Winger Jack Conlin’s 51st minute try proved decisive as Royal Belfast Academical Institution collected the Dansk Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup for the 30th time at the Wingspan Stadium yesterday.
For Wallace High School there was desolation after it failed in its fifth attempt to bring the famous old shield to Lilburn, but having contributed to a marvellously entertaining showpiece.
The difference in the end was T J Morris’s conversions of RBAI’s two touchdowns.
Wallace, who inflicted real damage at the breakdown with a series of turnovers, took the lead in the 25th minute with a delightful score, Kilpatrick’s deft reverse pass sending winger Connor Guiney in at the right corner.
But RBAI took the initiative, the pack setting up a good ruck on the left, then skipper Lewis McNamara powering fully 20 metres through defensive traffic to touch down, Morris adding the points for a 7-5 interval lead.
Out-half Michael Lowry relieved the pressure as Wallace pressed on the restart with some searing touchfinders, but when Stewart launched his No.8 Max Trouton from 15 metres in the 48th minute the big forward was not to be denied, and Wallace took a 10-7 lead.
But RBAI’s experience of the biggest occasion inspired an instant and enterprising reaction. Scrum-half Morris was the key link just three minutes later as he released winger Conlin for a converted try and a 14-10 lead it would defend successfully for the quarter.
When referee Mark Patton blew the final whistle RBAI was ferociously defending a late assault from opponents who came so tantalisingly close to a first-ever success in the competition.
RBAI: A McGregor; J Finnegan, C McLaughlin, J Hume, J Conlin; M Lowry, TJ Morris; J Chambers, R McComiskey, J Dickson; G Bell, C Wallace; L McNamara (captain), M Mairs, E Harbinson.
Replacements: C Reid (for Chambers, 46), N Saulters, D Wallace, A Thompson, P Nicholas, M Young, P Dolaghan, B McGavock.
WALLACE HS: P Hylands; C Guiney, A Cardosi, R Wilson, B Finlay; N Kilpatrick, J Stewart; J Blair, B Pentland, A Weir; G Malley; P Ferguson; S Moore (captain), M Trouton, A Irvine.
Replacements: M Smyth, G Dillon (for Irvine, 57), N Woods, T Baird, G Chan (for Hylands, 55), A Heaps, I Nzewi, A Black.
Referee: M Patton.
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