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Ballyclare aim to extend their unbeaten start

By Niall Crozier

Ballyclare High School, the only undefeated team in Ulster Schools’ rugby, will aim to add Friends’ name to their list of victims on Saturday.

The Ballyclare forwards have laid the foundations for their team’s success to date with hooker Marc Logan and No 8 Jonny Darling the stars of the show.

Behind the pack, fly-half Jonny Holmes and wing Peter Kennedy have been on fire, too.

But Friends also have very capable performers in boys like Rory McIvor, Paul Anderson, Michael Cochrane, Desi Eastwood and Paddy Pringle, all capable of causing problems for their hosts.

Frustratingly inconsistent Coleraine AI go to Belfast Royal Academy whose talent-laden line-up includes Stuart Olding (below), Ryan Clarke, Matthew Robinson, Eoin Devlin and Robbie Jamison.

The guests must have big performances from Paddy Farrell, Michael Poskitt, Stephen Best and company if they are to avoid a third Belfast drubbing.

Foyle and Londonderry College, who lost heavily to Ballymena Academy last time out, are not hopeful of having Tom Burns available for the visit of another Academy, Omagh, who recently gave Wallace HS a real run for their money.

Vastly improved Rainey ES, fresh from a 36-0 win over the Royal Grammar School in north-east England, will need a similar showing on Saturday if they are to de-rail RS Armagh.

Meanwhile Armagh’s ‘Royal’ cousins, Dungannon, will be in a very confident mood following victory over Bangor GS.

Tomorrow Banbridge Academy make the trip to Tyrone for what could be a very interesting pairing. So, too, should the Sullivan versus Wallace HS pairing in which the home boys will be keen to atone after losing to Portadown College.

But if Wallace’s Cal McIlwaine, Dean Irvine, Andrew Neely and David Scott play as they can, Sullivan may find that objective is beyond them. Portadown, boosted by having beaten Sullivan, will seek to add to that when they face Dalriada in Ballymoney. But with last week’s snow/ice break having enabled the hosts’ Ben Henderson, Jonny McLaughlin, Jonny McMullan and Andrew Skelton to regain fitness, that won’t make the guests’ already-difficult goal any easier to achieve.

Royal Belfast Academical Institution will seek to do to Dublin visitors Terenure College what they did to Blackrock College earlier in the season.

While Carrickfergus GS will have been happy that they, unlike most others, managed to play last weekend when Larne GS hosted them, defeat in that one won’t have pleased them.

On Saturday Down HS are due to call on Carrick and with Stuart Orr, John Donnan and Matthew McKeown forming the basis of their fine pack the guests are favourites.

Bangor GS will expect tomorrow to be one of their up days with Larne GS — well pleased with themselves after last weekend’s East Antrim derby win — due at the Ballymacormick Road. But if Larne are to cause an upset, Billy Brown, Houston Saunderson, Aaron McBride and their colleagues will have to be at their very best.

Lurgan College were bitterly disappointed when last weekend’s scheduled Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup Round One, Round Robin match with Strabane GS failed to materialise.

Captain Josh McKay, Steven Buckley, Greg Lyness and the rest of the Lurgan squad had worked hard in preparation for that game.

Tomorrow they host Cambridge House who, like themselves, don’t win too many but will see this as a rare opportunity to register one of this season’s victories. Timmy Small, Mathew Harkness, Mark Payne and Andrew Cundell form the core a the Cambridge House team whose commitment is in no doubt, as they showed when they beat Portadown College.

Lurgan had better be prepared to work if they are to avoid becoming part two of an unfortunate Craigavon double.

Belfast Telegraph


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