Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Barney McGonigle: RBAI out to get the job done

Due to a series of academic tests taking place in a large number of schools tomorrow, the scheduled fixture list could be much changed by kick-off time.

One early casualty is the Methodist College-Castleknock College date at Pirrie Park.

But Methody’s big rivals, Royal Belfast Academical Institution travel to Co Tyrone to face Royal School Dungannon.

The ’Gannnon boys will have to show the same graft that saw them beat Rainey ESI, however ith players like Michael McAuley, Kevin McLean, Matthew McGuigan and Lewis Dugan, RBAI are favourites.

But Dungannon are no push-over, particularly at Ranfurly Road where they will hope to see Peter Nelson, Gary Wong and Andrew Creaney shine.

Campbell College’s visitors will be Grosvenor GS who, after a great start to the season, have lost their way.

They do have good forwards, however, with David Montgomery, Chris Quinn and Matthew Little capable of turning a game.

Campbell, who lost to Oakham School in the last minute last week, boast quality, too, not least in Chris Best, Rory Scholes and Shane Moffett.

Foyle and Londonderry College, who pushed RBAI all the way before going down 21-15, host another of the big city schools, Belfast Royal Academy.

BRA lost to still-unbeaten Bangor GS after conceding in the last play of the match in which the trusty right boot of Academy’s David Cartmill for once did not function.

Coleraine AI, who lost 14-0 at Ballymena Academy, felt that result was harsh. For Michael Shields and Alex Gourley did well for them.

Tomorrow they face Royal rivals, Portora. The Bannsiders’ have the better pack and if Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ U18 out-half, Ritchie McMaster, shakes off his minor injury that could be telling.

Rainey face Ballymena Academy and they will rely on Thomas Booth, Andrew Crooks, Stephen Dawson and David McMurray to give them selves a chance of a second successive win against Braidside opponents.

In mid-week they beat Cambridge House 33-3, with Jamie Burrows scoring two tries, supplemented by one apiece from Thomas Booth, Fintan Quinn, and Aaron Lupari, plus four Martin Connolly conversions. In reply, Kristoffer Steele kicked a penalty.

Ballymena were guilty of too many handling errors against CAI. Expect to see a big improvement.

Regent House also claimed Cambridge House’s scalp recently, with Michael Ramsey their match winner. Now they will hope to build on that when they host neighbouring Sullivan Upper.

If they are to do so they will have to erradicate the errors they made against Cambridge House for with Sullivan captain Connor McCollum keen to lead his side back to the victory trail after losing to RS Armagh, they are fired up.

Omagh Academy - easy winners at Lurgan College last Saturday found a powerful Sligo GS a tougher proposition in midweek.

And the return of Omagh’s Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ U19 prop, David Thompson, was over before half-time, alas.

He hopes to try again tomorrow morning when Omagh host Limavady GS.

Limavady, who beat Larne GS last weekend, were well served by Robin Craig, Nathan Barr and Peter Wilson.

An understrength Antrim GS had gone down heavily to Belfast HS at the weekend, and the losers’ coach, Brian Baguely, was dealt a further blow prior to the mid-week date with Carrick when school commitments robbed him of several players.

That said, Ryan Bailey and Jack Dempster worked hard for their beleagured coach.

Carrick were relieved to bounce back at Antrim’s expense after losing to Banbridge Academy and tomorrow they host Belfast HS for whom Robbie Fryars, Ryan McGonigle and Ian Weir are mainstays.

James Gibson, Tom Morrow and Michael Ross have developed into vital players for the Banbridge. Good game here.

Ballyclare HS — for whom winger, Jonny Douglas, scored a hat-trick of tries against Grosvenor — entertain undefeated Bangor GS.

Friends’ deployed a number of their younger players against Wellington and still proved too strong, witness a 64-0 win in which brothers Andrew and James Vance scored a brace of tries apiece.

Paddy Ferguson, Rory McIvor, Jonathan MacCorkell, Ben Semple, debutant Aaron Bassett and Paul Anderson each got one and Paul Anderson kicked seven conversions.

But Friends will be at full strength against Lurgan College who lost to Omagh Academy last week. That’s an indirect compliment to Geoff Caldwell’s Lurgan lads.

Larne GS — still minus Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ U19s’ centre Stuart McIlwaine — take on Dalriada School at Cairncastle Road.

After several weeks of inactivity, Dalriada are keen to return to action following a good first half of the term.

Wellington College face Down HS.

Adam Webb is a key player for Wellington, but with boys like Aaron Cairns, John Donnan and Stuart Orr in their ranks it is hard to look past a Down win.

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