SCHOOLS’ CUP RUGBY: Foyle College through to second round after away win at Belfast High

Belfast's T Arnold  in action with Foyles Cameron McCracken and Robert Smyth
Belfast's T Arnold in action with Foyles Cameron McCracken and Robert Smyth

Belfast High 7 Foyle College 21

Foyle College made the trip to the Shore Road, Newtownabbbey for their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup first round game against Belfast High and the long journey home was a happy one after a 21-7 success.

Belfast High controlled the early possession and territory, but they could not find a way through the visiting defence.

It was against the run of play that the Maiden City boys took the lead. A charge down saw outhalf Conal Gill regather the ball and he outstripped the High School defence to score The home team responded in a positive manner and were rewarded for some good enterprise when Ulster Schools’ player, Tyler Arnold, touched down for a try. Simon White added the conversion to leve the scores at 7-7.

The deteriorating weather conditions started to impact on the game with both teams experiencing difficulties in controlling possession. Foyle defended well and were rewarded with two penalties at vital times. Orr converted both to give his side a 13-7 interval lead.

Again Belfast High were the dominant side at the start of the second half, but the Foyle defence was well drilled.

With conditions worsening, the Foyle halfbacks used their kicking skills with any possession to pin the Belfast High side back.

They forced the home team into conceding a penalty and Orr stepped up to make it 16-7 lead.

Foyle then continued to dominate possession and territory in the final quarter of the game and were rewarded with a try when scrum half, Killene Thornton, put a great kick into the corner for winger, Matthew Alford, to chase. He was tackled short of the line, but did superbly well to pop it up to the supporting Thornton and he scored in the corner for an unconverted try to complete the scoring.

Foyle’s outstanding player was number eight eight Joel Smyth, who made some big carries and tackled strongly.

Foyle have a home draw in the second round when they will meet Antrim Grammar on Saturday, January 23.

Belfast High go into the Trophy quarter-finals and entertain Lurgan College.