A round-up of the latest schools’ rugby action, by Ulster Schools’ PRO, Barney McGonigle…
On 26th December Foyle and Londonderry College played the City of Derry U18 team in the annual Boxing Day Age Grade Rugby extravaganza held at the Judges Road venue. Following a close encounter it was the City of Derry U18 team that emerged as 10-0 winners.
On Saturday 28th December three schoolboy games were played.
Campbell College, Belfast played Belfast Royal Academy in a game the Campbell College team won by 26-5. The Campbell College team had taken a 7-0 lead into the break with a try from Lawson Porter which was converted by Jack Bonner.
Three second half tries from Cameron Hillis, Reece Bell and Tom Robinson, two of which were converted by Jack Bonner, completed the scoring for the Campbell College, Belfast team.
The Belfast Royal Academy team got some reward for their hard work in the course of the game when Cameron Dougan crossed the whitewash for an unconverted try in the second half.
Coleraine Grammar School hosted Wallace High School 2nd XV team in a game the Coleraine Grammar School team won by 31-7. Tom Curry, Shaw Fleck, Harry Mitchell and Cameron Leighton scored the Coleraine Grammar School tries to which Harry Caskey added four conversions as well as one penalty.
The Wallace High School points came through a Carter McCluskey try to which Jay Kinnear added the extras.
Royal Belfast Academical Institution played the Enniskillen Royal Grammar School team in a fast-paced game the Enniskillen Royal Grammar School team won by 24-17. The Belfast Inst team got off to a good start when Oliver Metcalfe ran in for an unconverted try to give his team a 5-0 lead. Sam Milligan then scored a try for the visitors and the Eddie Keyes conversion saw the Enniskillen RGS team into a 7-5 lead. David Stinson then stole a lineout ball and crashed over for an unconverted try to see the Enniskillen Royal Grammar School team into a 12-5 lead at the break.
After the restart Taine Haire touched down for an unconverted try to see the Enniskillen team into a 17-5 lead. The Belfast Inst team responded immediately and an unconverted try from Alex Weir reduced their arrears to 17-10. Following a loose Royal Belfast Academical Institution clearance kick out of defence the Enniskillen RGS team mounted a counter attack which finished when Stephen Balfour outpaced the home defence to run in for a try. Eddie Keyes added the extras to extend the Enniskillen RGS lead to 24-10. With little time remaining the Belfast Inst team scored a try through Adam Cooke, which was converted by Jack Dickson, to leave the final score reading Royal Belfast Academical Institution 17 Enniskillen Royal Grammar School 24.
The final game schoolboy game of 2019 was played on Monday 30th December when Banbridge Academy played Portadown College in an exciting game the Portadown College team won by 35-26.
The Banbridge Academy team, with Harry Patterson and Marcus McNeill impressing with their performances, scored four tries through John McCallister, Harry Patterson, Adam Hanna and Scott Graham. Harry Patterson was successful with three of his conversion kicks.
The Portadown College team scored five tries through Rhys Heasty, Ryan Neill, who ran in for two, Joe Orr and Charlie Logan. Adam Speers capped a fine personal performance with five successful conversions.
The first schoolboy game of 2020 was played on Thursday 2nd January when Rainey Endowed School played Omagh Academy at the Tobermore Road venue in Magherafelt. The Omagh Academy team won the game by 14-7 but had to work hard for their victory. The Rainey Endowed School team started the game well and launched a series of attacks but found the Omagh Academy team to be well organised. The Omagh team, having weathered the storm, then gained the upper hand and, ten minutes before the break, Sam McLaren and David Braden combined to send Harry Stephenson in for a try. Jake Reid added the conversion to give the Omagh Academy team a 7-0 lead at the interval.
Shortly after the restart the Omagh Academy lead extended to 14-0 when Joshua Kyle took advantage of some good work from the Omagh Academy back division and crossed the whitewash for a try to which Jake Reid added the conversion. The Rainey Endowed School team got some reward for their hard work throughout the game when Sebastian Hastings ran in for a try, which Ross Speers converted, to leave the final score reading Rainey Endowed School 7 Omagh Academy 14.
On Friday 3rd January Ballyclare High School played St Gerard’s School from Bray in a game the St Gerard’s School team won by 36-21. The St Gerard’s School team dominated proceedings in the first half and took a 29-0 lead into the half time break.
The Ballyclare High School team displayed a great deal of bouncebackability in the course of the second half and scored three tries through Mark Jackson, Scott Martin and Conor Dargan. Mark Jackson was successful with all three conversions which reduced the Ballyclare High School deficit to 29-21. However, a late try and conversion from the St Gerard’s team secured the 36-21 victory for the Leinster based school.
Royal School, Armagh hosted the Roscommon Christian Brother’s College team in a high scoring encounter which was won by the Royal School, Armagh team. The RS Armagh pack, with players such as Dylan Poyntz and Nicholas Bothwell to the fore, dominated the set piece exchanges and laid the foundations for the Royal School, Armagh victory. James McBride, James Campbell, Jayson Denley, Josh King and Sam Cunningham also impressed with their performances for the RS Armagh team.
Quite a few fixtures were played on Saturday 4th January.
Bangor Grammar School travelled to play the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team in a game the Belfast Inst team won by 45-7. Jack Leathem scored two tries for the home team with Ryan Stewart, Oscar Lowe, Adam Cooke, TJ Pallin and Sam Collins each touching down for one. Ryan Stewart added three successful conversions while Josh Patterson was successful with two.
The Bangor Grammar School points came from a Conor Lusty try which was converted by Angus Christie.
Campbell College, Belfast played Rockwell College from Cashel in Co Tipperary in a game the Munster based school won by 14-7. The Rockwell College team had built up a 14-0 lead by the interval before the Campbell College; Belfast team scored a second half try through Finlay Parkes which was converted by Jack Bonnar.
Down High School played Grosvenor Grammar School in a game the Down High School team won by 29-17. Jonathan Graham, Jack Martin, Aidan McAuley, Jakob Cross and Joe Charles each scored one try for the Down High School team to which Luka Walsh added two conversions.
The Grosvenor Grammar School points came through three tries from Adam Moore, Nathan Stewart and Ben Johnston. Adam Moore was successful with one conversion.
Enniskillen Royal Grammar School played Belfast Royal Academy and continued their recent run of good form with a 43-5 victory. Stephen Balfour and Callum Smyton each scored a brace of tries for the Enniskillen Royal Grammar School team with Aaron Crawford, Taine Haire, and Henry Keyes each touching down for one try. Eddie Keyes was successful with three conversions while George Foster added one conversion.
The Belfast Royal Academy points came through an unconverted try from Adam Kane.
Methodist College, Belfast travelled to Dublin where they played their “Sister School,” from Wesley College, Dublin. The game was played over three periods of play with the Wesley College team taking a 7-5 lead at the end of the first session. Wesley scored a converted try to which Michael Crothers responded with an unconverted try for the Methody team.
In the course of the second session the Methody team scored two further unconverted tries through Harry McCartney and Jack Watson to take a 15-7 lead. The Wesley team then scored a converted try to leave the scoreline reading Wesley College 14 Methodist College 15 at the end of the second period of play.
The Methodist College, Belfast team then scored four unconverted tries in the course of the final session with Zach Porter, Matthew Humphries, Callum Doherty and Callum Davidson each touching down for one. The Wesley College team scored one unconverted try during the final third to leave the final score reading Wesley College, Dublin 19 Methodist College, Belfast 35.
Regent House School hosted Dromore High School in a game the Dromore High School team won by 38-15. Xander Lowham scored two tries for the Dromore High School team with Ben Carey, Jonathan Pepper, Aaron Dillon and Taylor Beacom-Hurle each scoring one. Xander Lowham completed a “Man of the Match” performance with four successful conversions.
The Regent House School team contributed a lot to the game and got some reward for their positive attitude to the game when Callum Dawson, Matthew Gibson and Joe Hopes each touched down for an unconverted try.
Royal School, Armagh 2nd XV played Portadown College in an exciting game the Royal School, Armagh team won by 43-19. James Agnew, Andrew McSorley and Sam Harrison each scored two tries for the RS Armagh team with Jack Reaney touching down for one. Matthew Monaghan was successful with four of his conversion kicks.
The Portadown College points came through tries from Jay Lismore, James Conn and Rhys Heasty to which Adam Speers added two successful conversions.
Sullivan Upper School played Friends’ School, Lisburn in an eleven try thriller the Sullivan Upper School team won by 38-32. Rory Carson scored three tries for the Sullivan Upper School team with Harry Sheridan, Peter Camlin and George Saunderson each touching down for one. Adam Whiteside was successful with four of his conversion kicks.
The Friends’ School, Lisburn points came through a penalty from Reece Malone, tries from Kyle Gormley, who touched down for a hat trick, Fergus McEwen and Jack Harte. Reece Malone was also successful with two conversions.
The “Match of the Day” was played at the Clonevin Park venue in Lisburn when Wallace High School played Ballymena Academy in an exciting game the Wallace High School team won by 29-19. Many neutral observers of the schoolboy game in Ulster would see the Wallace High School team emerging as firm favourites to win the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup this season and, while the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup is never won in January, this positive result, against a very young, but successful, Ballymena Academy team, would see the favourites tag being very firmly placed on the Wallace High School team.
The first half was an enthralling encounter with each team scoring three tries, two of which were converted, to leave the score line reading 19-19 at the break.
The Wallace High School tries, in the first half, came from Finn Rankin, Jamie McNeight and Ben Carson with Nathan Doak, who was directing operations from the out-half position, adding two conversions.
The Ballymena Academy points came through tries from Richard Mallon, Adam Lamont and Ross McKay with Ross adding two conversions.
The second half saw both teams having the opportunity to score more points, but it was the Wallace High School team that did! Reuben Crothers and Scott Wilson each ran in for an unconverted try which secured the hard-earned 29-19 victory for the Wallace High School team.
The draw for the 1st Round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Bowl competition will be made on the afternoon of Saturday 11th January following the completion of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Bowl Group play-off games.
The draws for the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup, Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Bowl and Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Trophy competitions will then be conducted at a media event at Kingspan Stadium on Monday 27th January. All schools involved will be invited to attend this event.