Saturday 16 December 2017

Ballymena aim to build on semi shock

Tony Ward

Tony Ward

Ballymena Academy produced one of the biggest upsets in Ulster Schools Senior Cup history when they beat reigning champions and red-hot favourites to retain the trophy -- Methodist, Belfast -- in the semi-final.

They did so in the most dramatic way possible when hooker John Andrew crossed for a push-over try deep into injury-time to leave them one point ahead (11-10) and with no way back for the holders.

Ballymena's opponents in today's final at Ravenhill are Belfast Royal Academy (BRA) and they also had a dramatic semi-final win when centre and goalkicker David Cartmill crossed for the winning try against Wallace High with just minutes to go.

Cartmill also landed three penalties in his side's 16-12 success.

All told, it makes for a most unexpected finale. BRA will be chasing only their second outright success at senior level and Ballymena their third in an unlikely provincial final which, much like Leinster, could well swing either way.

Verdict: Ballymena Academy

Ballymena Academy -- C Simpson; J McClelland, C Delpy, P Storey, C Morrison; C Patterson, P Banda; S McNabney, J Andrew, K Galloway; C Rea, D Whaan; T Patton, G Dennison (Captain), P Wallace.

Belfast Royal Academy -- J Buchanan; E Devlin, D Cartmill, M Glover, M Robinson; S Olding, C Spence (Captain); A Martin, N Sinclair, D McCallum; N O'Neill, C Leckey; T Vincent, R Clarke, J Henderson.

Ref - D Wilkinson (Ulster Society).

Irish Independent

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