WALLACE HIGH 17 BALLYMENA ACADEMY 21
Ballymena Academy are through to the semi-finals of the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup after a narrow win over Wallace High in Lisburn.
The Braid boys will meet holders, RBAI, on Monday, February 27 in a repeat of last year’s semi-final.
Ballymena started their quarter-final in positive fashion. They scored an early try through Angus Kernohan, following good work from Alexander Clarke and Azur Allison. Bruce Houston added the conversion for a 7-0 lead.
Wallace recovered from this early setback and launched a series of attacks with Gary Dillon, Jamie Manderson and Jonny Hunter asking questions of the Ballymena defence. Tom McKendry was successful with a penalty kick.
Ballymena then launched a series of attacks with Mark Thompson, Michael Strong and Tiarnan Martin all causing problems for the opposition. Eventually, they spotted a chink in the Wallace defensive armour.
Kernohan took full advantage and ran in for his second try of the morning. Once again, Houston was successful with the conversion to send Ballymena in at the break leading 14-3.
Shortly after the restart Ballymena went 21-3 ahead when Stewart Moore ran in for a try which, once again, converted by Houston.
Wallace then mounted a tremendous comeback. They took full advantage of a Ballymena player spending time in the “Sin Bin” The Cardosi boys, Sam and Josh, were to the fore in a great spell of attacking rugby. Sam scored a try, which Conor Rankin converted, to reduce the deficit to 21-10.
Spurred on, Wallace’s Josh Cardosi took full advantage of good work from his pack before he touched down for a try. Rankin added the conversion to make it 21-17.
At this stage it was definitely game on and Wallace went on an all-out offensive looking for the winning score. However, it was not to be and Ballymena held out.