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Methody spirit is coming to the fore: Lindsay

Methody 15 Sullivan Upper 5

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Hands off: Methody’s Callum Davidson tries to get past Peter Camlin at Pirrie Park

Hands off: Methody’s Callum Davidson tries to get past Peter Camlin at Pirrie Park

On charge: Methody’s Jack Watson makes a break

On charge: Methody’s Jack Watson makes a break

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Hands off: Methody’s Callum Davidson tries to get past Peter Camlin at Pirrie Park

The 'big two' Belfast sides can now only meet on St Patrick's Day after being kept apart in the draw for the semi-finals of the Danske Bank Schools' Cup.

Instead, old rivals Methodist College and Royal Belfast Academical Institution must face the respective, and considerable, challenges of the fancied Wallace High School and the also strong Royal School Armagh as the competition's last four clashes move to the Kingspan Stadium.

RBAI and Royal School Armagh face-off on Tuesday, March 3 while holders Methody and Wallace do battle the following day with both games having 2.30pm kick-offs.

Methody, the long-running competition's most successful side, ground out a hard-earned 15-5 win over Sullivan Upper at a rain and wind-lashed Pirrie Park.

The weather also played its part in the other quarter-finals. Royal School Armagh scraped through by 17-14 at Ballymena Academy while Wallace won 19-10 at home to end Enniskillen Royal Grammar's interest in the Cup.

RBAI had a somewhat easier time when hosting Friends' School Lisburn and scored seven tries to win 52-12.

At Pirrie Park, Methody's aggressive defence and ability to locate the try line at critical moments in this hard slog of a game got them to the last-four at the expense of a spirited Sullivan.

"We knew it would be hard but we're really pleased for the boys, they stuck at it and also stuck to the game plan," said Methody assistant coach Stephen Lindsay.

"We were confident that we knew how to play the conditions.

"But we have to give full credit to Sullivan for playing so well and they made it exceptionally hard for us."

As for taking on Wallace, head coach Nicky Wells' squad will head to next week's clash knowing that they face a huge battle but with belief they can prevail.

"The boys' confidence has just built throughout the year," said Lindsay.

"They believe in themselves and they'll do anything for each other, there's a good strong brotherhood in there.

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"We just need to keep that going now and keep building."

Sullivan coach Adam Craig rightly praised his squad's battling performance.

"The boys were great and you couldn't fault the effort," said Craig.

"The conditions were really tough, and we played them well for a while, but we just made too many mistakes and you can't make any mistakes against a team like Methody.

"All credit to Methody and we wish them the best of luck," he added.

Methody's Cup pedigree came to the fore when it mattered in this arm-wrestle of a game.

Even though Sullivan possessed arguably the tie's most impressive forward in tireless lock Harry Sheridan, Methody's collective shone through with skipper Adam Reid leading the way.

It was Reid who settled Methody's nerves halfway through the opening half as he smashed over from a blindside move off a scrum.

That was the only score from what was a full-on first 35 minutes and though Sullivan threw everything at Methody in the opening minutes of the new half, they couldn't find a way over the line.

Methody's resistance seemed to sap some belief from Sullivan's ranks and then the Cup holders showed how to close things out.

Indeed, Methody drove a maul over from outside the Sullivan 22 with lock Adam McNamee getting the ball down as mud-spattered bodies piled over the line.

Impressive centre Callum Davidson - he and fellow midfielder Peter O'Hagan had strong games - again missed the conversion but 10-0 looked like a winning position.

To their credit, Sullivan came again, full-back Zac Moraghan crossing for a fully deserved but unconverted try near the final whistle.

But Methody weren't finished and Davidson surged through for the home side's third try which, yet again, went unconverted.



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