It is down to the last four in the Danske Bank Schools’ Cup with holders Campbell College still bidding to make back to back finals.
Belfast’s big two were kept apart in the semi-final draw for this year’s Danske Bank Schools’ Cup.
In a repeat of last year’s final, holders Campbell College will meet Royal School Armagh at Kingspan Stadium on Tuesday, March 5 (2:30pm).
Cup favourites Methodist College will meet Wallace High the following day, Wednesday, March 6 (also 2:30pm).
schools’ cup quarter review
RAINEY ES 12
WALLACE HS 36
Wallace dominated proceedings and controlled the game for long periods in the first half.
Having built up a substantial 29-0 lead by the break the Lisburn boys looks as if they would run away with the tie.
However, the second half was much more evenly contested.
Rainey’s points all came in the second half came through tries from Bryn Davies and Tim Campbell to which Harry Evans added one conversion.
Wallace scored tries from Kyle Patton, Ben Carson, Joel Dundas, Harry McMeekin and Jack Bailie. Nathan Doak, who put in an impressive performance during proceedings with his game management skills, added four conversions as well as a penalty.
In the hugely anticipated city derby, it was Methodist College who took the bragging rights from their rivals Royal Belfast Academical Institution.
In spite of losing their scrum half, Mark Manso, early in the game to injury, RBAI took a 7-0 lead shortly afterwards when Bradley McNamara touched down for a try which was converted by Robin McIlveen.
This setback spurred Methody into action and they reduced the arrears to 7-5 almost immediately when their captain, the impressive Kevin McNaboe, touched down for an unconverted try.
Then Ethan McIlroy stepped up to confidently convert a penalty opportunity to put MCB into an 8-7 lead.
That was increased to 15-7 when Daniel Humphries scored a try which was converted by McIlroy.
Just before the break Inst team looked almost certain to score when Simon Jackson made inroads on the Methody defence.
However, a try saving tackle from Callum Davidson ensured that no further points were conceded and the teams turned around with MCB 15-7 ahead.
In the second half and Tom O’ Doherty touched down for a Methodist College try, once again converted by McIlroy, to increase the lead to 22-7.
Inst arrears were reduced when their captain, Angus Adair cut through a hesitant home defence from the centre position, to score a try.
McIlveen’s conversion made it 22-14. With Angus Adair, Robin McIlveen and Jude Postlewaite leading the way Methody had to work hard to ensure no more points were conceded.
They did so effectively and Thomas Armstrong touched down for a fine individual try, which was converted by McIlroyto complete the scoring.
Ballymena Acad 10
RS Armagh 14
At Ballymena a large crowd enjoyed an exciting Cup tie with the visitors and last year’s beaten finalists RS Armagh winning 14-10.
Armagh started strongly and took a 7-0 lead seven minutes into the game, when the impressive Charlie Worth touched down for a try to which he added the conversion.
From the restart Ballymena took play into the Armagh ‘22’. They forced the defence into conceding a penalty and Ross McKay stepped up to dispatch his kick successfully over the bar and reduce the deficit to 7-3.
Midway through the half Armagh thought they had scored another try only for superb Academy defence to hold the ball up in the in goal area.
Having survived that onslaught on their line the Ballymena broke out of defence when No 8, Adam Lamont, broke from the base of a scrum and left a trail of Armagh defenders trailing in his wake.
He was eventually tackled in the Armagh ‘22’ area but his fellow forwards produced a series of quick balls from a number of phases.
From one such phase, the Ballymena scrum half, James Wright, sniped over the whitewash for a try. McKay added the extras to see Ballymena into a 10-7 lead.
Ballymena might have extended their lead on a number of occasions prior to the break but the Armagh defence held out and the teams turned around at the interval with the home team ahead 10-7.
It was Armagh who started the second half strongly and they regained the lead when Jonny Agnew crashed over the Academy line for a try. Worth added the conversion to see his team into a 14-10 lead.
From that stage on it was Ballymena that launched wave after wave of attacks but the Armagh defence was extremely well organised.
James Wright, Matthew Corr, Ross McKay, Frankie Andrews, Patrick Hargy and Harry Andrews all asked questions of the Armagh team.
However, Jonny Agnew, Aaron Woods, Peter Taylor, Romain Morrow, Charlie Worth and Nicholas Jennings more than answered the questions with a great defensive performance.
In the final minute of the game, with Ballymena Academy still on the attack, Armagh secured turnover ball which was immediately dispatched out of play to end the game.
Campbell Coll 38
Enniskillen RGS 22
Cup holders Campbell scored six tries against the Fermanagh visitors to Fox’s Field.
Dara Gaskin touched down twice with Tobi Olaniyan, Jack Boal, John Gildea and Olli Ralston each got one for Campbell.
Conor Rankin was successful with four of his conversion kicks.
Enniskillen played a full part in making this Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup tie a most interesting and enjoyable game to watch.
In spite of being 38-8 down at one point Enniskillen never gave up and got some reward for their considerable endeavours in the last quarter of the game.
Enniskillen points came from a hat-trick of tries from their impressive No 8, Callum Smyton, as well as a penalty and two conversions from Eddie Keys.
In the semi-final draw, Sullivan Upper will entertain RS Dungannon while Dalriada School will go to Bangor Grammar.
These games will take place at the home venue on Saturday, March 9.
Subsidiary Shield review
Bangor GS 42
Ballyclare HS 24
It was more comfortable than expected for Bangor as they progressed to the Shield semi-finals at the expense of Ballyclare High.
Aaron Sexton, Adam Pritchard, Angus Christie, Cameron Stewart, Ben McCrossan and Paddy Dobie scored the Bangor tries to which Rhys Larmour added six successful conversions.
Ballyclare’s points came through tries from Robert Reid, Jack Gamble and Callum McConnell. Mark Jackson added all three conversion kicks as well as a penalty.
SULLIVAN UPPER 28
CAMBRIDGE HSE 7
Jack McFerran scored two tries for Sullivan with George Saunderson and Will Cave each touching down for one try.
Conor McKee was successful with all four of his conversion kicks.
Cambridge House points came through a try from Rhys Ervine which was converted by Rory McCandless.
DOWN HIGH 18
RS DUNGANNON 19
In a cracking tie at the Down venue, Dungannon came from behind to secured a one-point win and progress to the semi-finals.
Down took a 10-0 lead midway through the first half through a try from Jonathan Graham, which was converted by Greg Hutley, who also goaled a penalty.
Dungannon responded with a try from Joshua Clarke, which was converted by Jack Girvan, to make it 10-7.
In spite of the beat intentions of the Dungannon team in the opening stages of the second half they found themselves further behind shortly after the restart.
Hutley converted a penalty kick and Conor Moag ran in for an unconverted try to give them an 18-7 lead at the break.
Dungannon responded with an unconverted try from Adam Junk to reduce their arrears to 18-12.
With the final play of the game Jack Girvan capped a fine personal performance when he touched down for a try under the posts. Girvan held his nerve to convert and secure the one point win.
Lewis West scored a try for the Belfast Royal Academy team with Harry Warke adding the conversion.
Dalriada points came through three tries from Luke Pollock, one try from Phil Irvine and one conversion from Paddy Carson.
Schools bowl review
PORTADOWN COLL 20
FRIENDS’ SCHOOL 22
Friends’ edged out Portadown in a keenly contested Schools’ Bowl semi-final at the Portadown venue.
Daniel Moorcroft, Ethan Williamson and Scott McDowell scored one try each for Portadown with Adam Speers adding one conversion as well as a penalty.
Friends’ points came through tries from Fergus McEwan, who touched down twice, and Reece Malone. Reece added one penalty kick as well as two conversions, the second of which was from the touchline with the last kick off the game.
BELFAST HIGH 28
COLERAINE GS 33
In a highscoring semi-final tie Coleraine secured their semi-final place 33-28 against Belfast high.
Belfast High scored four tries through Thabiso Madlala, Cameron McKimm, Jack Ferguson and Aaron Douglas, Aaron was successful with all four of his conversion kicks.
Coleraine points came through tries from Harry Mitchell, who touched down twice, and one try each from David Brown, Conor Potts and Shaw Fleck. Tyler McNeill was successful with four of his conversion kicks.
The final of the Bowl will be played on Wednesday, March 6, at Rainey Old Boys’ RFC (2:30pm).