Ulster Rugby takes a look back at some of the key events in the 2020 domestic rugby calendar.
Millar McCall Wylie Junior Cup final: Enniskillen 18 City of Armagh 2s 17
The first major club rugby event of 2020 was the Millar McCall Wylie Junior Cup final hosted at Kingspan Stadium on 7th January. Enniskillen saw off City of Armagh 2s by 18-17 to clinch the cup for the first time in the Co. Fermanagh club’s history.
Match report ⬇️https://t.co/bBxlJiiLR2
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) January 7, 2020
Deep River Rock Towns Cup semi-final draw
On 24th February, captains and representatives from Ballyclare RFC, Ballynahinch 2s, Banbridge 2s, Carrickfergus and Dromore attended the Deep River Rock Towns Cup semi-final draw.
Ballyclare went on to defeat Dromore and Ballynahinch 2s and Ballynahinch beat Banbridge 2s in the semi-final fixtures on 7th March. Unfortunately, the finalists were unable to compete in the final due to COVID-19 truncating the domestic season.
The draw for the semi-finals of the 2020 @Deep_RiverRock Towns Cup took place at Kingspan Stadium on Monday afternoon.
Full story ⤵️https://t.co/FTuLegHNkO
— 𝗥𝘂𝗴𝗯𝘆 𝗶𝗻 𝗨𝗹𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗿 (@UlsterBranch) February 24, 2020
Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup semi-final: Royal School Armagh 29 Royal Belfast Academical Institution 22
On 3rd March, Royal School Armagh defeated Royal Belfast Academical Institution by 7 points in a pulsating game, which ended with a stunning try by Armagh full-back, Ethan McAtarsney.
MATCH REPORT | @rsarmagh have booked their place in the 2020 @DanskeBank_UK Ulster Schools’ Cup Final, thanks to an action-packed 29-22 victory over RBAI at Kingspan Stadium this afternoon. ⤵️https://t.co/NZfGGmDrE5
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) March 3, 2020
Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup semi-final: Wallace High School 22 Methodist College Belfast 17
Wallace High School booked their place in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup final, after claiming victory over Methodist College Belfast by 22-17 in a thrilling encounter at Kingspan Stadium on 4th March.
MATCH REPORT | @WallaceHigh will face @rsarmagh in the @DanskeBank_UK Ulster Schools’ Cup final on 17th March, after defeating @MethodyBelfast 22-17 in a thrilling encounter at Kingspan Stadium this afternoon. ⬇️https://t.co/AfSG7tdtG0
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) March 4, 2020
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Royal School Armagh and Wallace High School were unable to play the final, and the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup was shared between the two schools.
Bank of Ireland Senior Cup final: City of Armagh RFC 38 Ballynahinch 34
In a high-scoring encounter at Kingspan Stadium on 6th March, City of Armagh claimed the Bank of Ireland Senior Cup title for the third year running, after a hugely entertaining game against Ballynahinch.
Full report ⤵️https://t.co/g0rSHzvMyX
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) March 6, 2020
Celebration of women and girls’ rugby
Several hundred players from rugby clubs across the province took part in a celebration of the women and girls’ game at City of Derry RFC on International Women’s Day – 8th March
The hugely successful Festival of Women and Girls’ Rugby was hosted by the North West Sporting Pathways programme, funded by the North West Regional Development Group, in conjunction with and supported by The Executive Office and the Irish Government. The progamme is aimed at strengthening the athletic pathways from grassroots participation to talent across the region.
GALLERY | Several hundred players from rugby clubs across the province took part in a celebration of the women and girls’ game @CityOfDerryRFC this afternoon on #InternationalWomensDay.#IWD2020 #growingURgame
Full gallery ⤵️https://t.co/0pE0k6jblm
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) March 8, 2020
Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield final: Campbell College 20 Royal Belfast Academical Institution 15
On Wednesday 10th March, Campbell College collected the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield after defeating RBAI in a superb game of rugby. A highlight of the game was winger Jay Davis’s solo try in the 28th minute.
MATCH REPORT | @CampbellCollege have won the 2020 Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Shield, after defeating Royal Belfast Academical Institution by 20-15 in a fantastic game this afternoon. ⬇️https://t.co/SdeqFSNn0g
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) March 10, 2020
Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Girls’ X7s final: Enniskillen Royal Grammar School 12 Erne Integrated College 10
It was an all-Enniskillen affair for the final of the schoolgirls’ competition on 11th March, which took on the format of X7s rugby, a faster-paced game played seven-a-side over four periods of seven minutes each on a half-size pitch. Enniskillen Royal Grammar School emerged victorious, defeating Erne Integrated College by 12-10, and securing their second consecutive title.
MATCH REPORT | Enniskillen Royal Grammar School have retained the @DanskeBank_UK Ulster Schools’ Girls’ X7s Senior Cup, after defeating Erne Integrated College by 12-10 in a thrilling encounter at Kingspan Stadium on Wednesday afternoon. ⬇️https://t.co/w4uwSF5b6D
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) March 11, 2020
Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ U16 High Schools’ Trophy final: Craigavon Senior High School 46 Ballyclare Secondary School 12
It was a repeat of the 2019 U16 High Schools’ Trophy final, which saw Craigavon Senior High School facing Ballyclare Secondary School on 11th March. The Co. Armagh school proved to be too much for Ballyclare, with Craigavon clinching the title after a 46-12 victory.
MATCH REPORT | @CraigavonHigh have collected the 2020 @DanskeBank_UK Ulster Schools’ U16 High Schools’ Trophy for the second consecutive year, with a 46-12 win over Ballyclare Secondary School at Kingpsan Stadium this afternoon.https://t.co/r85UTQDD7e
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) March 11, 2020
Rugby clubs supporting the community
Although rugby activity had to pause due to the impact of COVID-19, clubs across the province were quick to take action to help support their local communities. From prescription runs to delivering food parcels; from collecting donations to calling vulnerable members, several clubs provided assistance to residents in their area.
To name a few clubs, Lurgan, Coleraine, Dungannon, Letterkenny, City of Derry, Lisburn, Malone, Randalstown, Portadown, Banbridge and Ballynahinch all provided support during this time.
Ulster Rugby would like to sincerely thank all of the volunteers who gave – and continue to give – their time and effort to help their local communities.
Rugby clubs across Ulster are offering to help those in need in their local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thank you to all the volunteers giving their time and effort to #StandUpTogether
Full story ⤵️https://t.co/MMYymWs4g4
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) March 20, 2020
SONI Real Rugby Heroes bursary and Volunteer Awards
In July, SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) and Ulster Rugby announced the allocation of the Real Rugby Heroes of COVID-19 bursary fund. A total fund of £8,000 was made available by SONI to help support community rugby with the anticipated expenses of a post COVID-19 return to activity.
To view all of the winning clubs, click here.
Well done and thank you to all the rugby clubs across the province who have supported their local communities during the ongoing pandemic! 👏
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) July 23, 2020
In August, SONI and Ulster Rugby’s annual awards programme, Real Rugby Heroes, recognised volunteers who make an invaluable contribution across community rugby.
🏆 SONI Ulster Rugby’s annual awards programme, Real Rugby Heroes, recognises volunteers who make an invaluable contribution across community rugby, has announced this year’s three winners! 👏👏
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) August 19, 2020
Ulster Rugby Domestic Rugby Awards
From 22nd to 26th June, Ulster Rugby recognised and celebrated the best of the domestic game in a virtual awards ceremony.
🏆 Ulster Rugby Domestic Rugby Awards 🏆
The Ken Goodall Club Player of the Year award goes to Shea O’Brien @CityOfArmaghRFC!
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) June 26, 2020
Club rugby return
In the first weekend of September, the domestic game took its first tentative steps back to action with competitive action across the province, and Ulster Rugby CEO, Jonny Petrie delivered a message to clubs.
Rugby activity has unfortunately since halted due to the pandemic.
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) September 4, 2020