Upper hand for Friends
Friends’ School 17 Sullivan Upper 15
Complete domination by Sullivan in the first half led to a 15-3 interval advantage but the home team fought back before having to withstand some late pressure to emerge victorious.
Jamie Carr put Sullivan ahead with a well struck penalty from the 10 metre line and then an interception resulted in Rory McCandless touching down for Carr to convert.
Craig Lewsley reduced the arrears with a penalty but the visitors turned their pressure into points following a short penalty. The forwards took the ball on before Michael Scott rolled off the side of a maul to score.
Friends started the second half with renewed vigour and began to have some influence on the tie. They certainly played better but still only managed to penetrate the Sullivan '22' on a couple of occasions but on two of these they scored.
Good work by Rory McIvor and Michael Cochrane led to Andrew Vance touching down for Lewsley to add the points.
This was the incentive they needed as Sullivan started to give away hard earned possession and after 30 minutes Friends' took the lead for the first time.
They were encamped on the visiting line and, after five scrums, the ball was moved to the inside centre Cochrane who scored for Lewsley to goal.
The Holywood team kept pushing forward and with one minute remaining scrum-half Josh Burnside dashed over to touch down.
Unfortunately the referee stated that he had brushed past him on the way over so the try was disallowed. Sullivan were awarded a five metre scrum but nothing materialised.
After the tie Sullivan coach Mike Rodgers gave credit to his team's play.
“I thought that a try was scored in the final minute but I would like to mention that Rory Foye had a good attacking game on the wing and Oliver Loughead was outstanding,” he said.
“Unfortunately we gave them too much possession in the second half and full credit they took their chances.”
Friends' coach Stephen Robinson thought the pack excelled with David McGuigan and Ross McCaughey showing up.
“We had a terrible first half and took a long time for us to show our real capabilities,” he commented.
Friends' School: J.McCorkell, A.Trimble, C.Ross, J.Robinson, R.McCaughey, P.Ferguson, J.Vance, D.McGuigan, B.Semple, R.McIvor, D.Eastwood, A.Vance, M.Cochrane, P.Pringle, C.Lewsley, D.Seeds, S.Harris, J.Murphy, J.Dennison, P.Acheson, B.McMullan, J.Thompson.
Sullivan Upper: J.Gilmore, R.Foye, R.McCandless, H.Graham, D.Floyd, J.Carr, J.Burnside, S.Chisholm, K.Pouagholi, C.Montgomery, W.Brown, C.McCollum, M.Scott, O.Loughead, H. Ansty, T.Warwick, O.Matthews, R.Adair, H.Eves, T.Stevenson, K.Todd, O.Glenn.