Dalriada travelled to Ballyclare and came away with a 43-18 victory, living up to their current ranking of fifth in the Ulster Schools’ Rugby Merit Table. Ballyclare are a side who have made the final a few years ago and are regularly semi finalists in the Schools’ Cup.
The victory really comes as no surprise as this squad have shown excellent form right from the beginning of the season. The only disappointment for Dalriada on the day was the fact that Ballyclare were unable to field a Second XV and Third XV as Dalriada currently have sixty boys in their senior squad.
Dalriada started off brightly, putting the wind advantage to good use. From a line out in the Ballyclare 22, they built phases and created some space.
This allowed big prop Scott Gamble to utilise his footwork to beat an oncoming defender and finish the try which was converted by Stewart Moore.
Ballyclare responded well and managed to gain a penalty after good work from their pack. Dalriada managed to gain the ball from the restart and managed to work a penalty in front of the posts, making the score 10-3.
From the resulting kick off, Dalriada showed great intent and from good off loading by Andrew Stevenson, they made a line break from Stewart Moore. Quick ball was gained and Ross Fallows cut a great line to score right of the posts and converted by Moore. The Dalriada team continued to dominate territory and managed to make their way up into the 22. After a number of phases from the composed pack, Scott Gamble crashed over for his second of the game. The extras were added by Moore. Dalriada got possession from the kick off and scrum half Matthew McConaghie used the wind to put a big kick in which troubled the full back in his own 22. A big tackle from Stevenson made the ball available for fly half Angus Johnston to use and centre Dennis Posternax ran a great line to dot the ball down. The conversion was added, making the score 31-3.
From the kick off, a big hit from Ballyclare’s Alistair Burke allowed their backs for the first time to run with the ball. They managed to keep hold of possession well and ground down the Dalriada defence to create space for the winger to finish. Conversion missed. Dalriada responded Well and managed to make a break from Gavin McCaughern. A rare feat then occurred with a prop getting a hatrick, Scott Gamble driving over from close range. The conversion was missed making half time score 36-8. The Ballyclare team used the wind well in the second half and managed to get good field position. Their forwards worked hard to drive over from close range for their second try of the game. The Ballyclare fly half got the conversion.
Dalriada didn’t stop playing though, and secured their sixth try of the game after an Angus Johnston break was finished off by Matthew Kernohan. The conversion was scored. Both teams started to use their bench at this stage after a number of injuries. The out half for Ballyclare managed field position well, and following a scruffy kick out of the Dalriada 22, Ballyclare moved the ball wide to allow their speedy winger to get on the outside and beat a final defender. The Dalriada forward pack took the game by the scruff of the neck at this stage and dominated through their powerful maul. The game finished with no more scores, after a very entertaining game in pretty awful conditions. The First XV look forward to next week when they take on Limavady GS followed by Bangor GS, who put them out of the cup last year.