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11 October 2021

A round-up of the latest schools’ rugby action, by Ulster Schools’ PRO, Barney McGonigle…

Quite a few of the new Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ U16 Cup Round 1 games were played, across all three sections, on Wednesday 6th October.

Belfast Royal Academy played Ballymena Academy in the first of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ U16 Cup Section 1 games.

The Ballymena Academy team won the game by 45-7 with good performances coming from players such as Stevie Bristow, Mark Glenn, Reece Williamson, Michael McLean, Callum Ervine, Tom Coulter and Sean McKay, all of whom scored tries. Robbie Coleman was successful with quite a few of his conversion kicks.

The Belfast Royal Academy team got some reward for the commitment displayed throughout the game when, in the second half, they scored a try through Josh Harold which was converted by Rex Henderson.

In the first of the Section 2 games Down High School hosted Banbridge Academy in an extremely close encounter, played in horrendous conditions, the Banbridge Academy team won by 13-12.

Ryan Connolly and Matthew Foster each scored a try for the Down High School team with Jonny Russel adding one conversion.

The Banbridge Academy team had Luke Chapman to thank for the break which led to Connor Magee powering over from short range to touch down for the try. Dan Hutchinson added the extras as well as being successful with two penalties.

Both teams are to be congratulated for playing out such an entertaining game in the very difficult overhead and underfoot conditions.

The first of the Section 3 Group Stage games took place when Limavady Grammar School hosted their near neighbours from Foyle and Londonderry College.

This was another closely contested game from which the Limavady Grammar School team emerged as 12-10 winners.

Odhran Clenaghan and Jack Butcher scored the Limavady Grammar School tries and James Laird was successful with one of his conversion kicks.

The Foyle College team scored a try when Andrew Donnell finished off a fine attacking move. Robert Rankin converted the try as well as kicking one penalty.

Another Section 1 game took place when Methodist College, Belfast hosted Wallace High School at Pirrie Park.

The Methodist College team won the game by 21-7 with Harry McNeice scoring two tries and Lewis Doherty running in for one try. Jack Tindal was successful with all three of his conversion kicks.

The Wallace High School team got some reward for their endeavours when they scored a converted try.

Another closely contested Section 2 game took place when the Royal School, Armagh team played Omagh Academy at the College Hill venue.

The Royal School, Armagh team won the game by 12-8 when they came behind from a 3-0 deficit following an early Omagh Academy penalty from Isaac Rainey. The Royal School, Armagh team then scored an unconverted try when Jamie Rafferty took full advantage of a well-organised driven maul, following an attacking lineout, and touched down for the score. This put the RS Armagh team into a 5-3 lead at the interval.

Early in the second half the Royal School, Armagh team extended their lead to 12-3 when Kai Sterrett scored a try which was converted by Josh Lowey. The Omagh Academy team responded strongly to this setback and launched a series of attacks through players such Brendan Quinn, Callum Doherty, Piotr Banasiak and Matthew Moore. However, the RS Armagh defence was resolute until the final play of the game when Isaac Rainey capped a fine performance with an unconverted try for the Omagh Academy team. This left the final scoreboard reading Royal School, Armagh U16 team 12 Omagh Academy U16 team 8.

One school 1stxv friendly took place when Friends’ School, Lisburn hosted Grosvenor Grammar School in a game the Friends’ School team won by 17-5.

In the first half of the game Joel Barron and Ben McMurray each scored an unconverted try for the Friends’ School team to see them take a 10-0 lead into the half time break.

This became 17-0, early in the second half, when Peter Brown scored a try which was converted by Alex Topping. The Grosvenor Grammar School team responded with a well worked unconverted try from the impressive Aaron Boyd to leave the final score reading Friends’ School, Lisburn 17 Grosvenor Grammar School 5.

On Friday 8th October Belfast Royal Academy played Wallace High School under the floodlights at Queen’s University RFC. The game was a very closely contested affair which the Wallace High School team won by 12-10.

Cameron Doak and Adam McLean scored the Wallace tries with Finn Rankin adding one conversion.

The Belfast Royal Academy team had David Wilson and Josh Manson to thank for their tries.

On the same evening Dromore High School played a Royal Belfast Academical Institution “Select” xv under lights at Barban Hill. Played in front of a good crowd this exciting game finished with the Dromore High school winning by 48-14.

Nathan Hook and Taylor Beacom-Hurle each scored a brace of tries for the Dromore High School team with the impressive Ethan Mount running in for four tries. Nathan Hook added three conversions with Ethan converting one try.

Will Kernohan and Jack Gardiner scored one try each for the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team with Adam Hawthorne and Matthew Sweetlove each adding one conversion.

On Saturday 9th October the remaining games in the Round 1 fixtures of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ U16 Cup took place.

Dromore High School played Dalriada School in an exciting Section 2 fixture that was won by the Dalriada School team by 29-21.

The Dromore High School team scored three tries through Matthew Heasley and Jonny Scott, who touched down twice. Jonny capped a fine personal performance by adding the extras to all three tries.

The young Dalriada School team scored their tries through Luke Stewart, Zach McIlhagga, Oliver Hughes, and Finn McCotter. Gabriel Stubbs-Carton added three conversions as well as one penalty.

The Dalriada School team had impressive performances from other players such as Angus Graham, Thomas Condell, Joe Lynas, Jack McAuley and Ryan McArthur in the course of the game.

Grosvenor Grammar School hosted Belfast High School in a Section 3 Group Stage game the Grosvenor Grammar School team won by 33-7.

The Grosvenor Grammar School team scored 5 tries in the course of the game, four of which were converted.

The Belfast High School points came from a Joel Ashby try which was converted by Lucas Thompson.

In another Section 3 Group Stage game Lurgan College played Portadown College and it was the Portadown College team that emerged from this game as convincing 56-0 winners.

Tom Neill, with two, Jamie Jackson, James McQuitty, Alex Vennard, John Speers, with two, and Tyler Jackson were the try scorers for the Portadown College team. John Speers was also successful with all eight conversion kicks.

Rainey Endowed School hosted Enniskillen Royal Grammar School in a Section 2 game and won the game by 19-15.

Billy Allen scored two tries for the Rainey ES team with Peter Craig adding a third. James Cappell was successful with two out of three of his conversion kicks.

The Enniskillen Royal Grammar School points came from try scorers Jake Woods and Andrew Kerr with Tadhg Hambley adding one conversion as well as one penalty.

Royal Belfast Academical Institution played Ballyclare High School in their previously postponed 1st Round Section 1 game. The game, which the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team won by 32-0, was played in front of an enthusiastic band of supporters.

Ethan Dickson, Euan Patterson, Jamie Beattie, Alex Spence, Toby Stewart and Angus Carson scored the Royal Belfast Academical Institution U16 team tries to which Angus added one conversion.

Sullivan Upper School entertained Campbell College, Belfast in the last of the Section 1 First Round Group stage games and, at the end of an enthralling encounter, it was the Sullivan Upper School U16 team that emerged as 24-21 winners.

It took a last-minute penalty from Harry McKeown to secure the 24-21 win for the Sullivan Upper School team at the end of the game. Jake Thompson, scored one try for the Sullivan Upper team and Harry McKeown touched down twice. As well as his last- minute penalty Harry added the conversions to each of the Sullivan Upper School tries.

The Campbell College, Belfast scorers were Toby Thompson, who touched down for two tries, and Alex Meyer, who scored one. Rian Davies added one successful penalty conversion and Harry Dyer converted another penalty kick for the Campbell College, Belfast team.

As well as the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ U16 Cup games some 1stxv friendly games were played on Saturday 9th October.

Banbridge Academy played Lurgan College in a game, despite being 18-0 behind at the interval, the Lurgan College won by 27-18.

The Banbridge Academy team dominated proceedings in the first half with Ryan Matthews kicking an early penalty to see his team into a 3-0 lead. Shortly after this Ryan converted a try from Jacques McCauley to put the Banbridge Academy team into a 10-0 lead. Daniel Hutchinson extended that lead to 15-0 when he ran in for an unconverted try close to the break. Withy the final play of the first half another Ryan Matthews penalty ensured his team took an 18-0 lead into the interval.

The Lurgan College team displayed a great deal of bouncebackability throughout the second half. Despite the best intentions of the impressive Banbridge Academy No 8, Marcus McNeill, the Lurgan College team scored five tries through Josh Anderson, Angus Cunningham, Matthew Conn, Ross McIlwaine and Simon Cartwright. One Chris Williamson conversion secured the 27-18 win for the Lurgan College team.

Cambridge House Grammar School travelled to play a Methodist College “Select 2nd/3rd” xv and won the game by 12-5 with the last play of the game.

James Patterson scored an unconverted try for the Methody team to see them into a 5-0 lead.

An unconverted try from John Dobbin brought things back to 5-5 but, close to the end of the game, a Ben Goodfellow try, with the conversion coming from Dan Chestnutt, secured the 12-5 win for the Cambridge House Grammar School team.

Campbell College, Belfast got back to winning ways when they played a “Select” xv against a committed Regent House School team. Things were very even over the course of the first half of the game but the Campbell College found their stride in the second half and finished the game as comfortable winners.

The Campbell College team went on to record an impressive victory with players such as Jake Daley, Joseph Jeffrey, Harri Graham, Jay Davies, Daniel Harkin, Cameron Hillis and Matt Rae vey much to the fore throughout the game.

Coleraine Grammar School played Royal Belfast Academical Institution in a game the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team won by 24-10.

The Coleraine Grammar School team, for whom David Milford performed impressively, scored their points through an Alex Mc Donald try and a conversion, as well as a penalty, from Rory Telfer.

The Royal Belfast Academical Institution team scored four tries through Myles Lowe, Oscar Dunbar, Jamie Beattie and Oliver Clark. Josh Eagleson was successful with two of his conversion kicks.

Down High School and Foyle and Londonderry College played out an exciting game from which the Down High School team emerged as 29-13 winners.

The attack minded Down High School team scored five tries through Cameron McCaughey, Rory Wilson, Joe Dooley, Ethan Fitzsimmons and Brian Mitchell. Rhodri Phillips was successful with two conversion kicks.

The Foyle and Londonderry College team impressed with their determination throughout the game. James Gamble and James McKillop each scored one try to which Adam Killeen added one conversion.

Limavady Grammar School and Strabane Academy played a Senior Development game from which the Strabane Academy team emerged as 12-7 winners.

The Limavady Grammar School try came from Odhran Clenaghan to which James Laird added the conversion.

Strabane Academy responded with tries from Felix Foley and Mark Millar with Jacob Black adding one conversion. The Strabane Academy team had impressive performances from players such as Josh Hampton and Max Mealiff during the game.

Methodist College, Belfast played Ballymena Academy in the annual Allen Young Memorial Cup. Both teams were determined to play positive rugby but it was the Methody team that dominated possession against the young Ballymena Academy team. With possession came points and Methody won the game by 56-7.

The Methodist College, Belfast team scored eight tries in the course of the game. Josh Stevens scored a hattrick of tries with Chris Bradley running in for two while         Peter O’ Hagan, Joe Dickson and the excellent Patrick Fullarton-Healy each scored one try. Ben McFarlane was successful with all six of his conversion kicks as was Ryan Lindsay with both of his.

The young Ballymena Academy team played in a determined manner throughout the game and got some reward for their hard work when Tom Master finished off a flowing attack with a try in the corner. Alex McBurney successfully added the conversion to the try.

A Co Tyrone Schools’ Derby game took place when Omagh Academy hosted Royal School, Dungannon. The RS Dungannon team has been undefeated so far this season and kept this good run of form going with an impressive 26-0 win.

The Royal School, Dungannon team had built up a 14-0 lead by the break with tries from Cameron Shaw and Alex Kennedy. Two James Girvan conversions secured the 14-0 first half lead.

The Omagh Academy team, for whom players such as Joe Harper on his debut, Robbie Mitchell and James Matthews impressed, displayed great commitment throughout the game. However, there was little they could do to prevent Ryan Evans and Jacob Clarke touching down for two more RS Dungannon tries. One further James Girvan conversion secured the 26-0 win for the Royal School, Dungannon team.

As well as playing the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ U16 Cup group stage game Rainey Endowed School played Enniskillen Royal Grammar School at 1stxv level.

The Rainey Endowed School team won this very closely contested game by 13-12. Adam Montgomery and Ben Brown each scored one try with Louis Regan weighing in with one penalty.

The Enniskillen Royal Grammar School points came through tries from Christi Goubys and Myles Graham with Darragh Love adding one conversion.

Sullivan Upper School hosted Bangor Grammar School in the always competitive North Down Schools’ Derby game. The Sullivan Upper School team held the upper hand for long periods of the game which they won by 38-10.

Sullivan Upper dominated the early exchanges and built up a 12-0 lead through tries from Callum Howe and Max Shannon, one of which was converted by Patrick McFerran. The Bangor Grammar School then responded with two unconverted tries from Calum Campbell and Rory Christie to see the Sullivan team take a 12-10 lead into the break.

The second half saw the Sullivan Upper School team stamp their authority on the game. Callum Russell used his power and strength to claim a try which was followed by tries from Rory Carson, Rory Fulton and Connor McMaster. Three further Patrick McFerran conversions secured the 38-10 victory for the Sullivan Upper School team.