Portadown College prove too good for Lurgan
Lurgan College 3 - Portadown College 7
A much improved second half resulted in Portadown College narrowly defeating Lurgan College to secure a home second round tie against Friends' School.
Lurgan had the better of the first period but could only turn round three points ahead following a Robbie Norton penalty after 15 minutes. They had possession for long periods and their opponents were obliged to defend stoutly.
Their back row forwards of Reuben McCreery, Mark Montgomery and Victor McKenzie played a big part in their superiority as they kept Portadown inside their own territory for long periods.
The visitors continued to defend exceptionally well so Lurgan were unable turn their possession into points. The visitors did have an opportunity to level but the penalty attempt was missed and the remainder of the period saw Lurgan again attempting to penetrate the resolute defence.
The second half was entirely different as it was the turn of Portadown to really show their skills. Their halfback partnership of Brett Fleck and Michael Orr began to control the tie as they pushed their opponents back. Lurgan were kept inside their own '22' for long periods with Portadown's James Hewitt and Peter McKeeman exerting pressure. Ten minutes into the second period and the visitors took the lead. Their captain Orr made ground before he grubber kicked through the opposing defence and regathered to dive over close to the posts.
Portadown kept control for the remainder of play but were unable to increase their advantage against the home defence. It was a closely fought encounter with Portadown, who had started as favourites, qualifying.
Home coach Geoff Caldwell was philosophical about the defeat. "We had a young side who performed admirably. It was a tight game and there were a lot of positives. We did win a lot of possession but it was in the wrong areas. Our pack was good and the backs solid all day but just one moment in the game made the difference. Their out-half ran the show but we can look forward to doing better next season as only five players will leaving at the end of the academic year."