Lurgan College’s Schools’ Cup hopes were wiped away by a slick Down High side who mastered the horrendous weather conditions in Downpatrick last Saturday to win 30-0.
Lurgan College had to play without the services of their talented scrum half, Drew Davis, who was struck down with illness just before the kick-off. The home side got off to a shaky start putting the ball straight out of play. However, they defended the ensuing Lurgan College attack successfully. William Martin secured a penalty which allowed Down High School to clear their lines. Smart territorial play over the next period of time saw Lurgan College defend their line. After the visitors were deemed to have gone off side at a ruck, Patrick Wright took no time in getting the Down High scoring underway with a penalty to give his team a 3-0 lead. With twelve minutes of the game gone, Patrick Wright extended the lead to 6-0 when he kicked into the strong breeze to land another penalty. After several exchanges of play, the Down pack gradually came into the ascendancy with great carries. These efforts from the Down High forwards allied to smart kicking from the half backs, led eventually to Down scoring their first try through winger Ryan Smyth. Patrick Wright had no problems with the conversion to put his team into a 13-0 lead. Towards the end of the first half the Lurgan College out half Mark McIlwaine produced a daring break from his own 22m area. This caught the Down defence off guard but good defence eventually snuffed out the threat and Down High went into the break with a 13-0 lead. For virtually the whole of the second half the two teams found themselves battling the extreme weather as much as each other. However, within four minutes of the restart Down extended their lead to 18-0 through prop Thomas Johnston as he barged his way over the line. Patrick Wright was unsuccessful with the conversion.
Midway through the second half Down’s other prop Nathan Gibson was next on the scoresheet when he showed fantastic strength to stay on his feet and run in for a try following a pass from Patrick Wright who then added the extras to put his team into a 25-0 lead. The final score came with about eight minutes to go.
Despite losing 30-0 Lurgan College played a full part in the game with players such as Mark McIlwaine, Ryan Osbourne and Harry Simpson impressing with their performances.