There were a number of Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ final played in the course of the last week.
Dalriada School won the final of the Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Trophy defeating a very spirited Foyle and Londonderry College team in a close encounter played at the home of Rainey Old Boys in Magherafelt.
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On the same day Methodist College defeated Ballymena Academy to win the Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Plate in another entertaining game at Roughfort.
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Methodist College 2nd xv played Royal Belfast Academical Institution 2nd xv in the final of the Northern Bank 2ndxv Cup in a midweek game at the Shaw’s Bridge Sports Complex. The Methody team won the game by 15-5 to pick up another trophy in the space of a few days.
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The Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ 2nd xv Plate final featuring Wallace High School 2ndxv and Banbridge Academy 2nd xv was played under lights at Ballynahinch Rugby Club.
The game was played in front of a good group of enthusiastic supporters on a pitch which encouraged both teams to run the ball at every opportunity. The Wallace team took an early 3-0 lead when Chris Godfey was successful with a first minute penalty opportunity.
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Shortly after this the Banbridge team scored a converted try to give them a 7-3 lead. The Wallace team responded with a great break from Andrew Neely which led to a ruck. Quick ball was produced and the impressive Wallace High School scrum half, Mark Hylands, attacked around the fringes to score a try. The conversion was missed but the Wallace team had an 8-7 half time lead. The Wallace team continued with their attacking game plan throughout the second period of play. The Banbridge team defended heroically but could do little to stop Zac McCall running a powerful line to touch down for an unconverted try to give his team a 13-7 lead. Towards the end of the game Andrew Neely scored the third Wallace High School try. Once again the conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Wallace High School team had done enough to win the Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ 2nd xv Plate by 18-7.
The last of the Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Finals will take place on Wednesday 6th April when Belfast Royal Academy and Campbell College meet in the final of the Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rd xv Plate. The game is scheduled to take place at Pirrie Park at 3-30pm.
There were a number of Ulster Schools’ players involved with the successful Ireland Schools’ U18 squad that played Scotland U18’s in Glasgow.
The Scotland team had inflicted a rare defeat on the high riding England U18 team last weekend and the game in Scotland was a severe test for the Ireland team as they prepare to take part in the AER/FIRA Tournament in Tarbes over the Easter period. The Ireland team put on a great performance to record a vital 31=12 victory. Chris Farrell and Mark Best from Campbell College started the game while Stuart Olding (Belfast Royal Academy), Rory Scholes (Campbell College) Ben Alexander (Royal Belfast Academical Institution) and Chris Taylor (Wallace High School) were among the replacement players used.
The Ireland Under-18 Schools team, sponsored by PwC, booked their place in the elite tier of the upcoming FIRA-AER European Championship with a well-merited win over Scotland in Glasgow. Terry McMaster’s side will compete in the semi-finals of the tournament in Tarbes later this month, as one of the top four teams in the Six Nations.
They qualified for the top group with an impressive 31-12 victory in Sunday’s crucial qualifier at Braidholm RFC in Glasgow. The Ireland youngsters lost 29-12 to England in their first qualifier in December, but had the measure of a Scottish side that beat England 26-21 in Leeds last weekend.
Ireland outscored their Scottish opponents by five tries to two and in doing so grabbed the all-important bonus point they needed, while denying the Scots any share of the spoils. The visitors roared into a 12-0 lead with tries by centre Chris Farrell and out-half Rory Scannell and one conversion from scrum half and captain Luke McGrath.
Scotland replied with a converted try from number 8 Adam Ashe and on the stroke of half-time, it was the turn of Ireland number 8 Ryan Murphy to crash over for a seven-pointer. Scotland, who were 19-7 behind at the interval, briefly threatened to hit back after scoring a try through hooker Russell Anderson.
But thereafter, it was Ireland who dominated as winger Conor McEllin ran in two late tries and McGrath added a further conversion for a winning margin of 19 points.
Commenting afterwards, the Ireland U18 coach Terry McMaster said: “We can now go to France with confidence. Today we played some very good rugby, with good shape.”