SHOTS LIVE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Virginia & BHSFP RFC !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Photographer: Marianne Cahill

Ballymena RFC U16s 10 – Virginia RFC U16s 38

16s Just One Win Away From Return to Ravenhill

Virginia RFC U16s travelled to Co Antrim Saturday to take on Ballymena RFC U16s in the Quarter Final of the Ulster Cup. It was a dry warm day with a promise of Spring, ideal weather as the end of the season approaches.

Having returned from an Easter tour to France there was perhaps a bit of jet lag in Virginia legs, and Ballymena came out of the blocks at a ferocious pace, using their forwards to carry hard up the field. Virginia weathered the storm though, with some great defence from James Farrelly, Jamie Osborne, Ryan McGuigan, and the returning Callum Caswell. The visitors soon got into their stride, and despite having the smaller pack were comfortable at the breakdown as Killian Collins, Adrian Lynch, and Mark Gibney all secured possession well. This allowed the half back pairing of Adam Sherriff and Adam Charters to release the backs or pin back the Ballymena defence to gain field position. Once here there’s no better man to exploit space than Niall Carolan, and he tore through the heart of the home defence to open the scoring under the posts. More quick hands then released Paddy Gordon into space and he bundled the Ball over out wide to extend the lead. Ballymena were a tough outfit though, and dangerous and direct on the break. Having fought their way back into the game, despite some excellent work at the maul by Michael McKeon-Boyle, they then forced their way over in the corner to narrow the gap. Virginia weren’t finished though, and another break from deep by the irrepressible Niall saw him bag his brace, Michaels second conversion making the half time score 19-5 to Virginia.

Jack Vaughan replaced Adam Charters at the break, but if Virginia thought the game was won they had an immediate wakeup call as the second half started, Ballymena gathering the ball from the kick off, and an excellent weaving run saw them score and close the gap to nine points. Virginia again responded well. Ballymena knew the threat down the middle and in an effort to nullify this beefed up their midfield defence. This left gaps out wide and soon Robert Lochaden gave great support as Niall again burst the lines, Robert finishing off the try. Paddy then broke down the other wing, and gave a great offload to Conor Nulty whose brilliant line saw him go in under the posts. John Dolan entered the fray after his heroics in France and again proved his versitility with a good performance on the side of the scrum. Jason Henderson was introduced and gave his usual assured performance at full back. Virginia weren’t done scoring by yet, and soon Robert had bagged his second in the corner, Michaels second conversion of the half and fourth of the game giving Virginia a 38-10 lead. Ryan Moloney, Luke Morris, Diarmuid O’Reilly, and Ciaran Levy-Valensi were all introduced and saw the game out with no further score. Thanks too to travelling reserves Fionn Needham and Alfie Jackson who backed up the squad today. Their grip on the U16s Cup is still there, and their semi-final will take place on Sat 21st April.

Next week their attention turns to the All-Ireland Play-Off Semi-Final, when they take on Leinster Champions Tullow RFC in Ashbourne, KO 1pm. All support is very welcome.

Rainey OB RFC U14s 10 – Virginia RFC U14s 12

Virginia U14s had a very early start on Saturday morning as they had to travel to Magherfelt to take on Rainey in the Quarter final of the Ulster Cup, the conditions were very good for a great game of rugby.

Virginia’s scrum was very solid today and they capitalised on this on more than a few occasions.
Kieran Duffy made some good breaks from the back of the set piece making good ground but Rainey were very quick to nullify the threat. The home side then made a break down the line, but Rian Stafford was in place for a great try saving tackle. Virginia were now under pressure, and after a couple of lineout wins they failed to find touch with the clearing kick, Rainey then made a strong run down the line to score in the corner. Virginia then upped their game, keeping Rainey in their half and eventually winning a penalty, but this was sadly missed, and despite having most of the possession in the first half, they went in 5-0 down.

At half time Diarmuid Donnellan replaced Patrick Sheridan, and Virginia were first to score in the second half after some great forward play. A big pass followed by Oscar Erikson to Nathan Tobin who made great ground to score in the corner levelling the score. This was turning into a hard fought game with a lot of stoppages, but once again Virginia capitalised on scrum dominance, and Kieran Duffy made another break from the No 8 position to score under the posts with just a minute and a half of game left, Malachy Walkers conversion bringing the score to 12-5. Rainey weren’t done though, and from the kick off a high ball was followed up putting Virginia under severe pressure. Rainey was awarded a plenty which they tapped quickly managing to score with just 30 seconds left on the clock. A missed conversion however was to cost them the chance to level the score, and the game finished 12-10 to Virginia.

Their pursuit of an Ulster League & Cup Double is still alive, and they now travel to Banbridge RFC for the Semi-Final, date and time TBC.

Squad: Darren Kavanagh, Gordon Lochaden, Eoin Bogan, Matthew Byers, Conan Fitzpatrick, Patrick Sheridan, Glen McCabe, Oscar Erikson, Jack Carroll, Killian Smith, Nathan Tobin, Malachy Walker, Tadgh Barry, Declan Burns, Rian Stafford, Louis Fidgeon, Tyrone Tynan, Kieran Duffy, Diarmuid Donnellan, Aidan Kiernan, Cameron O Reilly, Ben Curran

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