Cullybackey College are Ulster High Schools’ Rugby Champions. The Under 14 rugby squad were victorious in the Under 14 High Schools’ Bowl competition on Tuesday 5th February to claim the coveted title. After coming through their Northern Region qualifiers last Tuesday as winners, they went on to dominate proceedings at the finals which were held at Ballymena Rugby Club.
The finals consisted of eight teams, with two group winners facing off for the winner’s tag. Cullybackey enjoyed a very tricky opening encounter against Ulidia from Carrick. This proved to be their tightest game and they escaped with a narrow 5-0 win. Next up, was a game against Banbridge High School, where they emerged 7-5 winners before winning against Tandragee 28-0 to be confirmed as group winners. Outstanding performances in the group stages were made by seasoned players Daniel Lowry, Max Mitchell, Johnny Wylie and Ben Shaw, with the latter in particular putting in some outstanding tackles and run throughs. Other players of note included Ethan Kennedy, Charlie Glass, Isaac Wylie and Sam Rock.
Many of the squad have only ever played rugby in school and were a real credit to themselves in how they applied themselves to the game. In the final they faced Markethill High School. This was another tight game and only a last ditch tackle from Johnny Wylie and a fine individual try from Ben Shaw allowed the boys to lift the Bowl trophy.
This is the first ever Ulster Rugby trophy the school has won and is testament to the hard work of the boys who were involved. With this success, the school will continue to build rugby teams with the aim of competing in further tournaments, particularly at Medallion and Under 16 level next year.