Royal Belfast Academical Institution were short of first choice players when the teams met at the Galgorm Road venue.

The Belfast Inst team started strongly and had taken a 17-3 lead at the interval before emerging as 22-17 winners of the game.
The Belfast Inst team dominated both territory and possession in the first half with Connor Field and Lewis McNamara scoring tries. Joe Fryers converted both tries and added a first half penalty. In response, the Ballymena Academy team converted a penalty through a Marcus Rea penalty.
The second half saw the home team mount something of a revival after Connor Field had scored his second try to put the Belfast Inst team into a 22-3 lead. The Ballymena Academy team scored tries through Craig Hanna and Jonny Rossborough. Marcus Rea converted both tries but in was a case of “too little, too late” as the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team held on to win by 22-17.

Coleraine Academical Institution travelled to play an Omagh Academy team still missing a number of regular players due to injury.

However, the return of experienced players such as Lloyd Kane and Jack Mitchell did bring some structure to the Omagh team in terms of their performance. Coleraine Academical Institution emerged as 12-3 winners in a game which both teams will rue missed opportunities. Both defences worked hard to stop the opposition but twenty minutes into the game Coleraine gained possession from a quick line out. Alross Alejo fed full back Johnny Crowe who made a great break and off loaded to Jake Scott for the centre to score a well-deserved try. Callum Smith converted to give the Coleraine team a 7-0 lead. Coleraine AI continued to dominate but continued to give away penalties when close to the Omagh line.
On thirty two minutes Coleraine AI’s dominance was rewarded when they stole a line out. The ball was taken on by Oliver McDowell and James Bleakley before the backs were released with Callum Smith putting Mark Gordon away for the try in the corner. The try was not converted but Coleraine AI now had a 12-0 lead, a lead they held until the interval.
The second half started with a spirited response from the Omagh Academy team. A well worked move put Luke Hanson away with the Coleraine line in sight only to be halted by an excellent tackle from the Coleraine AI full back. Play continued and, from an ensuing ruck, Omagh gained a penalty. Stuart Ballantine converted the penalty to reduce the arrears to 12-3. Both team battled the remainder of the game out with Callum Smith impressing for the Coleraine AI team and Ross Nelson and James Catterson working hard for the Omagh team. There were no further scores leaving the Coleraine AI team as 12-3 winners.

Following the disappointment of their midweek loss at Pirrie Park, the Down High School team got back to winning ways when they defeated Grosvenor Grammar School by 26-13.

The performances in the Down High School pack of players such as David Cheung and Nathan Gibson laid the foundations for their win. The Down High School team scored three first half tries, two of which were converted. The Grosvenor Grammar School team responded with a first half try from Gareth Lammey who took full advantage of a charged down kick to touch down for a try. The try was not converted which left the score at 19-5 in favour of the Down High School team at the interval.
This was reduced to 19-10 early in the second half when Karl McLean caught and drove the ball from a lineout to touch down for an unconverted try for the Grosvenor team. The Down High School team came back with a converted try, following good work from their centre partnership, to put them into a 26-10 lead. The game finished with a well struck penalty from Shane Johnston for his Grosvenor Grammar School team to leave the Down High School team as deserved 26-13 winners.

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