LIMAVADY Grammar School’s brave bid to win the Medallion Shield for the first time in the school’s history came to an abrupt end when they lost the final to Sullivan Upper, at Ravenhill, yesterday (Tuesday), Reports Jordan Magee.
The students, who defeated RBAI in the semi-final earlier in the month and overcame Down High School with an impressive quarter-final success, and had Brendan Ferguson (Campsie) and Jamie Millar (Eglinton), at prop and centre yesterday, never really got going at the home of Ulster rugby.
In the end they went down 17-0 to a strong Sullivan Upper side.
From the kick-off Sullivan exerted pressure on the Limavady side, and the Roe Valley players struggled to get any possession though they hung on well as the strong Sullivan players maintained the offensive.
However the relentless pressure paid off in the last minute of the first half, when Sullivan Upper were awarded a penalty, which was scored to give them a deserved 3-0 lead at the interval.
It didn’t take long for them to increase their score in the second-half, and after just 18 seconds they sickened Limavady Grammar with a try that left their kicker with an easy conversion, right in front of the posts.
The kicker, Mark Adair, duly obliged, leaving ‘the Grammar’, who took a lot of travelling support with them from the Limavady, Londonderry, Campsie and Eglinton areas, facing a 10-0 deficit and an uphill struggle in their bid to achieve history and win the Medallion Shield.
Limavady, however, didn’t let their heads drop and began to use the wide options more often, in a bid to get on the score-sheet themselves and reduce Sullivan’s 10 point advantage.
Good running from Matthew McCloskey on the wing, and Joel Stirling with some piercing runs from fullback, offered some glimmer of hope. However an overlap opportunity for Limavady was missed 11 minutes into the second half. Unfortunately, Joel Stirling dropped the ball just five metres from the line.
Limavady produced fast ball in the backs for the next phase, and good running between the centres, but again failed to capitalize.
Then, with just eight minutes left on the clock, good forward work from the compact Sullivan pack earned another try and sealed the result.
Once again, Mark Adair’s accurate kick added the extra two points to give Sullivan a 17-0 lead.
After that, Sullivan retained possesion to run down the clock and eventually kicked the ball into touch to claim a Medallion Shield victory.