Ulster Schools’ PRO, Barney McGonigle previews the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Last 16…
There are eight Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup games scheduled for Saturday 8th February.
Ballyclare High School vs Friends’ School, Lisburn
Ballyclare High School will host Friends’ School, Lisburn secure in the knowledge they will be seen as clear favourites to win this game and progress to the 1/4 Finals of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup. The Ballyclare High School Director of Rugby and Head Coach, Michael McKeever, stated prior to the draw that all he wished for was a home draw and he was delighted with the result of the draw. Michael is assisted by Aaron Playfair, who looks after the forwards; Ryan McIlwaine as back’s coach and Gareth Lenaghan who brings considerable experience to the Ballyclare High School squad as Team Manager.
Team captain, Jack Gamble, is a superb No 8 who leads from the front. An Ulster U19 player, Jack is one of a number of the Ballyclare squad who has benefitted from involvement with Ulster Age Grade squads. Mark Jackson, Adam Barron, Owen Ward, Robert Reid, Zachary Scarlett and Angus Robinson can all bring the experience gained with various Ulster Age Grade squads to this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game. Mark Jackson and Adam Barron are the top try scorers in the Ballyclare squad with Mark leading the way as top points scorer. Equally at home as an outside half or full back, the Friends’ School defence will need to monitor Mark closely and not give away any kickable penalties.
The Ballyclare High School squad recorded bonus point wins in two of their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup and gained a losing bonus point in their loss to Cambridge House Grammar School. That ensured they finished their league games as group winners. Not only are members of the Ballyclare High School squad talented rugby players but Alex Darragh is a talented sportsman in other areas and especially in badminton, table tennis and football. Similarly so with Adam Barron and Jack Gamble who display good skills in both soccer and badminton. Matthew Spence a keen bowls player and Tom Turner has a strong interest in weight lifting with Luke McIlwrath displaying great skills on the dance floor. Recent clean sheet wins against schools such as Rainey Endowed School and Coleraine Grammar School would seem to have put the Ballyclare High School squad into a good place at just the right time of the season.
The Friends’ School, Lisburn team, coached by Stephen Robinson, Norman Gamble, now in his 37th season of assisting with Senior Rugby teams at Friends’ School, and Aaron Cairns, won their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ League group with something to spare. They then took themselves off to a training camp in Portugal in preparation for their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup campaign. The Friends’ School team is captained by Jack Harte, a talented player who gained representative honours with the Ulster U19 team. Accompanying Jack in that U19 team was Reece Malone who is the leading points scorer for the Friends’ School, Lisburn team this season. Reece, son of Niall Malone, has been one of the most accurate kickers off the tee in Ulster Schools’ Rugby this season. He, along with Fergus McEwen, has also an eye for the line and has been a regular try scorer as well. His game management skills have been excellent throughout the season and will undoubtedly be required in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game against Ballyclare. If the Friends’ School pack can go head to head with the Ballyclare High School pack and acquire some quality possession then there is the potential for what would be seen as a shock result at the end of this game.
This Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup match is scheduled to kick off at 10:30am.
Royal School Armagh vs Campbell College, Belfast
The “Tie of the Round” would seem to be at the College Hill venue in the Cathedral City when Royal School, Armagh will meet Campbell College, Belfast. This game, involving two of the Top Six Seeded teams in the Province, has caught the imagination of everyone involved in schools’ rugby in the Province. The Royal School, Armagh team exited the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup at the semi-final stage last season. With most of that team still available there is a steely determination among the Royal School, Armagh squad to go at least one step further this season. The Royal School, Armagh team is coached by Chris Parker and Willie Faloon, two young men emerging quickly as very talented coaches. Both Willie and Chris know that when the going gets tough they can call upon the sage wisdom and grandfatherly advice of Kenny Hooks, a man never far away from the rugby action in the Royal School, Armagh, to help them out.
The Royal School, Armagh team has Sam Rainey, an Ulster U19 player, as captain. Sam has led the team in a quiet but effective manner throughout the season. There have been quite a few impressive performances mixed in with one or two below par outings. The squad now has a large number of Year 14 players with only two Year 12 players likely to be part of the squad and it is hoped this experience can help in the lead up to their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup campaign. Their top try scorer is Ethan McAtarsney, a winger who is more than useful off the tee. Romain Morrow is another fine place kicker who will kick the penalties and conversions given the chance. Charlie Worth – Ireland U18 7s Captain and Ulster U19 player- is another of the Royal School, Armagh backs the Campbell College defence will need to monitor closely. Josh King and Ryan Finlay have been involved with the Ulster U18 Schools’ squad while James Campbell and Ross Taylor have gained representative experience with Ulster Schools’ U17 squads. Chris Whiteside is the Head Boy in the Royal School, Armagh team and his leadership qualities can clearly be seen in the way in which he works with his colleagues in the Royal School, Armagh back division. Ross Taylor could be joined by his brother, Peter, on the team and the Cunningham brothers, Sam and Josh, will be hoping to be selected together for this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game.
The Campbell College, Belfast team lost in the final of the 2019 Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup and everyone associated with the 2020 team will be wishing to return to the Kingspan Stadium on March 17th. Having lost quite a number of the Campbell College squad that played in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup final last season this season has seen a steady rebuild situation going on. The Campbell College coaching staff of Jonny Cupitt and Brian Robinson can call upon the expertise of Neil Doak, coach of Worcester Warriors, to assist with their coaching duties. The team captain is Dara Gaskin, a talented player who has the ability to play in a number of positions in the Campbell College back division. The team has played eighteen games to date-winning eight, losing eight and drawing two. Danny Williamson is the leading try scorer and Jack Bonner the leading points scorer. As well as Dara Gaskin gaining experience with Ulster Age Grade teams, Paddy McAlpine, a key Campbell College forward has been involved with both Ulster and Ireland U19 squads and Jack Boal has been involved with the Ulster Schools’ U18 team. Finlay Parkes, Hugh Minford, Zac Solomon and Henry Auchmuty, who is also Head Prefect in Campbell College, are regular try scorers and players that the Royal School, Armagh defence will need to monitor closely.
This Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game is scheduled to kick off at 10:30am
Bangor Grammar Schools vs Wallace High School
Bangor Grammar School will be delighted to be playing at home as they prepare to welcome the Wallace High School team – a team in many people’s books who are clear favourites – not only to win this game but to actually win the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup this season. Bangor Grammar School, having lost recently against the Wallace High School team, will know that they will have to be at their very best if they are to have any chance of causing what would be seen as a major upset. Having won their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ League group in a very comfortable manner the Bangor Grammar School squad will relish the opportunity of continuing their current good run in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup. The Bangor Grammar School team, coached by Rhys Botha and Colin Hunter, has overcome a difficult start to the season and started to play some very positive rugby as most of their recent results would suggest.
The team is captained by Conor Lusty, an exciting centre who has been central to the recent revival of the Bangor Grammar School team. In recent games the coaches have been able to select from a full squad of fit players and this has also been seen in the positive results the team has achieved. Scrum half, Angus Christie, is their leading points scorer and he is someone the Wallace High School defence will need to monitor closely. Number 8, Patrick Dobbie is hard working forward who gains a lot of front foot ball for his colleagues to work with. Players such as Robbie Grant, Riley Westwood, Bryn McCartney and Ben Gibson bring Ulster Age Grade representative experience to the Bangor Grammar School team and this might prove to be a major factor in determining the outcome of this game. Both sides will be out to prove a point so a physical and fast paced game is expected. It will come down to who can execute their game plan the best and who can adjust to the pressures of the day the best.
The Wallace High School team lost at the semi-final stage of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup last season. That loss seems to have galvanised both the returning set of players, as well as the coaching staff, and they have all set their stall out this season in such a way to show how determined they all are to ensure they return to the Kingspan Stadium and this time on St Patrick’s Day. The Wallace High School team coaches, Derek Suffern and Ian Latham, who receive great support from experienced colleagues such as Neil Hinds and Alan Monteith, have at their disposal an exceptionally talent squad of players. The team is captained by their exceptional back row forward Reuben Crothers. Reuben has captained the Ulster U19 team and been involved in Ireland U18 Schools’ camps this season. Reuben has captained the Wallace High School team to fourteen victories out of eighteen games and only a couple of those losses have been against schools from Ulster. Ben Carson, a player who has been involved with both Ulster and Ireland Schools’ squads this season, is the leading try scorer on the Wallace High School team. Ben is a very talented centre who has asked questions of the defence of every team he has played against this season. Joel Dundas, a player equally at home in a number of positions, was involved with the Ulster U19 team as was Peter Heasley. Jamie McNeight and Finn Rankin have been involved with the Ulster Schools’ U18 squad as has Charlie Irvine who has also attracted the attention of the Ireland Schools’ U18 Management team. However, the jewel in the crown among this talented group of Wallace High School players is Nathan Doak. This young emerging talent is equally at home at either of the half back positions and was unavailable to play for the Wallace High School team earlier in the season due to his performances with the Ulster “A” team in the Celtic Cup when the team reached the final. Already capped by Ireland Schools Nathan has been involved with the Ireland U19 set up already this season. Nathan’s brother, Cameron, has acquitted himself well in the course of the season and brings his own strengths to the powerful Wallace High School team. When the combined talents of this Wallace High School team are looked at it is not difficult to see why they have the mantel as favourites to win the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup attached to them.
This Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game is scheduled to kick off at 11:00am
Grosvenor Grammar School vs Enniskillen Royal Grammar School
Grosvenor Grammar School will entertain the Enniskillen Royal Grammar School team in a confident mood having deservedly sealed their place in the last sixteen following a great home performance against the Dalriada School team in their final Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup League game back in December. The Grosvenor Grammar School team has Mark McDowell as the Head Coach with Owen Henry, Rory Butler and David McLaughlin all playing vital roles as assistant coaches.
The team is captained by their experienced full back, Adam Moore, who is participating in his third season of Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup games. Adam receives great support from his Vice-Captain, Harry Graham, and both these players are well aware of the responsibilities they have when working with what is essentially a very young and inexperienced squad of team mates. It has been, in many ways, a tough season for the Grosvenor Grammar School squad with consistency being the main issue on a game-to-game basis. A series of losses has been recorded but the side has been in a good place in most fixtures deep into the 2nd half before ultimately being defeated on a number of occasions. It has been a steep learning curve for everyone and coaches and players alike have been focusing on their own development rather than results. However, their victory against Dalriada School in the final game on their section of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ League ensured they have entered into the last sixteen of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup competition in a very confident frame of mind. Adam Moore has been the top points scorer for the team due to his eye for the opposition try line as well as his consistent accuracy off the tee. Ethan Robinson, a player equally adept in playing on the wing, or in the backrow, is the top try scorer for the Grosvenor Grammar School team. These two players are among a number of Grosvenor Grammar School players the Enniskillen Royal Grammar School defence will need to monitor closely.
This is a young Grosvenor Grammar School squad with only three of the squad in their final year at the school. Among the squad members is Adam Matchett, a young player with fine rugby genes to call upon. His Dad, Andy, was scrum half with the successful Ulster team that won the European Championship on that famous occasion in January 1999. No 8, Joshua Patterson, is an Ireland Schools’ Hammer thrower with Jack Breen and Rhys Worthington have played for the Grosvenor Grammar School soccer team in NI Schools’ Soccer competitions. The Grosvenor Grammar School coaches and players wanted to be in this position heading into the Dalriada game when their fate was in their own hands and the ability to finish second in the group. They played Dalriada in the first game of the season and, despite losing that game, the Grosvenor Grammar School squad feel they were a different side from that day. The players have worked immensely hard over the last number of months to develop multiple areas of their game as recent positive performances would show. The Grosvenor Grammar School staff and players will have great respect for the Enniskillen Royal Grammar School team and they are looking forward to welcoming them to Marina Park and will be hopeful of a large crowd of Grosvenor Grammar School supporters in attendance.
Coached by Ashley Finlay, Stewart McCain and Alastair Keys, the Enniskillen Royal Grammar School team has impressed seasoned observers of the schools’ game in Ulster this season with their flair and determination to play the game with the ball in hand. They have scored quite a few tries in the sixteen games they have played and the Grosvenor Grammar School defence will have to be in top form when the teams meet. Captained by their impressive centre, Robbie Mills, who is also Head Boy of the school, the team has won twelve of their games played this season. Sam Balfour is the leading try scorer with outside half, Eddie Keys, their leading points scorer. His ability off the tee is probably unsurpassed in Ulster Schools’ Rugby this season. His twin brother, Henry, is a hard-working flanker and both boys have gained a lot from the expert coaching provided by their father, Alistair. Callum Smyton, David Stinson, Neil Rutledge and Stuart Brown have all gained experience through their involvement with Ulster Age Grade squads this season and that experience has shone through with their displays for the Enniskillen Royal Grammar School team this season. The Enniskillen Royal Grammar School coaching team has been very happy with the introduction of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup group stages which they felt gave a competitive edge to traditional fixtures played pre-Christmas. It has also introduced the opportunity of playing school teams that the Enniskillen Royal Grammar School players would usually not encounter. The coaches also feel it has been easier to keep their players focused on short-term objectives in four-week blocks of games. They are sure to be travelling to the Grosvenor Grammar School game with a very confident mind set.
This Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game is scheduled to kick off at 11:00am.
Royal Belfast Academical Institution vs Belfast Royal Academy
Royal Belfast Academical Institution will be delighted to welcome back one of their former coaches when they host Belfast Royal Academy in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup. Brian McLaughlin, a coach synonymous with successful teams at Royal Belfast Academical Institution, is now working with teams at Belfast Royal Academy and will be hoping for a successful return to the Osborne Park venue. Jason Morgan leads the coaching staff at Royal Belfast Academical Institution and he will be setting his stall out to ensure that it will be the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team that progresses from this game into the draw for the 1/4 Final of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup. Jason is assisted by Mike Bentley who not only looks after the forwards but also oversees the Strength and Conditioning aspects of team preparation. In many ways it has been a frustrating season in terms of results for the Belfast Inst coaches and players. The squad has experienced a 50/50 win loss ratio but included in the wins have been victories against schools such as Belvedere College, Dublin and Stewart’s Melville College, the current Scottish champions.
The Royal Belfast Academical Institution team is captained by Rory Adair who can call upon the leadership skills of Hugo Ellerby as his Vice-Captain. Injuries to key players at critical times have hindered progress in some respects but the return to fitness of key players such as Ronan Boyle will bring a positive vibe to the squad as they prepare for this game. Ulster Schools’ winger, Jude Postlethwaite, a player who has attracted the attention of the Ireland Schools’ Management team, is the leading try and points scorer for the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team this season. Paddy Eames has played with the Ulster Schools’ U18 team and Ryan Stewart has gained experience through his involvement with the Ulster Schools’ U17 squad. Players such as Jack Leathem, Pearse Ferguson, Oscar Lowe and Ben Gallagher have impressed with their performances in recent games. All these talented players will be hoping they can continue their recent run of good form in the course of their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game against Belfast Royal Academy.
The Belfast Royal Academy team has experienced some difficulties in terms of results in the course of the current season. However, they did well enough in the group stages of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ League to ensure a place in the Last Sixteen of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup. Their success in the qualifying stages, alongside victories against schools such as Sullivan Upper earlier in the season, would suggest this Belfast Royal Academy team could be more than capable of causing an upset at this stage of the competition. Coached by Brian McLaughlin, who receives great assistance from David Creighton and David Campbell, the team is captained by No 8, Rob Sturgess. Rob has led a team that has shown great resilience throughout the season and he will be determined that his team will display the same level of resilience when it comes to their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game against Royal Belfast Academical Institution. Other key players include Jack Davis, the top try scorer for the Belfast Royal Academy team this season. Ollie Parkes is their leading points scorer and is a player who needs to be watched closely by any opposition team. Elliot Donaldson has benefitted from his involvement with Ulster Age Grade squads and is another Belfast Royal Academy player with an eye for the try line. Zach Burton, Jack McKee and Ben Brown have all put in positive displays in recent games and if all these players can bring their best to their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game against Royal Belfast Academical Institution a shock result could be on the cards.
This Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game is scheduled to kick off at 10:30am.
Cambridge House Grammar School vs Methodist College, Belfast
Cambridge House Grammar School will entertain the Methodist College, Belfast team and will approach this game with a very positive frame of mind. Having caused an upset or two in the course of their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ League Group games the Cambridge House Grammar School team will not be afraid to attempt to do so again when they meet the Methodist College, Belfast team-the current holders of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup. John Nicholl is the Head Coach for the Cambridge House Grammar School team and he is assisted by Tim Small and Mike Stevenson.
The coaching staff has put together a squad of players, led by their talented centre, Rhys Ervine, that has only lost three games in the course of the current season. Central to the success of the Cambridge House team this season has been their talented half back partnership of Adam Brannigan and Josh Caldwell. Adam is the leading try scorer while Josh is the leading points scorer on the Cambridge House team. Jordan McMullan, Zac Crozier, Stuart Donald and James McNabney are other Cambridge House players who have displayed a happy knack of scoring tries this season. No 8, James McNabney, has been involved with Ulster Age Grade squads as have Ben Goodfellow and Dylan McNeilly. James has also gained representative honours as a member of the Great Britain Equestrian Team while young full back, Jordan McMullan, not only plays rugby for his school but has also played soccer for the Ballymena United team. Andrew Wilson, as Head Boy of the school, also brings his leadership qualities to the team as a key member of the Cambridge House Grammar School pack. This is quite a young Cambridge House team and a team that will look forward with eager anticipation to their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game against the Methodist College, Belfast team.
The Methodist College, Belfast team are the current holders of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup. They won the competition last season going through the entire season undefeated. With a large group of that successful team leaving school there has been a lot of rebuilding going on this season. However, as recent results would seem to suggest, the Methodist College squad would appear to be hitting good form at just the right time. Their recent McIntosh Shield victory against long standing Dublin rivals, Blackrock College, would seem to bear witness to that fact. The Methodist College team is coached by the experienced Nick Wells, Stephen Lindsay and Andrew Willis. This coaching panel has laid the foundations for success with many Methody teams and they will be hoping to carry on that tradition this season in the course of their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup campaign. The Methodist College, Belfast captain is Adam Reed, an outstanding flanker who knows only how to lead from the front. His attention to detail in terms of match preparation is second to none and he has very high expectations not only of himself but of his team mates both on and off the pitch. Key players in the Methody pack include Adam, Matthew Humphries, Harry McCartney, their leading try scorer, and Louis Montgomery. Luke Graham and Peter O’Hagan have been involved with the Ulster U18 Schools’ set up while Callum Davidson, one of the stars of their previous Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup campaign, was involved with the Ulster U19 squad. Peter and Callum form a vital midfield partnership on the Methodist College team and their performances in the course of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game against Cambridge House Grammar School could be central to the outcome.
This Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game is scheduled to kick off at 10:30am.
Down High School vs Ballymena Academy
Down High School will be fully aware of the monumental task they have as they prepare to meet a very young, but extremely talented, Ballymena Academy team. However, the Down High School payers and staff can take confidence from the fact it is only a couple of seasons ago that they defeated a Ballymena Academy team in a friendly game played under lights at Ballynahinch RFC. The Down High School team qualified for the Last Sixteen stage of the Danske Bank Ulster Cup by coming quietly, but efficiently, through their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup group stage campaign as one of the highest placed runners-up. They will be delighted now to have a home draw albeit against one of the teams favoured to win the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup. The Down High School team continues to be coached by Charlie Knox who can call upon the not inconsiderable experience of John Gunston to assist him. James McBriar continues in his critical role of dealing with the Strength and Conditioning aspects of team preparation.
The Down High School team is captained by Josh Hanlon, a hooker, who has led his players to ten victories in the course of the season so far. Jonathan Graham is the leading try scorer for the Down High School team with Luka Walsh the leading points scorer due to his accuracy off the tee. Joe Charles, Craig Dunda, Jakob Cross, Jack Martin, Cameron McCaughey and Jonny Graham are other Down High School players who have crossed the try line on a number of occasions. Joe and Cameron have also been involved with Ulster Age Grade squads. As well as preparing for their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup campaign the Down High School players are planning to tour North America during the summer with games organised in Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle.
The Ballymena Academy team has been touted by many observers of the game in Ulster Schools’ as one of the teams other schools are going to have to beat if they are to have any chance of winning the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup on March 17th. This is a very young, but very talented, Ballymena Academy squad. The team continues to be coached by the “Sir Alf and Harold” of Ulster Schools’ rugby coaches, John Andrews and Gavin Murray, who are assisted by Stephen Johnston. Nicky Andrews looks after the Strength and Conditioning aspects of team preparation while Ethan Lowry plays a vital role as team physiotherapist. Never far away from the action would be team manager and Principal of the school, Stephen Black.
Despite this being a young team they have had a good season in terms of results losing only three of their games. Full back, Matthew Corr, is the team captain and a player who leads by example on and off the pitch. Matthew has played for the Ulster U19 team and many of his younger team mates have gained representative honours with the Ulster Schools’ U18 squad as well as Ireland U18 Age Grade squads. Among these players are Harry Andrews, Andrew Donald, Joe Mawhinney, Paddy Browne, Adam Lamont, James Wright, Ross McKay, Tim Baillie, Dean Millar, Jordan Millar, Tyler McNeill and Josh Drain, a player with Humphreys Rugby genes to call upon. Timmy Douglas and Matthew French have been involved with the Ulster Schools’ U17 Age Grade squad. Adam Lamont is the top try scorer while Ross McKay has been deadly accurate with his kicking duties and is the leading points scorer on the Ballymena Academy team. Tyler McNeill, Paul Gocher, Craig Simpson, who is also Head Boy in the school, Dean Miller and Harry Andrews have all been regular try scorers this season and the Down High School defence will need to play particular attention to these players in the course of this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game. Quite a few of this talented group of players have achieved success in other areas of the PE and School curriculum. James Wright, Harry Andrews, Adam Lamont, Jonny Cochrane and Joe Mawhinney were members of the Irish Schools’ Athletics winning team a couple of years ago while fourteen members of the squad sing in the Ballymena Academy Male Voice Choir which is sometimes conducted by John Andrews. John will be hoping he will be in a position to conduct a successful sing song following this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game at Down High School.
This Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game is scheduled to kick off at 11:00am.
Coleraine Grammar School vs Sullivan Upper School
Coleraine Grammar School host a Sullivan Upper School team that will travel to Coleraine secure in the knowledge they recorded an impressive 35-0 victory against the same opposition just a matter of a few weeks ago. The Coleraine Grammar School team came successfully through as winners of their group stage games in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ League competition. They will be delighted to be playing this game at their Castlerock Road venue but will be fully aware of the magnitude of the task facing them. The Coleraine Grammar School Head Coach is Richard Boyd, who is assisted by Benji Van Der Byl and Dave Stewart as coaches, and Darren Quigg as Strength and Conditioning Coach, has said “the squad has gelled really well this year and fully committed themselves since training commenced back in August. We have a small senior panel this year but we have punched above our weight this year, been really competitive and we were delighted to win our Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Group which was a real confidence boost for the squad. The boys have nothing to lose in the last 16 and should approach the games with no fear and really embrace the pressure of cup rugby.”
The team captain is Luke Bell, a dynamic flanker who has said “The boys have trained hard throughout the year, had a fantastic team building trip to Dublin and are really looking forward to the last 16 of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup this season. The coaches have set high standards, ensured we are well organised and brought the squad closer together. We have fronted up and played some great rugby at times and must concentrate to put it all together in the next round. We must take confidence from our performances in the cup so far and want to enjoy every minute of the last 16 as we have nothing to lose. Hopefully we can get a big crowd to support us and help push us on.” The top try scorers for the Coleraine Grammar School team have been Rory Telfer and Cameron Leighton with Harry Caskey taking the top points scorer position. Nathan Ogborne, a Year 12 prop is a powerful and explosive runner, Shaw Fleck, is a Year 13 dynamic and evasive No 7 who can also play hooker. Harry Mitchell, No 8, is a physical and fast back rower who returned to rugby last year after a series of injuries, Rory Telfer, a Year 12 centre, was Medallion player of the year last year and has been involved with Ulster Schools this season- Rory is a dynamic and powerful player and great finisher when it comes to scoring tries, and Cameron Leighton, also an Irish Schools’ Athletics Triple Jump Champion, are all key players in the Coleraine Grammar School team. All of these key players will need to be at their best when they came up against the Sullivan Upper School team in this intriguing Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game.
It will be a confident Sullivan Upper team that will travel to play Coleraine Grammar School in this Last Sixteen Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game. The Sullivan Upper School team emerged unscathed from their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup League games and that alone has given them great confidence looking ahead to this game against the Coleraine Grammar School team. However, that confidence will flow even more fully due to the fact the Sullivan Upper team comprehensively defeated the Coleraine team in their recent friendly game. The Sullivan Upper School team has a coaching panel of Adam Craig, David Armstrong, Chris Henderson and Dave Cave with Mark Henderson and Paddy McGrattan providing back up when required.
George Saunderson, their dynamic prop forward, who also played in the No 8 position, is the Sullivan Upper School team captain. George has played for the Ulster U19 team this season and has attended an Ireland U19 Camp as well. Harry Sheridan, who has starred in the 2nd Row for both the Sullivan Upper team and the Ulster U19 team, is the leading try scorer. Zac Moraghan, also a talented Gaelic footballer who has been involved with the Ulster Schools’ U18 set-up, leads the points scoring stakes. Adam Whiteside, Matthew Martin, Peter Camlin and Rory Carson, a Northern Ireland Age Grade Athlete, are other Sullivan Upper School players who love to get their names on the scoreboard. Players such as Thomas Leitch and Matthew Latimer have also been involved in Ulster Schools’ Age Grade representative squads and the Coleraine Grammar School defence will need to be at their best in monitoring all these Sullivan Upper School players when the teams meet in this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game.
This Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup game is scheduled to kick off at 11:00am.