|16 Mar 2021|
It may be the second St Patrick's Day without any of the traditional schools sporting finals as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic but that doesn't stop us taking a look back to 2014 when Sullivan Upper reached their first ever Ulster Schools’ Cup Rugby Final.
The Ulster Schools' Rugby Cup competition is the world's second-oldest rugby competition, first held in 1876. The oldest is the Hospitals' Cup which was first contested two years earlier in 1874.
In 2014, Sullivan, captained by Ross Todd, made their first ever appearance in the showpiece Final played at the Ravenhill Stadium in Belfast. The side were hoping to round off a journey that had included a semi-final win over Coleraine Inst and which began some three years earlier when they won the Medallion Shield.
Methody have been one of the dominant forces in schools rugby in Ulster and in 2014 they had appeared in more finals and won more Ulster Schools’ Cups than any other school in the Province. Led by the experienced Michael Lagan they were going for their third win in a row, seeing off RBAI and Wallace HS as they progressed to the Final.
Ravenhill was a riot of green and black as generations of ex-Sullivan pupils turned out to cheer on their side, but two tries from Methody’s Connor McKee put the Belfast side 12-0 up before Sullivan replied through a Chris Jordan try, the winger taking Dave Cave’s pass to score in the corner.
Methody scored their third try courtesy of Alastair McIvor in the 25th minute to go 17-5 up and retained that led into the half time break after Sullivan out half Mark Adair saw a penalty chance bounce off the post.
Sullivan got right back into the contest after the break when full-back Johnny Betts scored in the corner, Mark Adair converting to cut Methody's lead to 17-12.
However Methody finished strongly with tries from both their wingers Josh Jordan and Rory Cairns and lifted the Cup with a 27-12 win.
Were you cheering on the team at the match? Or perhaps you were one of the players involved? We'd love to hear your memories of the day in the comments below.
All imagery provided by John Dickson, Dickson Digital www.dicksondigital.com.
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