Friends’ School will look to keep their Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup run going this weekend when they face Grosvenor Grammar in the fourth round (kick-off 10.30am).
Wins against Antrim Grammar and Coleraine Grammar, following a replay, have however taken their toll on the Lisburn school with a number of players carrying knocks and hoping they can get the all clear.
Friends’ captain, Adam Milligan, has led his team well this season and he will again look to Ben McCaughey and Bradley Mulholland who have been the top try scorers, to continue with their ty scoring exploits and get them through to a quarter-final.
McCaughey has also been deadly accurate with his goal kicking duties throughout the season and reflected in the replay against Coleraine Grammar School.
Curtis Dundas, as well as being Deputy Head Boy in the school, has represented Ireland on the successful U18 Seven-a-Side team while George Pringle played on the Ulster Schools’ team in the Inter- Provincial series earlier in the season.
The emerging talents of Henry Tolerton, Connor Hall, who is joined by his younger brother Alex on the team, and David Stewart are being closely monitored by the Ulster Rugby Talent ID Department.
If all these frontline players are free from injury and available for selection the Friends’ School, Lisburn coaching staff will approach the tie in a more positive frame of mind.
Grosvenor have recorded a number of significant results in recent weeks. On the back of a victory against an excellent Omagh Academy and their third round success against the much vaunted Bangor Grammar, Grosvenor will carry the favourites tag.
The team is coached by Andrew Gibson and Gary Hunter with their experienced hooker, Jack Mahon, selected as the dynamic captain. There is no doubting the potential of the team with all the players in their talented back line in particular offering threats against opposition teams throughout the season.
Good performances against Campbell College and Down High in the first term showed what the players were capable of achieving. Without the wins required against some other school teams momentum didn’t really seem to build.
In recent weeks it would appear that the team is getting the structures and decision making right. The recent victory against Omagh team was hard-earned but, ultimately, well-deserved.
There are quite a few of Grosvenor Grammar School players the Friends’ team would do well to watch out for. James McMaster has attracted the attention of the Ulster Rugby Talent ID Department with his performances in the front row during his first year on the team. Ewan Renfrew in the second row has been the go-to man at lineout time for Jack Mahon. Jos McConkey, who scored all the points against Bangor, has been the leading try scorer for the team.
The Grosvenor outhalf and fullback, Daniel Martin and Conor Kernohan are current Schools’ Cup holders - all be it in soccer and not rugby!.