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School Medallion Shield 3rd Round


Medallion Shield 3rd Round Friends School Lisburn 3-5 Sullivan Upper School

On the 18 January Sullivan Upper travelled to Lisburn to play Friends in the 3rd round of the Medallion Shield. The two teams had met twice already this season with both teams having one victory each. It promised to be a close affair.

The game kicked off in drizzly, foggy conditions. Sullivan started the better of the two teams and showed great intent. Good ball from the forwards allowed the backs to break the line and put good pressure on the Friends defence. However the Lisburn side was resolute and they were able to relive some of this pressure when the referee awarded a penalty. The game became quite open with both sides really having a go at it. Friends were given a penalty just past the ten-metre line which they failed to convert. Many handling errors occurred on both sides due to the conditions which made the ball wet and slippery. Territory was what the two teams were looking for and both full-backs especially the ever-reliable Jules Storey for Sullivan did brilliantly well to retrieve the ball from the air and on the ground in such difficult conditions. The set-piece was becoming a big factor and the Sullivan pack were executing both scrums and line-outs exceptionally well. Neither side could get a hold on the game and you could tell that a penalty would win the game. The half-time whistle sounded with the score at 0-0.

When the second half began Friends acquired some valuable territory and possession in the Sullivan half. This paid off for the home side when they were awarded a penalty straight in front of the posts. The impressive full-back duly converted to give the home side a slender 3-0 lead at the start of the second half.

The game was continuing to be quite open and one felt the next score would win the game. Both sides had good territory and possession but failed to convert that into points due to two very good defences. Sullivan were awarded a penalty on the 10 metre-line with about 15 minutes to go. Rory Jemphrey lined up a difficult kick and unfortunately failed to get the three points and Friends cleared their lines. Friends hit back at Sullivan and threatened to kill the game off. Great defence was shown by the Sullivan team to keep them in the tie. Then it was the away side who were piling on the pressure and Sullivan were getting closer and closer to getting an absolutely priceless score. When Friends cleared Sullivan showed great determination to get right back at them and they tried des

parately to force a winning try.

With one minute to go Sullivan’s David Cunningham, who had come on for Stephen Brush midway through the second half, stole a Friends’ line-out in their 22. The line-out which has functioned well all season for the Holywood side came to the rescue again. The Sullivan pack mauled and tried to power their way over. The impressive Friends pack stopped them from doing so. Sullivan were showing great perserverance to try and score and the ball was kept in the forwards. Countless pick-and-go’s were piling heavy pressure on the Friends defence, which stood firm for now. A penalty was awarded to Sullivan. It was the last play so the line-out wasn’t an option for them and neither was a penalty kick. Alex Aston took a quick penalty and again the ball was kept in the forwards. This pressure finally paid off for the away side when flanker Charlie Gregg squeezed in a vital try for Sullivan to win the match! Players and fans alike went mad. The Friends players were in utter disbelief. Rory Jemphrey missed the conversion but it didn’t matter. Sullivan had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. The Holywood side showed unbelievable character for a dramatic win in hard conditions. They advance into the 4th round were they will play Ballyclare away.

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