Pre-match favourites Limavady Grammar had to work hard before eventually winning their delayed Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup fourth round tie at Dalriada School on Wednesday afternoon.
The 14-7 success sets the Limavady boys up for a quarter-final tie away to RBAI on Saturday, February 23.
Dalriada, playing with the wind in their backs, dominated most of territory and possession in the opening exchanges of the game.
Timmy Emmerson kept his team on the front foot with some astute kicking into the opposition half. Midway through the first half Dalriada, having missed an earlier penalty, took a 7-0 lead when they turned Limavady ball over and sharp hands through the three-quarters set scrumhalf, Matthew Steele through for a try under the posts. Rory Strang converted.
The home team made astute use of the conditions for the remainder of the half denying Limavady any real advantage in terms of territory and the score remained 7-0 at the break.
The second half saw the Limavady pack raise their game and a plentiful supply of ball was well used by half backs, Jamie Millar and Michael Barr.
These pair constantly drove Dalriada back with inch perfect kicks and. Coupled with a solid lineout the North West side made good yardage.
Ten minutes into the second half the Limavady pack drove forward and recycled the ball for No 8, Sam Mackey, to drive over the line. Jack McCool struck the difficult conversion well and the score was tied at 7-7.
Limavady were beginning to exert pressure but, to their credit, the Dalriada back line was attempting to move the ball.
On at least two occasions half breaks in the midfield almost resulted in Dalriada creating clear try scoring opportunities. From a Limavady scrum, Limavady out half Michael Barr put his centre into space and Jamie Millar launched a long raking kick which right winger, Tom McClelland, fly hacked on.
The ball stuck in the mud a matter of inches from the touchline. As the Dalriada defence stopped momentarily, McClelland again fly hacked the ball and gathered it close to the Dalriada line to dive over and touch down for a score.
try. McCool kicked a difficult conversion and Limavady had a 14-7 lead with just seven minutes left on the clock.
Both teams had chances for a score apiece in the closing minutes, but neither could take full advantage.