Honours are shared

Richard Clarke presents the Gary Clarke Memorial Cup to Banbridge Academy and Lurgan College winning captains.
Richard Clarke presents the Gary Clarke Memorial Cup to Banbridge Academy and Lurgan College winning captains.
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The 2014 Gary Clarke Memorial Cup was held recently at Pollock Park, the floodlit event featuring the best of local rugby talent from Lurgan College, Banbridge Academy, Friends School and Portadown College.

The tournament, now in its eight year, was played in a round-robin format, with short 15 minutes games.

First up were Lurgan College and Friends School and a fast pace was set by both sides as a crowd of spectators gathered to cheer them on.

A well taken try from Cameron Lyness and a penalty from Mark McIlwaine gave the home team an 8-5 victory.

In the second fixture Portadown College edged out Banbridge Academy with simple 3-0 win.

In the second round Lurgan College slipped up against the Academy as the Bann side pinched a 3-0 win. The upsets continued as Friends school turned over Portadown 7-3 to leave all schools with a win and a defeat after two rounds. All teams went into the third round knowing that a win would take them through to the final.

Banbridge Academy claimed the first spot with an impressive 7-0 victory over the Lisburn side. In the final game of the group stage Lurgan College faced their neighbours Portadown College in a winner takes all play-off.

In the end the home team were victorious and romped home 12-0 with the try of the tournament from Ryan Mooney.

The fullback broke from deep and caught the Portadown defence off guard as he burst through a number of tackles.

In the final Lurgan College faced Banbridge and nothing could separate the teams as the tie progressed.

After 10 minutes in the Banbridge 22 the Lurgan pack engineered a rolling maul and drove over the line but the ball was adjudged to be held up. With no time left the referee blew the final whistle and the cup was shared.

The College can claim the moral victory as they were the strongest team in the final, but this group of players can take pride in the fact they engraved their names on the trophy for the first team since it was conceived in 2007.

During the presentations Jason Wallace from Lurgan RFC presented the player of the tournament award to Desmond Bingham, from Lurgan College. Jason also singled out Jonny Hunter playing at out half for the College who kept the his side moving with some great distribution.

Finally the Gary Clarke Memorial Cup was presented to the winning captains by Richard Clarke.