Banbridge Academy complete emphatic win over Portora Royal School in Ulster Schools’ Trophy final

Banbridge's David McKeown celebrates with Danske Bank's Patrick Mullan
Banbridge's David McKeown celebrates with Danske Bank's Patrick Mullan

Banbridge Academy met Portora Royal School on Wednesday in the Ulster Schools’ Trophy final.

Portora won this title in recent seasons but this was the first time a Banbridge Academy team had featured in the Schools’ Trophy Final.

Banbridge settled into the game very quickly and took a 3-0 lead when Aaron Kennedy converted a penalty opportunity after just three minutes of the game.

Portora recovered well and took play deep into Banbridge territory. Good work involving both forwards and backs enabled Portora to pressurise the Banbridge line but the Banbridge defence was well-organised.

Their backrow trio of David McKeown, Ethan Harbinson and Rory Carson combined to turn Portora RS ball over on a number of occasions.

Banbridge missed a number of penalty opportunities before they scored their first try of the game.

Gareth Liggett cut a great line from a midfield position to touch down for an unconverted try to give his team an 8-0 lead.

Portora were hampered by the loss of Gary Thornton to injury. Close to the interval they had the chance to reduce the arrears but a penalty kick attempt was missed.

Five minutes into the second half Banbridge extended their lead when right winger, Nathan McKinley ran in for an excellent try. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Co Down boys now had a 13-0 lead.

Two minutes later, Nathan, once again, displayed his strong running skills to get away from a despairing Portora defence and finish off with another try. Daniel McElderry was successful with his conversion kick to put his team into a deserved 20-0 lead.

Portora pressed for a try. However, they were held up on a number of occasions and knocked on in the in-goal area.

The final few minutes saw the Banbridge Academy team seal the game when replacement players, Noel Proctor and Jack Wilson, scored one try each.

Aaron Kennedy converted one of the tries to leave the Banbridge Academy team as 32-0 winners.

In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ 2ndxv competition, Methodist College, Belfast defeated Sullivan Upper by 26-7.

In the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Medallion Plate competition, Rainey Endowed School defeated Dromore High School by 24-12.