Campbell show their class to clinch Cup final against Inst
Campbell College 24 - Dalriada 3
Campbell College will meet RBAI in the Danske Bank Schools' Cup final after overcoming Dalriada 24-3 in yesterday's second last-four clash at the Kingspan Stadium.
The east Belfast outfit ran in four tries, three coming in the first-half, with their Ballymoney opponents' only points coming from the boot of Stewart Moore.
A 40th final for the competition's third most successful side, March 17 will now bring a repeat of 2011's battle for the trophy.
That day was Campbell's last appearance in the St Patrick's Day showpiece, and saw a team featuring Ulster's Rory Scholes overcome the side they will meet in two weeks' time. Head coach Brian Robinson is thrilled to see his boys back on the big stage.
"It's a huge occasion," said the former Irish international back-rower. "I'm delighted to be able to bring a bunch of boys back to the Kingspan for a big day and they'll really enjoy it.
"Hopefully they'll enjoy it afterwards as well. This is what they work for. They put a massive amount into it and they deserve it."
His captain, James Boyle, is already looking forward to a final between the two Belfast heavyweights.
"We learned not to hype the game up too much," the hooker said. "We didn't let the occasion get to us. We'll take that confidence into the final. It's the final the spectators wanted, the two best teams in Ulster.
"We'll play our game and leave them to do their own thing."
Dalriada were looking to make it to only their second ever final - the last coming in 1993 when they were beaten by yesterday's opponents - but did have recent cup pedigree on their side having won both the Shield and Bowl in the last two seasons.
Still, they were massive underdogs against a Campbell side cited by many as the most impressive in the province this year and it was the favourites who started on the front foot.
There were only seven minutes on the clock when the first try arrived.
Dalriada, having already absorbed much pressure, were charged down after a back-peddling scrum and flanker Jamie Macartney had an uninterrupted run for the line.
Campbell were then caught off their feet after an impressive run from Moore, with the outside centre knocking over the ensuing penalty himself, but it would prove to be Dalriada's only points of the day.
Against a physical defence - with inside centre Denis Posternak in particular landing some massive tackles - Campbell were still finding plenty of openings and, with Jonny Haldane running an excellent dummy line, out-half Patrick Beverland sent wing Jack Howard through a gap for the game's second try.
With scrum-half Malcolm Corry adding the extras, the score moved to 12-3.
After good work from James Nelson and Nicolai Koplewsky, Haldane was on hand to add a third despite a strong covering tackle from full-back Thomas Hunter and Campbell led by 14 at the turn.
The conditions worsened considerably during the break and Dalriada started the second-half the brighter of the two sides.
Despite a spell of concerted pressure, they could not force their way over the line for a try that would have reduced the deficit to a single score.
The only real period of concern for the victors, Robinson felt it was important his side emerged on the other side of the spell without conceding.
"Their close attack is a big strength," he said. "They use their 12 and fringe attack well so you have to be very composed.
"I thought we got a bit high and gave them some simple yardage and we didn't use the ball well.
"We gave them that opportunity and had they got within a score then the game would have definitely changed."
Having weathered the storm, Campbell produced the only points of the second-half when Jack Barry-Glendinning provided the pick of the tries.
The powerful No.8 picked the ball up in midfield and proceeded to burst around and through would-be tacklers with a great turn of pace.
Having bulldozed over the line, his No.9 Corry converted to end the semi-final clash as a contest.
The benches emptied as the coaches gave their full squad the experience of running out at the home of Ulster Rugby but, despite Campbell spending the final minutes camped in Dalriada territory, there were no further scores.
Campbell College: Ben Webb; Justin Savage, Jonny Haldane, Nicolai Koplewsky, Jack Howard; Patrick Beverland, Malcolm Corry; Matthew Russell, James Boyle, Tom O'Toole; James Nelson, Marcus Collim; Jamie Macartney, John Crowther, Jack Barry-Glendinning
Replacements: Josh Chambers, Jamie Clarke, John McKee, Matthew Robinson, Tom Brady, Rory Cahoon, Oscar Yandall, Ryan Meharg.
Dalriada School: Thomas Hunter; Ross Fallows, Stewart Moore, Denis Postermak, Gavin McCaughern; Angus Johnston, Matthew McConnaghie; Aaron Christie, Jack Dowey, Scott Gamble; Jack Horsbrough, Fergal Wiseman; Matthew Kernoghan, Alan Montgomery, Matthew Lockhart.
Replacements: Griffin Phillipson, William Allen, Mark Young, Adam Stewart, Jacob Butcher, Matthew Kennedy, Connor Creith, Lewis Henry.