Two first half tries from centre Adam Johnston set Antrim Grammar up for their 26-7 Danske Bank Schools' Cup victory over Strabane Grammar yesterday afternoon but the contest was a lot closer than the scoreline would suggest.
Strabane playing in the cup for the first time in six seasons, played gallantly throughout and it was only in the closing minutes that Antrim really dominated. Following a move across the back line Johnston ran in for his first and then a break outside the '22' saw him cut through for the next. Out-half Sam Gordon converted the first.
At the start of the second period, Strabane took play down to their opponent's line following a break on the '22'. They maintained the pressure and were rewarded with a Reece Nelson score goaled by Thomas O'Flaherty.
Unfortunately for them, Antrim regained the initiative and following a scrum 15 metres out front row forward Robert Mawhinney charged in for Gordon to goal. He was also on target with the last when second row forward JJ McKee crossed.
Antrim coach Michael Ferguson said: "I thought it was a good all round effort from our side. In the pack, flanker Jacob McCollum and captain and No 8 Matthew Dunne put in strong performances and the guys on the wing did well."
Strabane coach Niall McDonnell was chuffed with his team's efforts. "We're back in the cup again and let's hope we can sustain our improvement," he said.
Antrim are now away to Banbridge Academy in January.