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Schools' Cup: Wallace didn't deserve win, admits coach Derek Suffern

By Jonathan Bradley

Wallace High School coach Derek Suffern admitted that his side did not deserve to beat RBAI in yesterday's Danske Bank Schools' Cup final at the Kingspan Stadium.

Aiming to win their first ever title, the Lisburn school surrendered by a score of 14-10 despite twice leading the contest, but they had a real chance to win at the death - an outcome Suffern feels would have been unjust.

"In the second half we thought we dominated a lot of the field position and had a lot of the possession but there was just some facets of our game that didn't function well enough," Suffern said.

"On reflection, I suppose afterwards we didn't really deserve to win the game because we weren't able to take those chances in the second half."

Wallace frequently opted for the corner, eschewing some potentially kickable penalties in the process, but their lineout malfunctioned badly at crucial junctures and Suffern admitted that the struggling set-piece greatly undermined their chances of victory.

"One of the reasons was that the lineout didn't function, and maybe we could have kicked a couple of goals instead of going for lineouts or maybe tapped and went, but I suppose the guys backed themselves to win that one close to the line but unfortunately it just didn't go for us," he said.

It was Wallace's first loss of a memorable campaign that ultimately ended in frustration but Suffern was quick to praise the efforts of the victors.

"To be fair to them, Inst competed really, really well. We played them earlier in the year and they wouldn't have troubled us that much at lineout time but they've obviously done their homework so fair play to them," he said.

"They competed all over the park and put us under a lot of pressure and it was potentially the difference in the game."

With 12 of the starting XV playing their last game for the school, the loss is a bitter pill to swallow but with the Medallion squad again reaching the final this year - although they too suffered a defeat to Inst - Suffern insists that it is only a matter of time before they get their hands on the elusive trophy.

"It's going to be tough for them to deal with for a while and they just have to stick together and be proud of their efforts," he said.

"Unfortunately we didn't deserve to win the game and we've got to live with that.

"We've been working very hard for a number of years now to get a real focus on developing kids further down the school and our Medallions have reaped the reward of it.

"We still haven't achieved the ultimate goal of winning any silverware, we've been to four out of the last six (Medallion) finals and our senior team has been competing in the latter stages.

"We're one of the few outside of the Belfast schools who can compete in rugby and hockey and we're very proud of that.

"This will serve to drive us to continue getting here and eventually we'll manage to get over the line."

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