Friday 18th June, Friends School Lisburn.
With exams coming to an end we finally managed to catch up with our Schools Cup Player of the Year, David McGuigan at Friends School Lisburn on Friday afternoon.
Dave has been a busy boy since his impressive appearances in the Northern Bank Schools Cup. His power packed performances not only attracted the attention of The FRU but also caught the eye of Ulster’s selectors with a call up into the Ulster U20 squad and his recent selection for the combined Ulster/Leinster squad for the prestigious opening fixture at the Aviva Stadium at the end of the month.
Dave is now training four days a week at Jordanstown and Newforge as well as fitting those all important A Level Exams into his hectic schedule! Should things go according to plan Dave hopes to continue his studies with a sports related degree at Jordanstown next term.
Dave started his rugby career playing for Lurgan mini’s aged 8 and played for all the school sides during his time at Friends. Along the way he received call ups for Ulster U18 and U19 trials and was a member of the U17 Development squad and he played in the U20 Interpros against Munster.
Dave puts his recent success down to Hugh McGahey, manager of the Irish 7’s squad and a parent at Friends School. Hugh’s involvement with the school team in Dave’s 2nd and 3rd year helped build up his offload skills as, with Dave being one of the bigger players in his age group, he forbade him to score!
Current 1st XV coach Stephen Robinson also had a big influence, particularly during the very successful tour to Shawingan Lake, Vancouver Island, Canada where Dave received Man of the Match awards when playing against senior Canadian players.
The third big influence on Dave’s rugby life is, of course, his mother who I understand taught Dave how to spin pass in the hall in their Lurgan home!
The FRU would like to wish Dave all the best for the future and I’m sure we’ll be covering him again before too long.
The Front Row Union Schools Cup Player of the Year 2010.
Winner – David McGuigan (Friends)
Runners Up – George Dennison (Ballymena), Tom Saunderson (Larne)
We were lucky to cover some cracking Northern Bank Schools Cup matches this year and throughout the series of games the three players named above all stood out.
Interestingly all three played No. 8 for their schools and they caught the eye not only for their individual performances but also for the impact they had on their teams. All had the ability to drive their team-mates on when the going got tough.
Saunderson had a man of the match performance for Larne against Strabane in the opening rounds and Dennison went on to lift the Schools Cup with Ballymena but it was McGuigan who consistently caught the eye over the series of games with his strong performances and on field leadership in the matches against Larne, Sullivan and Ballymena.