Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 28th March 2015 By Barney McGonigle

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Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 28th March 2015

There were two Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Plate games played in the last week of the school term.
Friends’ School played Dalriada in the second semi-final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Plate on Wednesday 25th. At the end of a close encounter the Friends’ School team emerged as 28-24 winners.
The final of the Danke Bank Ulster Schools’ 2nd xv Plate was then played at Banbridge Academy on Saturday 28th March when the Friends’ School team played the Royal School, Armagh team.
The RS Armagh team survived a first half onslaught from the Friends’ School team, an onslaught they managed to survive. In fact, the RS Armagh team went into the break with a 7-0 lead through a try from team captain Leon McGowan which was converted by Glenn Faloon.
The second half saw the RS Armagh team control affairs for long periods of time. They went on to score thirty three unanswered points to win the game by 40-0. David Agnew touched down twice, Leon McGowan scored his second of the game while Matthew Kilic, Michael Muagasu and Peter Grant scored one try each. Glenn Faloon added one conversion to secure the 40-0 win for the Royal School, Armagh team. The foundations for the second half Royal School, Armagh performance were laid by the work of players such as Greg Wilson and Ben Grimes. The RS Armagh team was delighted to win the game but a gallant Friends’ School team was delighted to have reached the final of this competition.
Following the game Bobby Stewart, Senior Vice-President of the Ulster Branch, IRFU, presented players from both teams with their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Plate finalists medals. Bobby then presented the Royal School, Armagh 2ndxv captain, Leon McGowan, with the Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Plate.
The Ulster Schools’ Committee, as well as both teams, would like to thank Mr Robin McLoughlin, Principal of Banbridge Academy, and Brian Leslie and his sports staff at Banbridge Academy, for all their hard work in providing facilities and hosting this game.
The first semi-final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Cup took place during the week beginning 23rd March. Methodist College entertained Royal Belfast Academical Institution in a game the Methodist College team won by 12-10.
The second Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Cup semi-final took place on Saturday 28th March at Roughfort when the Belfast Royal Academy team hosted the Down High School team in a game the Down High School team won by 16-3.The wind turbine towering over the North Belfast venue was turning at full speed with an almost gale force wind greeting the players as they took to the pitch.
It was the home side that took a 3-0 lead on the ten minute mark with a well struck penalty that had been awarded against Down High for not releasing the ball in the tackle. In the minutes that followed, BRA made good use of the wind to pin the visitors back with Down High struggling to clear their lines. However, out half Patrick Browne responded well to these challenges and as the game developed opted to keep more ball in hand. Indeed, Patrick was instrumental in Down High’s first score when he made an outstanding break from his own 22m area before linking with John Hyndman who carried well and eventually fed winger Harry Hitchens who crossed for what turned out to be the try of the day. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Down High School team had a 5-3 lead, a lead they held for the remainder of the first half.
In the second half it took Down High fourteen minutes before they were able to extend their lead. They did so through a well struck, wind assisted John Hyndman penalty from the 10 metre line which extended their lead to 8-3. Down High School then increased this lead to 13-3 with an opportunistic Ewan Keer’s try ten minutes before the end of the game. BRA won a ball in a scrum on their 22m area but could not control the possession effectively. The quick thinking scrum half picked the ball up and showed good strength to fight his way over the whitewash to touch down for an unconverted try. John Hyndman then secured the result when he converted a penalty opportunity to increase the Down High School lead to 16-3 with just seconds remaining. The no-side whistle sounded and it was the Down High School team that celebrated their 16-3 win and, with it, a place in the final of Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Cup.
This final will be played at Friends’ School, Lisburn on Saturday 18th April when Down High School will face Methodist College.
The Friends’ School, Lisburn U13 team completed a successful season when they defeated their Campbell College counterparts by 35-5. Meanwhile the Friends’ School U14 team lost to Campbell College by 38-10.
In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Plate quarter-final, Campbell College defeated Ballyclare High School by 24-5. Campbell will now play Wallace High School in the semi-final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Plate. In a second quarter-final game Coleraine AI defeated Ballymena Academy by 35-22. The Coleraine AI team will now play St Columb’s College in the semi-final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Plate.

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