Academy beaten by Methody in annual Young Cup fixture

On Saturday morning, Methodist College travelled to Ballymena for the annual Young Cup fixture.

Mr James Walker, of the Country Garage, pictured with his sponsorship board for Ballymena Academy's First XV rugby team. Included are: Eddie Kosch, Jonny McKeown, Duncan Maguire (1st XV Captain), Justin Jolly and Mr Alistair McKay.

Both schools welcomed back their representative players and so the teams were close to full strength for perhaps the first time this season.

The early encounters were closely contested, with the home team enjoying territorial domination for the first fifteen minutes.

Methody defended aggressively and, on the fifteen-minute mark, a long-range penalty attempt by Marcus Rea narrowly missed the posts.

During their first foray into the Ballymena 22, Methody generated quick ball through several phases and the ball was moved wide for Conor McKee to finish in the corner. Josh Bingham was unsuccessful with the conversion attempt but didn’t have to wait long to wait for his second attempt.

Following a dymanic maul, Michael Lagan powered over for an unconverted try to leave the score reading 10-0 as the half time whistle sounded.

An early blitz in the second half saw the Belfast school take an unassailable lead.

Poor defence by the home team, combined with clinical finishing, saw both Conor McKee and the Methody winger score tries, both of which were converted by Bingham.

Ballymena rallied and their stand out performer, Jonny McKeown, went over for a score which Marcus Rea converted to reduce the deficit to 24-7.

Late in the game, with Ballymena stretched by several changes due to injuries, Methody added two further scores. Alex Thompson charged and then touched down an attempted clearance and Conor Kelly showed great footwork to score just before the final whistle to leave the final score 34-7.

On this impressive showing, the Schools’ Cup holders certainly look like the team to beat this season.

Ballymena Academy 7 Methodist College Belfast 34

Ballymena Academy: Reynolds, Alexander, Rosborough, Rea, Kosch, Magrath, Hanna; Maguire, McNabney, White, Joe Thompson, Jolly, McKeown, Josh Thompson, McIlroy Rep. Millar, Forsythe.