Dream come true for Methody hero Ben McFarlane

Full back Ben McFarlane was Methodist College’s hero at both ends of the pitch as his side beat Campbell College in a thrilling Schools’ Cup final at Kingspan Stadium.

By Ciaran Donaghy
Friday, 18th March 2022, 6:00 am

Methody the most successful team in the competition’s history had to dig deep to win the trophy for a 37th time outright after trialling at the interval.

The scores were tied with only two minutes remaining, before McFarlane stepped up to land a long range penalty, but the full back’s heroics didn’t end there, he made a last ditch tackle with the final play of the game as Campbell probed for a winning try. Landing the decisive kick in a final was something McFarlane had always dreamed of.

“Ever since first year when the boys were coming through, I remember Ethan McIlroy and Tommy Armstrong and watching them in third year and thinking we want to do something like that one day, so it was just good to get it done and get the win,” said McFarlane.

Ben McFarlane celebrates with his Methody teammates at the final whistle. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye

If McFarlane had any nerves stepping up to land the winning kick, he didn’t show it.

“I knew I had the distance I just wanted to make sur ethe wind was with me and that my accuracy was fine,” he said. “I have done it long enough and practiced long enough and I knew if I just trusted my technique, I’d be ok.”

Methody conceded a try just after half time and with the conversion Nicky Wells side were trialling by 10 points.

“We just said seven years of hard work we weren’t going to let it slip away like that, so we were just going to give it anything that we had left and that is what got us over the line in the end,” said McFarlane.

“We knew we needed to dig in deep to get a performance against a great Campbell side who put us to the test and made us go right to the wire so credit to them.”

Despite feeling the pace of the game McFarlane summoned up the energy to make the vital tackle at the end.

“Cramp was kicking in, but I give it everything I got, I wasn’t going to let it slip away,” added McFarlane.

Methody captain Peter O’Hagan was delighted to be walking up the Kingspan Steps to lift the trophy at the end of the 70 minutes.

“It’s the end goal of rugby at Methody to lift the trophy and we have done it now,” enthused O’Hagan.

“We started well then fell away so we needed to get back up to where we started at because they couldn’t cope with it and you saw that we basically had them in their 22 for the last 20 to 25 minutes.”