Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 26th September 2015 by Barney McGonigle

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Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 26th September 2015.

A number of midweek fixtures were played in the lead up to an almost full list of schools’ fixtures on Saturday 26th September.

Royal School, Dungannon hosted a three team tournament on Saturday 19th September. Wellington College, who had played out a 0-0 draw with Antrim Grammar School in their previous outing, were first to play the host school on the famous WK Armstrong pitch. The games were held over two halves of fifteen minutes each and at the end of this game the RS Dungannon team had recorded a 17-7 victory. The Wellington team took a deserved 7-0 lead when a sluggish RS Dungannon defence allowed the visitors in for a converted try. Josh Fegan then reduced the arrears to 7-5 when he touched down for an unconverted try following a well-organised lineout maul. Philip Wilson was on the end of a clever grubber kick from Matthew Smyth and he then finished off with an unconverted try to give the home team a 10-7 lead. The RS Dungannon team found themselves encamped on the Wellington College line for the final few minutes of the game. Adam Cranston was able to seal the game for his team when he outwitted the Wellington College defence and touched down for a try. Aaron Perry slotted the conversion over to secure the 17-7 victory for the Royal School, Dungannon team.
The Royal School team then played Larne Grammar School in a game where players such as Matthew Stockdale, James Gamble and Angus Mok all scored tries to ensure a second victory of the morning. The Dungannon team will hope the positive outcome of these games, linked to the return of Peter Doran and David Cooper from Ulster U19 duties, will give them an impetus for their forthcoming games.

Carrickfergus Grammar School hosted a Belfast High School “Select” xv on Saturday 19th September. Being a local derby game both teams were keen to get an early foothold on the game. An enterprising start to the game saw the visitors take an early 5-0 lead when they ran in for an early unconverted try. The home team recovered from this early setback and started to take control of the game for periods of time. The Carrickfergus GS outhalf, Fionn McCormick was successful with three first half penalties to give his team a 9-5 lead at the break.
The second half saw the Carrickfergus GS scrum half, Nathan Doherty, seize a loose ball just inside the Belfast High School half. He displayed good speed and determination to score an unconverted try to put his team into a 14-5 lead just three minutes after the restart. The Belfast High School front row and their centre partnership took it upon themselves to ask questions of the Carrickfergus GS defence but found they were getting little change from the home team. Indeed, it was the Carrickfergus Grammar School team that had the final say in the outcome of the game. Fionn McCormick touched down for a try, which he converted, to secure a 21-5 win for the Carrickfergus team.
Coleraine Grammar School hosted Regent House in a midweek fixture the Regent House team won by 27-23.

There was a distinctive New Zealand influence prevalent in a number of recent schoolboy fixtures played during the week. Campbell College hosted a four team midweek tournament involving teams from Campbell College, Ballymena Academy, Royal School, Armagh and Fielding Boys’ High School from New Zealand. The Fielding team won all their games although they might have counted themselves fortunate to have beaten the Ballymena Academy team by 17-16. In other games the Campbell College hosts defeated RS Armagh by 7-0 and Ballymena Academy by 12-0. Ballymena Academy defeated the Royal School, Armagh team.

On Thursday 24th Banbridge Academy hosted Wairoa College from New Zealand in a game the visitors won by 27-5. The Wairoa team scored five tries, one of which was converted, in the course of the game. In a much better second half performance the Banbridge Academy team scored a consolation try from their full back, Ben Russell.

Meanwhile, the Wairoa College U16 team played Dromore High School in a game the Dromore team won by 13-12.

On Friday 25th September, the Ballyclare High School team hosted the Tauranga Boys’ School team, another of the visiting teams from New Zealand. The teams met earlier in the year when the Ballyclare High School team toured in New Zealand. The Tauranga 2ndxv team won the game in Ballyclare by 20-12.

These games proved to be a tremendous experience for all the players involved with the performance of “The Haka” by all the visiting schools proving to be a highlight for everyone involved in the various games.

With the age grade Inter Provincial games having finished most of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ and Ulster U19 schoolboy players were available to play for their schools on Saturday 26th September.

Following their game on Friday, Ballyclare High School fielded a “Select” xv against their near neighbours from Larne Grammar School on Saturday 26th. The Larne Grammar School team, with strong performances from team captain, Al Black, Jack Hill, Sam Wood and Barry McFaul, won a closely contested game by 10-5. Conor Davis and Barry McFaul were the try scorers for the Larne Grammar School team that displayed great physicality and flair throughout the game.
The Tauranga Boys’ 1stxv travelled to play Royal Belfast Academical Institution at Osborne Park on Saturday 26th September in a game the New Zealand team won by 35-5.The first half was quite evenly contested but it was the visitors who took a 7-0 lead into half time with converted try from their right winger right wing.
This lead increased to 14-0 at the start of the second half when the Tauranga team scored a converted try from the kick off. The Belfast Inst team got back into game and their player of day scrum half, Rhys O’Donnell, scored an unconverted try to reduce the deficit to14-5. The score remained at 14-5 until the last ten minutes when Tauranga Boys scored three converted tries to finish comprehensive 35-5 winners.

Banbridge Academy hosted an Omagh Academy team that has recorded a strong start to the season. The Omagh team continued their recent good form with a 24-0 victory. Omagh started the game strongly and took a 5-0 lead when Kyle Beattie put Oscar Patterson away for an unconverted try. From the restart, the Omagh Academy team regained possession. Kyle Beattie launched a cross field “kick pass” which was gathered by Peter Nelson. A clever inside pass found Fintan Lagan who touched down for a try. Kyle Beattie added the conversion to give the Omagh Academy team a 12-0 lead, a lead they held until the break.
Banbridge started the second half displaying great intensity. Players such as John Wilson, Troy Pinion and Ben Russell asked questions of the Omagh defence but they could find no way through. The Omagh team then started to control the set piece plays and got rewarded when team captain, Matthew Clyde, touched down for a try following good work at the lineout. Kyle Beattie added the conversion to increase the Omagh lead to 19-0. The Omagh Academy team sealed the game with an unconverted try from Deane Kane to secure the 24-0 victory.

Belfast Royal Academy entertained a Methodist College “Select” xv at Roughfort in a game the Belfast Royal Academy team recorded a hard earned 28-17 victory. The Belfast Royal Academy points came through tries from Samuel Osbourne, Lewis Davidson, Conor O’Neill and Cormac McCracken. Michael Wilson added two penalties as well as one conversion. The Methodist College points came from two Owen Winter’s tries as well as a converted try from Kane Doherty.
Grosvenor Grammar School entertained the Royal School, Dungannon team in a game the Grosvenor GS team won by 19-12. The Royal School, Dungannon team dominated the early proceedings of the game and had the home team defending for long periods of time. Just before the break the RS Dungannon team scored a try through Joseph Cashel, which Aaron Perry converted, to enable them to take a 7-0 lead into the interval.

The Grosvenor GS team started the second half and some well-executed phase play ended with a try from Jonah McDowell. Adam Skelton slotted a touchline conversion to draw the score level at 7-7. The RS Dungannon team responded positively and, following a series of strong scrums, scored an unconverted try through Peter Doran in the corner to take a 12-7 lead. Jonah McDowell then scored his second try of the game to take the scoreboard to 12-12. The Grosvenor Grammar School then took a 19-12 lead when Chris Allen finished of a series of plays, involving both forwards and backs, with a try in the corner.. Daniel Martin stepped up to coolly slot the conversion and put the Grosvenor GS team into a 19-12 lead. The Grosvenor Grammar School team had to defend their line for the final few minutes of the game as the Royal School, Dungannon team laid siege on the home defence. With players such as Daniel Martin, Jonah McDowell, Josh McConkey and Ben Davies all impressing with their work rate the RS Dungannon team could find no way through. This ensured it was the Grosvenor Grammar School team that celebrated their deserved 19-12 victory after the final whistle.

Sullivan Upper hosted a Down High School team that had just three final year players on board when the teams met in Holywood. The Sullivan Team won the game by 27-13. The Sullivan Upper team had built up a 14-3 lead by halftime with tries from Ruari Meharg and Dan Braniff. Rory Kilpatrick was successful with both conversions. In reply, the Down High School points came from a Paddy Browne penalty.

Paddy Browne added a second penalty in the second half to reduce the deficit to 14-6. Then the Down High School hooker, Clayton Milligan, on his return from Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ duty, took advantage of good work from Jack Carlisle and Harry McCormick, to touch down for a try. Paddy Browne converted the try to reduce the arrears to 14-13. Rory Kilpatrick then converted a penalty for the home team to increase the Sullivan Upper lead to 17-13. With the Down High School team starting to tire, the Sullivan Upper team ran in two unconverted tries through Luke Coulter and Jules Storey to secure their 27-13 victory at the end of the game.
Portadown College continued with their impressive start to the season with a 24-15 win against Belfast High School. Matthew Neill opened the scoring for the Portadown College team when he intercepted a Belfast High School pass and sprinted away for the try. Michael Orr added the conversion to give the Portadown College team a 7-0 lead. Belfast High School replied with a penalty to see the scoreboard reading 7-3. Despite the Portadown College team attacking at every opportunity the resolute Belfast High School defence was letting nothing more through. However, a Michael Orr penalty ensured it was the Portadown College team that took a 10-3 lead into the break.
Early in the second half a Peter McKeeman try was converted by Michael Orr to put the Portadown College team into a 17-3 lead. Good work from the Belfast High School No 8 resulted in an unconverted try for the High School team and saw the deficit reduced to 17-8. Then the Portadown College No 8, Stewart Hodgen, scored a try, which Michael Orr converted, to increase the Portadown College lead to 24-8. The Belfast High School scored a converted try late in the game to leave the final score reading 24-15 in favour of the Portadown College team.

Rainey Endowed School hosted their close rivals from Foyle and Londonderry College in a game the Rainey team won by 17-10. The Rainey team had built a 5-0 lead in the course of the first half when Cameron Stewart stole a Foyle College lineout ball. His pack got in behind him and a well-organised driven maul ended with Cameron touching down for an unconverted try.

The Foyle team reduced the arrears to 5-3, early in the second half, when they were successful with a penalty kick. The Rainey team then extended their lead to 12-3 when Richard Winder cut a great line to score under the Foyle College posts. Adam Hunter added the conversion to secure the Rainey lead. The Foyle and Londonderry College team then brought themselves back into the game when they scored a converted try to see the score line reading 12-10 in favour of the Rainey team. However, an unconverted try from Adam Currie, following a driven maul from a lineout, secured the 17-10 victory for the Rainey Endowed School team.

Lurgan College and Antrim Grammar School played out a closely contested game at the Lough Road venue which the Lurgan College team won by 17-14. The Lurgan College team dominated proceedings in the opening quarter and had opened up a 14-0 lead midway through the first half with tries from Ryan Emerson and Jonathan Carson. James Patterson was successful with both conversions. The second quarter of the game belonged to the Antrim Grammar School team who responded with two converted tries of their own to leave the score board reading 14-14 at the break.
In a closely contested second half the only score that separated the teams was a James Patterson penalty midway through the half. This ensured a hard earned 17-14 victory for the Lurgan College team at the end of this evenly contested game.
Carrickfergus Grammar School hosted a Limavady Grammar School team that returned home with a hard earned but, ultimately well-deserved, 21-17 victory under their belts. The game was played at Irwin Park and it was the home team that scored first when Jeremy Addley took advantage of confusion in the Limavady GS ranks to touch down for a try. Fionn McCormack’s conversion kick was successful and the Carrickfergus GS team had a 7-0 lead. This became 7-7 from when strong running from the Limavady GS backrow finished with Ethan Sherrard grounding the ball for a converted try. Fionn McCormack was then successful with a penalty opportunity to give the home team a 10-7 lead at the break.
Then Jack Hutton took advantage of confusion in the home team ranks early in the second half. He touched down for a try, which was converted, to give his team a 14-10 lead. From the restart this lead was increased to 21-10 when a midfield break from the visitors ended with a converted try. The Carrickfergus Grammar School team displayed great commitment in the closing stages of the game. Fionn McCormack capped a fine personal display with an opportunistic try which he converted with just minutes of the game remaining. However, it was a case of “too little, too late” for the Carrickfergus Grammar School team with the Limavady Grammar School team finishing the game as 21-17 winners.

Royal School, Armagh hosted a Portora Royal School team that featured a number of players returning from injury as well as age grade Inter Pros. The Portora team won the game by 26-5 with their pack laying the foundations of their success. They took a 7-0 lead in the second minute of the game when Connor Keys crossed the RS Armagh line to touch down for a try. Reece Smyton added the extras. Josh Kennedy then scored a try, which Reece Smyton converted, to increase the Portora lead to 14-0. Connor Keys then touched down for his second try, again converted by Rhys Smyton, to put the Portora RS team into a 21-0 lead. Just before half time the Portora team scored their fourth try of the game. Matty Dane took advantage of some slack RS Armagh defence to score an unconverted try and give his team an unassailable 26-0 half time lead.
The RS Armagh team looked stronger in the second half but, for all their hard work, could only manage one unconverted try through Josh Agnew. This ensured it was the Portora Royal School team that won this game by 26-5.

Ballymena Academy travelled to Bangor Grammar strengthened by the return of three of their seven representative players. Injury and absence saw further changes in the back-line, with Conor Barkley and Tiarnan Martin getting opportunities from the start of the game, a game the Ballymena Academy team won by 18-3. A Ballymena infringement at the breakdown allowed Bangor to open the scoring with a penalty and take a 3-0 lead. However, Ballymena levelled shortly afterwards when Bruce Houston slotted a kick from in front of the posts to draw the score level at 3-3. Midway through the first half, Bruce Houston added a second penalty as Ballymena began to dominate the territorial battle. Strong runs from Mark Thompson, Tim Savoury and David Forsythe took Ballymena back into the Bangor 22m area. Scrum half, Conor Cosgrove, spotted a gap to touch down below the posts. Bruce Houston’s conversion was charged down but Ballymena Academy took an 11-3 lead into the interval.
Ballymena started the second half strongly and a counter-attack, started by full back Mark Thompson, linking with Alan Small, took the play deep into the Bangor territory. The ball was recycled to captain for the day, Angus Kernohan, who powered over for the try. Bruce Houston’s successful conversion took the score to 18-3. Ballymena should have kicked on but were guilty of too many moments of indiscipline during the remainder of the half. Two yellow cards for the County Antrim lads rallied the Bangor Grammar side that enjoyed an extended period of territorial dominance. Despite Bangor’s possession in a frantic final fifteen minutes, Ballymena’s strong defence, led by the back row trio of Azur Allison, Ryan Malcolm and James McClean, kept the home team from crossing the white line, thus ensuring it was the Ballymena Academy team that recorded an 18-3 win.

Campbell College and Wallace High School played out a 15-15 draw at Campbell College.


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