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Thousands of fans flock to Schools' Cup and MacRory finals

By Nevin Farrell

Some were doing jigs of joy after scintillating St Patrick's Day sporting action, but others were left to cry into their green beer.

Thousands flocked to the big holiday sporting action with Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI) winning a closely-fought Danske Bank Schools Cup rugby final at Kingspan Stadium against Wallace High 14-10.

In Armagh city it was the battle of the Pats in GAA football as St Patrick's College, Cavan, defeated St Patrick's Academy, Dungannon, in the Ulster Colleges MacRory Cup Final by 2-12 to 0-8.

In football, Edmund Rice College from Glengormley beat Grosvenor Grammar 2-1 in the Belfast Senior Cup Trophy Final, but there was disappointment for Co Derry Gaelic football side Slaughtneil who lost to Corofin at Croke Park by a margin of 1-14 to 0-7 in the All-Ireland Club Final.

In Belfast, thousands of fans flocked to the Kingspan Stadium for the clash between Lisburn's Wallace High and Inst and with the mild weather conditions the famous old ground was rocking.

Afterwards the Inst fans were savouring their victory and one man who had a foot in both camps said it was a brilliant sporting occasion.

Comber playwright Robin Glendinning (76) once briefly taught at Wallace but it was his 18 years as an English teacher at Inst which meant he was backing the Belfast boys and was pleased they got their 30th outright win. They have also shared the title four times. "I thought it was a great match especially in the second half. There were brilliant tries and the difference was that Inst's tries were closer to the posts which made the conversions easier," he said.

Lyndsey Henry, mother of Inst player James Hume, said it was a "nail-biting match but Inst had a do-or-die will to win".

Among the Wallace High fans, Richard Gill (18) from Lisburn was disappointed but he said the side had given it their all.

Robert Jebb (46) played for Wallace 30 years ago and he and wife Lorraine (43) and daughter Alyssa (15) said yesterday's result was a disappointing outcome.

Colin Stanfield and wife Margaret were among the faithful supporting the Lisburn school which their son played for in 1994.

Thousands of fans also gathered at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh to see St Patrick's College from Cavan town win the MacRory Cup for the first time since 1972.

As the blue and gold-clad Cavan fans ran onto the pitch, one man who certainly had a St Patrick's Day spring in his step was manager Fr Kevin Fay.

He revealed it wasn't just at the ground were things were lively as his mother was watching the game on TV at home and she would be "going mad in the kitchen".

Cavan player Thomas Galligan savoured the victory and said: "It means everything to us. It's great to win it."

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