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Late pair of tries from O'Neill book Strabane's place in second round

By Ronnie Ingram

Five seasons ago Strabane Grammar were playing in the Danske Bank Schools' 3rd XV Cup so they deserve much credit for reaching the second round of this year's main Schools' Cup competition following their 17-0 win over Carrick Grammar.

It has been a long journey and the dedicated Niall McDonnell and his fellow coaches have put in the tremendous amount of work needed to improve the standard of rugby at the school.

The game was won in the final 20 minutes as Strabane captain Oran O'Neill picked up and found a gap to squeeze over. Then a clearance kick was caught by winger Jamie Brown and he weaved through the defence to go in for Ralph Mealiff to goal.

The best try was still to come following a scrum around halfway. No8 Jordan Mealiff picked up and linked with hooker Ryan McKittrick who broke through. He off-loaded to winger Gavin Doherty and O'Neill was up in support for his second try. Strabane now travel to Lurgan College in the next round.

A last play penalty gave Larne Grammar a 10-8 victory at Cambridge House and they now entertain Dalriada on January 7. It was a scoreless first half before the home team forged ahead when centre Kane McIlroy ran nearly the length of the field for full-back James Bovill to score.

From the drop out Larne retorted with a Michael Stevenson try converted by Jonathan Farquahar but a Bovill penalty regained the advantage for the home side. Right at the end Larne attempted a drop goal which was charged down, but a penalty was awarded for hands in the ensuring ruck and Sam Wood was successful with the kick.

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