A round-up of the latest schools’ rugby action, by Ulster Schools’ PRO, Barney McGonigle…
On Monday 15th November Sullivan Upper School travelled to play the currently undefeated Methodist College, Belfast team at Pirrie Park.
The Methodist College team had built up a 15-0 lead by the break against a very resilient Sullivan Upper School team before going on to record a 36-5 victory.
The Methodist College points, in the first half, came through tries from Lorcan Hanratty, who scored two, and Benjamin Neill.
The second half saw Methody score three more tries through Josh Stevens, Barry White and Ben McFarlane. Ryan Lindsay completed the scoring with three successful conversions.
The Sullivan Upper School points came from an unconverted second half try from Sam Brown.
On Tuesday 16th November Strabane Academy hosted Lurgan College in the first round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield.
The Strabane Academy team won the game by 34-0 with Josh Hampton putting in a “Man of the Match” performance and running in for three tries. Josh is obviously a chip of the old block! Ryan McAuley touched down for two tries with Jonathan Orr adding three conversions as well as one penalty.
The Strabane Academy team will now travel to play Grosvenor Grammar School in the second round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield. This game is scheduled to be played on/before Saturday 4thDecember.
On Wednesday 17th November the final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ U16 Cup took place at the Kingspan Stadium with Ballymena Academy and Methodist College, Belfast contesting the first final of this new Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ competition.
Following a very competitive game it was the Ballymena Academy that emerged as deserved 29-17 winners.
The Ballymena Academy team controlled most aspects of play in the first half and had built up a 21-0 lead by the interval. The chief architect of the first half performance was their very impressive full back, Sean McKay. Sean scored two tries and added three conversions. Michael McLean scored the third try for the Ballymena Academy team.
Continuing Ballymena Academy pressure in the opening stages of the second half saw the Methody defence concede a penalty. Sean McKay made no mistake with the kick to put his team into a comfortable 24-0 lead. This seemed to spur the Methodist College team into action. They took control of the game and scored two quick tries through Lewis Doherty and Harry McNeice and, with one Jack Tindall conversion, reduced the deficit to 24-12. Then a storming charge at the Methodist College line resulted in the Ballymena Academy replacement hooker, Joshua Harvey, touching down for an unconverted try to see his team into a 29-12 lead. With little time remaining the Methodist College team scored an unconverted try through Jacob Lewis to leave the final score reading Ballymena Academy 29 Methodist College, Belfast 17.
Following the game, Graffin Parke, a former President of the Ulster Branch of the IRFU, congratulated both teams on reaching the final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools U16 Cup and commented on the high standard of play from both teams throughout the game. Graffin thanked the Danske Bank for their continued sponsorship of the Ulster Schools’ competitions, thanked the Ulster Branch and staff at the Kingspan Stadium for hosting the final and thanked the referee, Chris Cahoon, and his experienced team of officials, William Halliday, Chris Russell and Richard Kerr, for controlling the game so well. Graffin then asked Ian Russell, representing the Danske Bank, to present the medals to the players from both teams. Following the medal presentation Graffin presented the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ U16 Cup to the captain of the victorious Ballymena Academy team, Stevie Bristow.
At the Belfast Royal Academy grounds at Roughfort Dalriada School and Royal School, Armagh U16 teams contested the first Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ U16 Plate final.
This very close encounter finished with the Dalriada School team winning the game by 13-12.
The Dalriada School team made full use of the elements in the first half and scored an unconverted try through Paddy Cramsie, who took full advantage of a clever kick pass from Gabriel Stubbs-Carton before touching down for the try. The Dalriada School team went on to control play for long periods in the first half and took their 5-0 lead into the break.
The Royal School, Armagh started the second half strongly. A strong series of picks and drives paved the way for Niall Conn to touch down for an unconverted try to see the scores draw level at 5-5. The Royal School, Armagh team then took a 12-5 lead when Thomas Dougan ran in for a try which was converted by Josh Lowey. The Dalriada team then had Angus Graham touch down for an unconverted try, following a quickly taken penalty, to reduce the arrears to 12-10. With little time remaining Dalriada pressure forced the Royal School, Armagh team into conceding a penalty. Up stepped Gabriel Stubbs-Carton to split the uprights with a well struck kick, give his team a 13-12 lead and, with it, the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ U16 Plate.
Following the game, Stephen Elliott, a former President of the Ulster Branch of the IRFU, congratulated both teams on reaching the final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools U16 Plate and commented on the high standard of play from both teams throughout the game. Stephen thanked the Danske Bank for their continued sponsorship of the Ulster Schools’ competitions, thanked Belfast Royal Academy for hosting the final and thanked the referee, Jarvis Traynor, and his experienced team of officials, Teddy Sloan and Tony Breen, for controlling the game so well. Stephen then presented the medals to the players from both teams before presenting the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ U16 Plate to the captain of the victorious Dalriada School team, Luke Stewart.
Meanwhile at Antrim Grammar School Limavady Grammar School and Regent House School U16 teams contested the first Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ U16 Bowl final.
This was another very closely contested game which finished as a 10-10 draw.
The Limavady Grammar School points came through a try from Odhran Clenaghan with James Laird adding one conversion as well as one penalty.
The Regent House School team had a similar scoring pattern with Daniel Nelson scoring a try and Matthew McBride adding one conversion as well as one penalty.
Following the game, Neil Workman, a member of the Ulster Branch of the IRFU, and Chairman of the Ulster Branch Age Grade Committee, congratulated both teams on reaching the final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools U16 Bowl and commented on the high standard of play from both teams. Neil thanked the Danske Bank for their continued sponsorship of the Ulster Schools’ competitions, thanked Antrim Grammar School for hosting the final and thanked the referee, Jonathan Diamond, and his experienced team of John Adams and Stephen Crooke, for controlling the game so well. Neil then presented the medals to the players from both teams before presenting the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ U16 Bowl to the respective captains, Odhran Clenaghan from Limavady Grammar School and Matthew McBride from Regent House School.
It was a busy afternoon at Antrim Grammar School with the Antrim Grammar School U17 Senior team hosting Carrickfergus Grammar School in a high scoring game that saw both teams use extended squads of players.
The Antrim Grammar School squad displayed great commitment, skill and character throughout the game. Matthew Adair, Ben Mawhinney, Ethan Ashe, Joshua Harvey, Ethan Wilson, Peter Kane and Noah Jeffries were among the Antrim Grammar School players who impressed in the course of the game.
For the Carrickfergus Grammar School team Robbie McMinn, Sam Daniels, Ellis Branagh, Dylan Gordon, Ethan Law, Tom Kennedy, Shane Gilmore, Harry Watson and Jack Campbell all played well during their time on the pitch.
On the same afternoon one Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield first round games took place.
Craigavon Senior High School played Belfast High School in a high scoring game the Craigavon Senior High School team won by 26-24.
Craigavon Senior High School will now travel to play Bangor Academy in the second round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield on/before Saturday 4th December.
In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Cup two first round games took place.
Omagh Academy entertained Foyle and Londonderry College and won the game by 29-19.
Banbridge Academy played Portadown College in a game the Portadown College team won by 32-0.
In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Cup one game took place when Bangor Academy hosted Campbell College, Belfast 4thxv in a game the Bangor Academy team won by 43-12.
On Friday 19th November Bangor Grammar School played Ballyclare High School under the floodlights at Uprichard Park, home of Bangor Rugby Football Club. The Ballyclare High School team continued their recent run of good form and came away with a 45-0 win.
First half tries from Luke McIlrath, Jacob Scarlett and Bryn McCallan, with one conversion from Callum Cochrane gave the Ballyclare High School team a 17-0 lead by the interval.
Continued pressure in the second half saw tries from Callum Cochrane, Tom McAllister and two from Alex Darragh. Four successful conversions from Callum Cochrane secured the 45-0 victory for the Ballyclare High School team.
Both teams, and their coaches, would like to thank Bangor RFC for the use of facilities and hosting the game on the excellent floodlit pitch at Uprichard Park.
Meanwhile at Stevenson Park, Dungannon the Royal School, Dungannon team played Dromore High School under lights on another excellent pitch.
The Royal School, Dungannon team had been undefeated until this game but lost that unbeaten status with the Dromore High School team coming away with a hard-earned 26-12 victory.
The Royal School, Dungannon team took an early 7-0 lead when James Girvan touched down for a try to which he added the conversion. The Dromore High School team replied with three first half tries from Ethan Mount, Matthew Heasley and Alexandra Ferreira, two of which were converted by Nathan Hook, to take a 19-7 lead into the break.
The second half saw both teams use players from their extended squads. Kyle Stirling scored a try for the Dromore High School team, which Nathan Hook converted, to extend the Dromore High School lead to 26-7. The Royal School, Dungannon team got some reward for their second half endeavours when Jacob Clarke ran in fir an unconverted try to leave the final score reading Royal School, Dungannon 12 Dromore High School 26.
Both teams, and their coaches, would like to thank Dungannon Rugby Club for the use of facilities and hosting the game.
On Saturday 20th November one Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield game, one Danske Bank Ulster 2ndxv Cup game and a series of 1stxv friendly games took place.
In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield Wellington College played Larne Grammar School in a game the Larne Grammar School team won by 45-0.
This result means that Larne Grammar School will now travel to play Omagh Academy in the second round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools Medallion Shield on/before Saturday 4th December.
In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv Cup Friends’ School, Lisburn hosted their near neighbours from Lurgan College in a game the Friends’ School team won by 26-5.
At 1stxv level Ballymena Academy played Rainey Endowed School at Eaton Park and it was the Ballymena Academy team that emerged as 38-0 winners.
The Ballymena Academy team scored three first half tries through Michael McLean, Sean McKay and Conor Louw. Tristan Ferguson added the extras to two of the tries.
It was more of the same in the second half. Three further tries from Harry Marcus, Andrew Donald and Marshall Robinson, alongside two more Tristan Ferguson conversions, secured the 38-0 victory for the Ballymena Academy team.
Both teams, as well as their coaches, would like to thank Ballymena Rugby Football Club for the use of facilities and hosting the game on the excellent Eaton Park pitch.
Belfast High School played a Royal School, Armagh Senior “Select” xv and won the exciting encounter by 25-24.
Aaron Mitchel, Alex Montgomery and Adam Bennett each scored a try for the Belfast High School team. Cameron Banford was successful with two conversions as well as two penalties.
The Royal School, Armagh team scored four tries through Kristoffer Mackenzie, Leon Taylor, Matthew Whittle and Jack Steenson. Matthew Monaghan and Josh Watterson were each successful with one conversion kick.
Coleraine Grammar School played Methodist College, Belfast in a game the Methodist College team won by 34-0.
Despite the best efforts of Coleraine Grammar School players such as Rory Telfer, Toby McClarty and Benji Logan, all of whom put in very workmanlike performances, it was the Methodist College team that dominated play for large percentages of the game.
The Methody points came through tries from Michael Crothers, Josh Stevens and Ryan Kidd, both of whom scored a brace, and Harry Palmer. Ryan Lindsay was successful with two conversion kicks.
Dalriada School hosted Belfast Royal Academy and it was the Belfast Royal Academy team that had recorded an impressive 33-5 victory by the end of the game.
The Dalriada points came through an unconverted try from the impressive Luke Stewart.
The Belfast Royal Academy team scored five tries through Callum Savage, Liam Davis, David Wilson, Ben Dewhurst and Ben Lonsdale. Ryan O’Hara was successful with four of his conversion kicks.
Down High School played Regent House School and recorded a well-deserved 53-7 victory.
The Down High School team scored nine tries through Alex Dobbin, who ran in for two, Cameron McCaughey, Brian Mitchell, Fionn Carey, Ross Graham, Rory Wilson, Jonathan Frazer and Tiernan Keating. Ross Graham added the extras to four of the tries.
Zach Campbell scored a converted try for the Regent House School team.
Foyle and Londonderry College entertained Lurgan College and, at the end of an exciting game, it was the Lurgan College team that emerged as 27-20 winners.
It was the impressive pair of James McKillop and James Gamble who touched down for two unconverted tries each for the Foyle College team.
Angus Cunningham, Simon Cartwright, with two, Luke Harrison and Peter Bird scored the Lurgan College tries with Peter Bird adding one conversion.
Grosvenor Grammar School played Larne Grammar School in a game the Grosvenor GS team won by 47-0.
The Grosvenor team scored seven tries through Ben Johnston, who touched down twice, Lewis Young, Euan Bailie, Aaron Boyd, Michael Baird and Ross Millar. Ben Johnston completed a “Man of the Match” performance with six successful conversions.
The Larne Grammar School team displayed great commitment throughout and got some reward for their endeavours when Joshua Kane touched down for an unconverted try.
Portadown College hosted Banbridge Academy in a game the Banbridge Academy team won by 17-7.
The Banbridge Academy team took an early 7-0 lead when No 8, Ben Bradshaw, charged over the Portadown College line to touch down for a try. Ryan Matthews added the conversion. This became 10-0 a short time later when Ryan was successful with a penalty kick.
Midway through the half the Portadown College team reduced the arrears to 10-7 when Ben Lewis ran in for a try which was converted by Adam Neill.
Banbridge Academy dominated territory and possession for most of the second half. Ryan Matthews took full advantage of this and he touched down for a try, which he converted, to see his team into a 17-7 lead-a lead the Banbridge Academy team maintained until the final whistle.
One noticeable feature of this game was the performance of the Banbridge Academy flanker, Marcus McNeill, who was outstanding in every facet of his game.
Royal Belfast Academical Institution played their cross-town rivals from Campbell College, Belfast and, at the end of a very closely contested game, it was the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team that emerged as 13-10 winners.
The Belfast Inst team had taken a 10-0 lead through a penalty from Josh Eagleson and a try from Jacob Boyd which was converted by Josh Eagleson.
The Campbell College team responded with a penalty from Peter Caves and a try from Lucas Perez de Leza which was converted by Peter Caves.
With ten minutes remaining Josh Eagleson converted a penalty kick to give the Belfast Inst a 13-10 lead. The remainder of the game saw the Campbell College team launch a series of attacks but the Royal Belfast Academical Institution defence held firm enabling their team to secure the 13-10 victory.
Wallace High School played Omagh Academy and recorded a 19-7 victory at the end of a hard game.
The Wallace High School team scored three tries through Ben Armstrong, Zac Carey and Cameron Doak. Cameron Beattie was successful with two of his conversion kicks.
The Omagh Academy team, for whom Jamie Matthews, Reece Braden and Joe Harper impressed, displayed great skill and commitment throughout the game. Andrew Johnston scored their points through a converted try following a very clever kick, chase and gather.