Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 24th September 2011:

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Saturday 24th September was the last weekend of the age grade Interprovincial series of games involving schoolboy players. Quite a number of schools were missing their Inter Pro players but this did not prevent their teams from putting on good performances.

Grosvenor Grammar School and Royal School, Dungannon both had players away with age grade teams when the two teams met in their annual W K Armstrong Cup competition on the Armstrong Pitch in Dungannon.

The home team took a 5-0 lead with an unconverted try from David Buckley. The Grosvenor team was shaken into action by this setback and took a 7-5 lead when their second row forward, Billy Gibson, crashed over for a try which was converted by Carl Rae. Just before the interval the Royal School, Dungannon team regained the lead when Mark Wright outflanked the Grosvenor defence to score an unconverted try to see the score board read 10-7. The second half saw both teams move the ball around at every opportunity. Grosvenor Grammar School prop forward, Matthew Allen, scored an unconverted try early in the second half to give his team a 12-10 lead. Peter Cashel scored for the Dungannon team to give them a 15-12 lead.

Stuart Moore touched down for a Dungannon try which Jack Milligan converted to see that lead extended to 22-12. Despite a valiant effort from the Grosvenor team in the closing stages of the game they could only manage an unconverted try from their lively scrumhalf to ensure a home win for the Royal School, Dungannon team by 22-17.

Over in Armagh, the Royal School team hosted Portora Royal School in the first of the John McCall Memorial Trophy games.

Despite losing five players to age grade games the Royal School, Armagh team impressed with their attacking style of play and won the game comfortably. They ran into a 41-0 half time lead with tries from Daniel Reaney, Darryl Morton, David Spratt, Duncan Steed and a hat trick from Matthew Clarke. Matthew Hooks added three conversions. The home team kept up their attacking mode in the second half and, despite the best efforts of the Portora defence, ran in further tries with Matthew Clarke scoring his fourth and fifth of the game, Toby McAlpine touching down twice and Jonny Reaney scoring one. Matthew Hooks was successful with two second half conversion attempts to see the home team run out as convincing 70-0 winners.

The Ballyclare High School team was missing seven front line players when they played their East Antrim derby game against their close rivals from Larne Grammar School.

Despite the best efforts of players such as Callum Paton and Robert McKinley, there was little the Larne team could do to match the power, pace and physicality of the Ballyclare High School team. The Ballyclare team held a 42-3 lead at halftime and went on to record an impressive 70-8 victory at the end of the game.

Lurgan College made a good start to the new season with a well-deserved 13-0 home victory against Antrim Grammar School.

In a very closely contested game, with both defences working hard, there was no score at halftime. The Lurgan team upped their game in the second half with their pack starting to dominate proceedings, particularly at the breakdown. The Lurgan College captain, Aaron Carson, was to the fore and he was well assisted by players such as Dean Wilson and Mark McIlwaine. Outhalf, Ben McIlwaine, took advantage of the good work from his pack to score thirteen unanswered second half points for the Lurgan College team. He converted his own try and weighed in with two penalties to see his team finish with their 13-0 victory.

Rainey Endowed and Foyle and Londonderry College both lost players to age grade representative duty when the two teams met in Magherafelt.

The home team took a 3-0 lead when Martin Connolly converted an early penalty opportunity. The Foyle and Londonderry College team recovered from this to score two first half tries. Patrick Leeson and Kyle Henderson touched down with Kyle converting his own try to give his team a 12-3 halftime lead. The Londonderry team attacked at every opportunity in the second period of play and this was rewarded with three second half tries. Andy Fleming, Sean Devine and Calvin Jones scored the tries with Kyle Henderson adding two conversions to ensure the Foyle and Londonderry College team travelled back up the Glenshane Pass with an impressive 31-3 victory.

Wallace High School had six players on representative duty as well as six players missing due to injury when they played a Campbell College team that lost four players to representative duty.

The game ended in a 17-17 draw with the Wallace High School scores coming from an Adam Dickson try, a James McCallen try as well as two conversions and a penalty from James.

Banbridge Academy played a midweek fixture at home to Omagh Academy to facilitate the Omagh players who were away with a Duke of Edinburgh Award trip on Saturday 24th.

In a very close encounter it was the Banbridge team that took a 5-0 first half lead with an unconverted try from their full back, Gary Liggett. Both teams worked hard in the course of the second half and it was late in the game when the Omagh team scored a try. Omagh got their break through following a good chip by Greg Deazley from the base of a ruck. The kick found a lot of space which resulted in Adam Longwell touching down in the corner for a try. Andy Allen then slotted a stunning conversion kick from the corner to push Omagh ahead by 7-5. The Omagh defence then held strong in the final minutes with Jamie Brown and Andy Wilson making crucial tackles as Banbridge made a final push to go for the win. The Omagh Academy man of the match was Scott Hemphill who put in an impressive performance on the wing while Collie McGregor and Carl Stirling impressed for the Banbridge Academy team.

Portadown College hosted a Belfast High School team full of confidence after their recent win at Carrickfergus Grammar School.

However, this confidence was short lived as the home team ran into a 15-7 half time lead before cutting loose in the second half. The High School defence worked hard to stem the flow of Portadown College attacks but could do little to stop the effective off- loading game played by the home team. Amongst the try scorers for the Portadown team were Matthew Troughton, who showed great determination to score a hat trick, Alex Steele, Alex Forbes, Andrew Richardson and Connor Carville. At the end of the game the final score read 63-7 in favour of the Portadown College team.

Bangor Grammar hosted Ballymena Academy for a midweek fixture at a blustery Ballymacormack Road.

The two schools had locked horns in last season’s Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Subsidiary Shield Final and Ballymena Academy took the field hoping for a similar result. The strong winds made it a difficult day for both teams and the horrendous conditions inevitably resulted in an afternoon riddled with handling errors. After 15 minutes, Ballymena Academy opened the scoring when Chris Blackwell was on hand to finish following Darren Geddis break. Darren Geddis missed the conversion, but made amends moments later when he raced clear to touch down between the posts. Darren converted his own try to leave the half time score reading 12-0 to the County Antrim school. In the second half, Ballymena stretched their lead further when Brian Mulholland showed excellent pace to finish in the corner. Jordan Foster added a fourth try, which Darren Geddis converted to put his team into a 24-0 lead. Scrum half, Stephen Shaw, got into the act and touched down for an unconverted try to increase the Ballymena lead to 29-0. To their credit, the young Bangor team showed excellent fighting spirit and thoroughly deserved their first points of the day with a converted try midway through the second half. Following the restart, Brian Mulholland capped a fine individual performance for Ballymena with his second try of the match to increase the Ballymena lead to 34-7. It was the home team, however, who finished stronger and, with the last play of the match, scored their second try of the day when their winger finished a well-executed move. The conversion left the final score reading 34-14 to Ballymena Academy.

At a sunny Circular Road, Newtownards, Regent House entertained Coleraine AI.

The home team went on the attack went from the kick off with the Regent House Vice Captain, centre Jonny Carmichael, scoring a try after only two minutes. Jonny latched onto a precise chip into the visitor’s 22m area from out-half Alan Sinnamon. He touched down close to the posts enabling Alan Sinnamon to add the conversion and give his team a 7-0 lead. After 15 minutes play the Regent House No 8, Jonny Baird, scored an unconverted try after a storming 40 metre run to increase their lead to 12-0. On twenty minutes left winger, Aaron Culbert, scored an unconverted try to further increase the Regent lead to 17-0. Regent House prop, Ross Campbell, blasted his way over the Coleraine AI line following a 30m charge to score an unconverted try with 25 minutes on the clock to put his team into a 22-0 lead. Close to half time the Coleraine team scored their first points of the morning when Nick Logan scored an unconverted try to take the score to 22-5 in favour of the Regent House team at half time. The second period of play saw Regent House come close to scoring on a number of occasions only to be let down by poor handling close to the opposition line. A good kick ahead by the Regent House scrum half, Gary Wright, provided the opportunity for Aaron Reid to touchdown for the only score of the second half. Alan Sinnamon was successful with the conversion attempt to see his team safely through to a 29-5 victory.

Limavady Grammar continued their unbeaten run of games, with a win away to Carrickfergus Grammar School.

From the beginning of the game, the much improved Limavady pack dominated the breakdown providing the backs with clean ball. The ball which was provided for the talented backs meant it was only a matter of time before they placed points on the board and it was Michael Barr who touched down for an unconverted try to give his team a 5-0 lead. Following good counter-rucking from the Limavady forwards and the pace of their backline, Robert Lamberton broke through for a try which was converted by outhalf, Luke Faulkner, to give his team a 12-0 lead. Following this try both sides battled ferociously for possession. The Limavady team had a great counter-attacking option which they used effectively. Robert Lamberton took full advantage of good support play involving both forwards and backs to touch down for a try which he converted to put his team into a 19-0 lead. With just minutes to go until the halftime whistle, Limavady upped the intensity and pace of the game once again which resulted in a quick try from winger John Fallows which was converted by Robert Lamberton to give his team a 26-0 halftime lead. The second half was a repeat of the first with the Limavady forwards dominating set pieces and the backs moving the ball well into space. As a result tries came from the Limavady Grammar School captain, Stuart Hull, who scored twice, prop Rory Squires and another from fullback, Robert Lamberton. Three conversions were added by Michael Barr to leave the final score of the game reading 52-0 in favour of the Limavady Grammar School team.

An Ulster U19 team travelled to Galway to play Connacht U19’s in the last Inter Provincial game of the season.

The Ulster U19 felt they had not done themselves justice in the previous two outings and knew they would have a tough task ahead of them. Injuries and non-availability of players meant the team selection was much different from the team that performed well during their previous game against Munster U19’s. Both teams had the opportunity to pick up early points early in the game but penalty opportunities were spurned by the kickers. The Connacht team took a 3-0 lead after fifteen minutes of play when Darragh Leader was successful with a penalty opportunity. The Ulster team levelled the score at 3-3 when Mark Gribben was successful with a penalty opportunity some seven minutes later. Just before half time, Connacht 2nd Row forward, David Heath, ran in for a try following good work from a Connacht lineout. Darragh Leader added the conversion to give his team a 10-3 halftime lead. Ulster started the second half strongly and got reward for their endeavours when David Campbell scored a try. The conversion was missed but the Ulster team had reduced the deficit to 10-8. An unfortunate sequence of events from an Ulster perspective gave Connacht the opportunity for a drop goal which was successfully converted by their full back, David Panter, to give the home team a 13-8 lead. Both teams made changes and it was the Connacht team who took advantage of some poor Ulster defence. David Panter and Conor Fitzgibbon ran in for tries, one of which was converted by Darragh Leader, to see the home team emerge from the game as 25-8 winners.

A second Ulster U19 squad, missing some seven frontline players, travelled to play the Exiles U19’s at West Park RFC in Lancashire.

The Ulster squad arrived for a 1-00pm kick off only to be told the Exiles would not be ready to kick off until 2-30pm. This setback seemed to affect the Ulster team in the opening exchanges of the game. They conceded too first half tries to the Exiles team, both of which were converted. The Ulster boys rallied well in the second half scoring an excellent try through Moss Rogers following good work at the lineout by the Ulster pack. Jonny Holmes converted the try to reduce the arrears to 14-7. Despite the best intentions and hard work of players such as Andrew Clingan, Michael Dawson, Conor Simpson and Jonny McMullan, the Exiles defence held firm, ensuring they recorded their first win of the season by 14-7 against a very gallant Ulster team.

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