Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 26th March 2011: Includes pictures and reports on finals and Ulster Schools’ 7s: + Video Highlights and Interviews – What A Week Of Rugby!

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The main focus of the Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ competitions has been the finals of the Medallion competitions as well as the final of the Northern Bank Subsidiary Shield.

The final of the Medallion Shield took place at Ravenhill when Limavady Grammar School met Sullivan Upper School on Tuesday 22nd March.

The game was played in superb overhead and underfoot conditions in front of a large crowd of enthusiastic supporters from both schools which added considerably to the occasion.
The Sullivan Upper dominated from the word go but were unable to finish off a number of try scoring opportunities. The Sullivan tactics were clear, attack with the ball in hand at every given opportunity. To their credit, the Limavady Grammar School team defended well and created a few chances for themselves. Sullivan had to wait until two minutes before half-time to register the opening points of the game, which came courtesy of a Mark Adair penalty. A buoyant Sullivan made an explosive start to the second period, scoring after only 30 seconds of the half. A short kick-off by Mark Adair was collected by Sullivan and the ball was transferred quickly to Michael Cartmill who beat several defenders before touching down under the posts. Mark Adair added the conversion to extend the Sullivan Upper lead to 10-0.

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Limavady showed plenty of endeavour as winger Matthew McColskey and fullback Joel Stirling both made forays deep into Sullivan territory following quickly taken penalties. However, it was not to be their day and Sullivan made the game safe with 10 minutes remaining. After a sustained period of pressure on the Limavady line, winger Zach Bertinshaw powered through a number of tacklers to seal the result. Mark Adair landed the conversion to leave a final score of 17-0 to Sullivan. Following their well-deserved victory, the Sullivan captain, Ross Todd, received the Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield, from Laurence Caldwell, Senior Vice-President of the Ulster Branch.

The second of the Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion finals took place at Ballymena Academy on Wednesday 23rd March when Rainey Endowed School met Grosvenor Grammar School in the final of the Medallion Bowl competition.

In front of a large crowd, Rainey played into the breeze and, from the kick off, went on the offensive. However, good defensive work from Grosvenor prevented any early scores. Grosvenor then tested the Rainey defence on a few occasions, but their defence also held firm. Midway through the first half, good use of the blindside by Kieran Lynch created a great attacking position for the Rainey team.. After a number of phases close to the Grosvenor line, Samuel Hawe drove over for the first try of the game. The conversion was missed but Rainey had a 5 – 0 lead. Grosvenor came back immediately and stretched the Rainey defence on a number of occasions. Only good tackling from Rainey wingers Stephen Kelso and Rigan Sanderson prevented a Grosvenor score. Towards the end of the first half a lovely line break by Rainey fullback, Gavin Pollock, brought play close to the Grosvenor line. Again the close game paid dividends for Rainey with No 8, Conal Murphy, driving over for an unconverted try to make the score 10 – 0 at half time in favour of the Magherafelt team.

At the beginning of the second half Grosvenor made Rainey work very hard. They played the pick and go game very intelligently and went wide at the right times. Rainey really struggled to get their hands on the ball and only great tackling by Ewan Lennox, Mark Kavanagh and Michael McCready kept the Grosvenor attacks out. Eventually, about 10 minutes into the second half, Grosvenor’s possession was rewarded with a try which was converted from out wide to reduce the arrears to 10 – 7 . Many teams would have wobbled, but Rainey responded positively by going on the offensive. Some intelligent kicking and strong running by Allan Stockman led to the third Rainey try. Good work by half backs, Cameron Noble and Kieran Lynch, put Gavin Pollock in for a try. The conversion was missed, but Rainey had now a 2 try cushion at 15 – 7. The Rainey side now sensed victory and went with an all-out attacking strategy. Their influential captain, David McClelland, was now controlling the game. Up front, Timmy Andrews, Paul Ferson and Johny Stewart paved the way for Conal Murphy to power over for his second try. Samuel Hawe converted and Rainey now had a 22 – 7 lead. Rainey now gave all their replacement players a run out and, in the final few minutes, Cameron Noble nipped in for their 5th try and a 27 – 7 victory. A jubilant Rainey support watched David McClelland receive the Medallion Bowl from the Ulster Branch Representative, Barney McGonigle, who congratulated both teams and their coaches for producing such an excellent game of rugby.

The was a large crowd of expectant supporters at Ravenhill on Thursday 24th March to witness a free flowing and exciting game of schoolboy rugby when Ballymena Academy and Bangor Grammar School met in the final of the Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Subsidiary Shield.

The opening stages of the game saw both teams intent on playing a free flowing style of rugby but there were a lot of errors which denied both teams the opportunity to score points. Midway through the first period of play Stuart McCloskey had the opportunity to put his Bangor team into the lead with a penalty attempt which, unusually for him, he missed. The breakthrough came four minutes later when the Ballymena Academy winger, Caleb Morrison, opened up the Bangor Grammar School defence. He offloaded the ball to fellow winger, Jordan Foster, who set off on a run from outside the Bangor 22m area to touchdown for the first try of the game in the corner.
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Caleb Morrison converted to put his team into a 7-0 lead. Caleb Morrison thought he had increased the Ballymena lead on the half hour mark when he outpaced the Bangor defence with a run from the ten metre line only to be denied a try because of a foot in touch. Just before the break, Nicholas Stirling took advantage of a hesitant Bangor Grammar School defence to win the race for a touchdown. Caleb Morrison added the extras to see his team into a 14-0 halftime lead. The Ballymena team increased the lead just after the restart when Sam Hargy scored a try after a series of “picks and goes” from the Ballymena pack. Caleb Morrison was successful with the conversion to see his team into a 21-0 lead. The Bangor team was rewarded for their never say die attitude when Mark Armstrong scored a try following good work from Matthew Hamilton and Gareth Kelly. The conversion was missed but the deficit had been reduced to 21-5. Any hopes of a Bangor recovery were dashed minutes later when Caleb Morrison set off on a run from just inside the Bangor half. Fast feet and a desire to score despite the intentions of the Bangor defence resulted in a try for the diminutive Ballymena Academy winger. Caleb added the conversion to put his team into a 28-5 lead. He scored his second try of the game a short time later racing down the right wing from the half way line to score in the corner. A slight muscle injury denied Caleb the opportunity of taking the conversion. Darren Geddis was just short with his conversion attempt and the score line was now reading 33-5 in favour of the Co Antrim team. The Bangor team finished the game in a determined fashion but the Ballymena Academy defence was well organised and denied the Co Down boys any chances of scoring. It was a delighted Ballymena Academy team that celebrated their well-deserved 33-5 victory at the final whistle. At the post-match presentation ceremony the Ballymena Academy captain, John Andrew, received the Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Subsidiary Shield from Robin Cole, Junior Vice President of the Ulster Branch.

On Saturday 26th March a large crowd of enthusiastic supporters watched the Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Cup Final at the Shaw’s Bridge Sports Complex.

The Methodist College 3rdxv played Royal Belfast Academical Institution 3rdxv in a very entertaining game. The final result was 16-11 in favour of the Belfast Inst team. At the post match presentation ceremony players from both teams received their medals from Ulster and Ireland 2ndRow forward, Ryan Caldwell. Ryan also presented the victorious Belfast Inst captain with the Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rd xv Cup.
The annual Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Seven-a-side competition took place at Campbell College with teams competing in the Senior, Junior and Medallion competitions. The tournament was superbly organised by John McKinney and his colleagues at Campbell College and greatly enjoyed by the players and coaches from all the participating schools.

Special Feature Videos To Follow On This
Senior Tournament
Ballyclare High School 26 Campbell College (1) 36
Coleraine AI 14 RBAI 38
Belfast Royal Academy 31 RS Armagh 21
RS Dungannon 5 Ballymena Academy 29
Semi Final
Campbell College 19 RBAI 24
Belfast Royal Academy 0 Ballymena Academy 33
RBAI 7 Ballymena Academy 33
Medallion Tournament
Sullivan US [1] 45 Coleraine AI 14
RS Armagh 0 Belfast High School 46
Bangor GS 12 RBAI 19
Campbell College 17 Sullivan US [2] 22
Sullivan US [1] 15 Belfast HS 28
RBAI 24 Sullivan US [2] 19
Belfast HS 7 RBAI 37
Junior Tournament
Ballyclare HS 15 Belfast HS 26
Regent House School 34 Portora RS 14
Belfast HS 0 Regent House School 24

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