SCHOOLS’ CUP: Lurgan College see off Strabane

Strabane's Kristin Warke about to feed the scrum
Strabane's Kristin Warke about to feed the scrum

Lurgan 39 Strabane College 0

It was only a few seasons ago that Strabane Academy found themselves beaten in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 3rdxv Cup.

This season they found themselves travelling to play Lurgan College in the 2nd Round of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup.

It is tribute to the work undertaken by Niall McDonnell and his rugby staff in Strabane that the Strabane Academy 1stxv found themselves in this positive position.

The Lurgan team won the game by 39-0 but the Strabane team never displayed anything other than 100% commitment and their players will have learnt a lot from the experiences gained against a good Lurgan College team.

The Lurgan team started well and centre, Richard Hull, broke through to score a try under the posts with just two minutes on the clock.

Scott Wilson added the conversion to see the Lurgan into a 7-0 lead.

With difficult conditions underfoot making running rugby difficult, the Strabane team defended with great resolve and turned over the home team regularly with some excellent work on the ground.

Strabane players such as Oran O’Neiil, Jack Sayers and Jonathan Gamble were particularly imporessive in this regard.

However, the persistent pressure from the Lurgan team eventually paid off when their impressive young No 8, Reuben McCreery, crashed over from close range to touch down for a try.

The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the home team was able to take a 12-0 lead into the halftime break.

Lurgan started the second half very brightly and, from the restart, quickly added a Scott Wilson penalty to increase their lead to 15-0.

Again, the Lurgan pack quickly made their way up the field and, after an interchange of passes between backs and forwards, Scott Wilson sniped around the edge of a breakdown to run in under the posts and score a try.

Scott added the conversion to increase the Lurgan lead to 22-0.

By now the Lurgan team was playing with a confidence that seemed to be missing in the first half. In particular their backs, with the pace of Neil Allen and Adam Harrison causing a tiring visitors defence problems, looked impressive.

Full back, Adam Harrison, scored an unconverted try in the corner to take the score to 27-0.

Then, with just minutes remaining, Scott Wilson ducked under the Strabane defence once again to touch down for a try. Scott converted the try to increase the Lurgan College lead to 34-0.

Lurgan then launched one final attack from inside their 22m area. This finished when Adam Harrison touched down for an unconverted try, following good work from Jack Dunn, to secure the 39-0 win for the Lurgan team against a more than gallant Strabane team.