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Cambridge House are aiming to light up the tournament

By Ronnie Ingram

Published 08/01/2016

First in action: John Nicholl’s Cambridge House play tonight
First in action: John Nicholl’s Cambridge House play tonight
Track record: Dungannon coach Gareth McClintock

It's 10 weeks until the Danske Bank Schools' Cup final on St Patrick's Day but the first round starts this evening (7.30pm) when Cambridge House entertain Limavady Grammar under the Eaton Park floodlights in the first of seven weekend ties.

On paper Cambridge House - coached by John Nicholl, Martin Harkness, Maurice Bell and Warren Beattie - have slightly the better playing record this season and have a number of outstanding players including Houston Bonnar just back from injury. The Ulster Under-19 prop adds a lot of physicality to the squad and his leadership is a role model for the younger players to emulate.

Limavady may have no representative players but they combine well as a team. Their captain Mark Woods controls well from out-half and outside him Gareth Kee is a speedy 100 metres runner. Scrum-half Rowan Mulligan is dynamic at the breakdown while the strong Ethan Sherrard will have a big part to play.

Coach Chris Nash feels he has a good hard working bunch of lads. "We have struggled in some games but all the players give their best," he added.

Home advantage means so much so Banbridge Academy will be hoping that their 1st XV repeat Tuesday's Medallion Shield win, also against Antrim Grammar.

They have potential try scorers in Ulster Under-17 summer squad member Jordan Mount at scrum-half and Under-16s hooker Timothy Beattie.

Antrim don't have the same strength in depth as most other schools so face an uphill task tomorrow morning.

Royal School Dungannon have won the Schools' Trophy for the past two seasons but would dearly love to progress past the first round and could do so against Carrickfergus Grammar.

Gareth McClintock showed his coaching abilities when Carrick progressed significantly under his direction so he's hoping that Dungannon will now benefit from his expertise.

Centre Peter Doran and hooker David Cooper have turned out for Ulster Under-19s.

It's not often Larne Grammar start favourites to defeat Armagh Royal but they have the better record and also home advantage.

Foyle College have only two Upper Sixth boys in the squad that travels to Belfast High. Their captain is Callum McDonnell who is taking the place vacated by his skilful brother Alex.

Matthew Orr and David Jackson have shown plenty of potential in the backs which has led to a number of wins, including one against Methody II.

In the other tie Lurgan College are at home to neighbours Portadown College.

Belfast Telegraph

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