THE lead changed on numerous occasions before a late rally led to Dungannon Royal narrowly winning the Danske Bank Schools' Trophy final at Banbridge Academy yesterday.
Dunganon struck after four minutes when Stuart Moore cut through to go under the posts for Jack Milligan to convert.
"This brought us to our senses and we kept possession for a time and levelled when Sam Bridge battered his way over for Luke Smyth to goal," commented Wellington coach Peter Chambers. "We then took the lead with a Smyth penalty but towards the interval Dungannon made a couple of penetrating line breaks, but our defence managed to hold them out."
Milligan added an early second half penalty to level the score again but Wellington struck back with a fine try. Following a few off-loads, centre Josh Garnham crossed but the conversion attempt was just wide.
The Co Tyrone team, with second row Michael Jones and centres Matt Montgomery and Moore putting in a lot of work, dominated the final minutes. Wellington defended to the best of their ability but pressure on their line told when scrum-half Oscar Wong broke from the back of a ruck to crash over for Milligan to convert. Dungannon last won a trophy when they shared the Bowl with Sullivan Upper seven seasons ago but this is the first year that former Carrick Grammar coach Gareth McClintock has been in charge and to finish with some silverware is creditable.
"We have put in a lot of work over the season and the team has progressed well. To reach a final is great experience for the younger players in our squad. We will have a number of our forwards back again and they will hopefully be the base from which we can go from strength to strength," he said.
Wellington came close to winning a trophy for the first time, although in their former life as Annadale Grammar they did claim the Schools' Cup in 1958.
Chambers knew it was going to be difficult. "We gained a boost with a convincing 43-10 semi-final victory over Cambridge House, but we knew Dungannon would be more formidable.
"I was pleased with our effort with No 8 David Montgomery and hooker James Hayes playing well. I can't complain as Dungannon probably had the edge on the day," he concluded.