Academy boys aim for Shield success

Ballymena Academy First XV, who play Down High School in the final of the Danske Bank Subsidiary Shield. INBT07-246AC
Ballymena Academy First XV, who play Down High School in the final of the Danske Bank Subsidiary Shield. INBT07-246AC

Ballymena Academy’s First XV will hope to end their season on a trophy-winning note this week.

John Andrews’ side take on Down High School in the final of the Danske Bank Subsidiary Shield at the Kingspan Stadium this Thursday (2.30pm).

After losing to Methody in the opening round, the Galgorm Road boys dropped into the subsidiary competition where they were always likely to be one of the strongest teams left in the competition.

They have already accounted for Sullivan Upper and Portora in the competition and will be firm favourites against Down High.

Ironically, the two schools met at Medallion level last week with Ballymena overcoming their Downpatrick-based opponents 17-5 to win the Medallion bowl final.

Getting to tread the hallowed turf of Ulster rugby’s ‘headquarters’ will be a thrill for the Ballymena boys and a large crowd of spectators is expected to attend the east Belfast venue.

In order for parents and friends of Ballymena Academy to purchase at the discounted School price, Ulster Rugby have set up an online offer from the Ulster Branch website

Supporters of Ballymena Academy should purchase tickets in Grandstand blocks 6-9 or West Terrace 2.

Meanwhile, Ballymena’s final preparations received a boost last week with news of representative honours for three of their players.

Congratulations to Alexander Clarke (Year 12) and Jonathon McKeown (Year 13) who have been selected as part of the Ireland U18 Squad to play against Scotland on Saturday, 21st March in Dublin and the U18 European Championship in Toulouse, from 24th March - 5th April 2015.

This news comes after hearing earlier in the week that Andrew Magrath had been named as a member of the Ireland U19 Rugby Squad for a training camp at Johnstown House, Dublin, followed by a two-match tour to France in April.