RS ARMAGH 24 MCB 28
Methodist College, Beflast,will meet Belfast Royal Academy in the second Danske Bank Schools’ Cup semi-final later this month after a ding-dong quarter-tie at Royal School Armagh.
Armagh controlled the game for long periods of the first half and built up a deserved 15-7 lead by the break.
Nine minutes into the game Glen Faloon gave the home team a 3-0 lead when he dispatched a penalty kick.
MCB hit back but were initially repelled. From one attack Benjamin Boyd and Glen Faloon forced the Methody ball carrier to throw out a loose pass which was intercepted by Zac Thompson who ran almost the length of the pitch to touch down for a try under the Methody posts. Faloon added the extras for a 10-0 lead after 15 minutes.
Methody recovered with their backrow trio of Cameron Kelly, captain Matty Loane and No 8, James Gallagher, impressing with their work rate in all aspects of play. Gallagher scored the first of three tries after 22 minutes. Paul Kerr hit a touchline conversion to reduce the deficit to 10-7.
Back came the Royal School and they pinned MCB into their ‘22’ in the period just before halftime. Patient and effective use of possession by players such as Ryan O’Neill, James Dunne, Jack Chapman and Jack Treanor enabled the RS Armagh team to stay within striking distance.
Good decision making from Boyd presented Nicholas Jennings with the opportunity to touch down for an unconverted try which made the lead 15-7 at the break.
Six minutes into the second half that lead had extended to 21-7 following two successful Faloon penalty kicks.
Methody captain, Matty Loane then galvanised his troops and they came storming back into the game.
Pressure in the Armagh ‘22’ presented Loane with the opportunity to touch down under the posts for a try. Kerr added the conversion to make it 21-14.
Armagh then kicked a penalty through Faloon to make it 10 points between the sides, but from then MCB dominated the game.
Gallagher scored his second try of the game, which Kerr converted, to reduce the deficit to 24-21 midway through the second half.
When Gallagher crossed for his hat-trick it gave Methody the lead for the first time at 26-24, and Kerr added the conversion to push the advantage to four points - enough to take the victory.