Wallace High School will face Royal School Armagh in the Ulster Schools Cup final after seeing off a late resurgence from Methodist College in the second semi final on Wednesday afternoon at Ravenhill.
Wallace progressed by virtue of their excellent strike rate, coming away with a score nearly every time they got into the Methody red zone.
Their first venture led to an early penalty for Nathan Doak and the Ulster A player made no mistake to give Wallace a 3 – 0 lead.
Methody enjoyed the bulk of territory and possession for the first half hour and they finally got their reward when an accurate chip from Callum Davidson found Callum Doherty out wide on the right, Doherty bouncing off the defender to go over for an unconverted try.
However, two pieces of broken play running pushed the game in Wallace’s favour.
First up Wallace centre Jack Dillon picked up a misplaced pass close to the half way line to weave his way through the Methody defence to score under the posts for Doak to convert.
Minutes later a break down the left was brought infield for Ben Carson to match his centre partner and power under the posts for their second, also converted by Doak.
Three scores in three visits and Wallace turned round with a 17 – 5 lead at half time.
Methody continued to dominate territory and possession when the game resumed for the second half and the kept Wallace pinned in their own territory for much of the third quarter as the befast side looked to reduce Wallace’s lead.
However a break at the start of the final quarter saw Wallace’s excellent conversion rate continue with Jamie McNeight sliding over after a period of pressure down the Methody end. The conversion was missed, leaving the score at 22 – 5 in Wallace’s favour. Methody were now needing a repeat of Armagh’s dramatic fightback in the first semi final on Tuesday.
In fairness, Methody very nearly pulled it off.
Sustained pressure on the Wallace line led to a yellow card for Wallace’s Charlie Irvine and Conor Spence crossed out wide for an unconverted try for Methody shortly after to take the score to 22 – 10.
With two tries needed the Belfast side ramped up the pressure and battered the Wallace defence. However, they ran out of time and had to content themselves with a try from Harry McCartney, converted by Davidson, with the last play of the game.
Final score: Wallace High School 22 Methodist College Belfast 17
Wallace High School: Jamie McNeight, Harry Wallace, Jack Dillon, Ben Carson, Finn Rankin, Nathan Doak, Lewis Nelmes, Cameron Doak, Joel Dundas, Scott Wilson, Thomas Brolly, Charlie Irvine, Peter Heasley, Harry McMeekin, Reuben Crothers (C). Replacements: Evan Gilliland, Robbie Davis, Nicholas Macklin-Copeland, Matthew Thompson, Philip Kennedy, Harvey Patterson, Carter McCluskey, Joel Wiseman.
Methodist College Belfast: Conor Spence, Callum Doherty, Peter O’Hagan, Callum Davidson, Andrew McMurray, Luke Graham, Luke Simms, Jack Watson, Harry McCartney, Dan Dougan, Matthew Humphreys, Adam McNamee, Zack Porter, Adam Reid (C), Michael Crothers. Replacements: Johnny O’Kane, Callum White, Finn McAdam, Patrick Fullerton-Healy, Louis Montgomery, Alex Armstrong, Ethan Bryce, Lorcan Hanratty.