Dungannon Royal School are through to the third round of the Schools’ Cup but it took a rousing second half performance to see off Wellington College at the Armstrong Field on Saturday morning.
The first half belonged to the visitors and their big pack dominated, as RSD seemed to be in a state of hibernation.
A few choice words from coach, Keith Patton at the break had the desired effect and RSD soon put the Belfast boys under pressure. A converted try plus a penalty in the latter half turning a 3-6 deficit into a 16-8 win at the final whistle.
Wellington made it a perfect start pinning RSD back in the opening minutes. No 8, James Hayes drove forward before lock, Peter Shaw took the offload to dive over on 5 minutes.
The visiting pack continued to dominate but when Jack Milligan launched a ‘garryowen’ the visitors’ infringed and the same player cut the deficit with a penalty on 10 minutes.
RSD then had a chance of a try when a penalty was drilled to the corner. However, a ‘knock on’ at the subsequent drive spoiled the chance. The home side then suffered a setback when out-half, John Buckley was shown a yellow card. Michael Hamilton made it 3-8 with the ensuing penalty.
When Buckley returned Dungannon led an assault on the Wellington line. A quickly taken penalty was called back for Milligan to pop the ball over the bar and make it 6-8 at the break.
The home supporters may have been more than a little concerned at half-time but they were soon cheering when RSD sprung to life in the second half. A visit to the Wellington line looked good when Buckley sent Matthew Montgomery down the blind side. The visitors halted the threat but conceded a penalty that Milligan duly converted.
The Belfast boys retorted but the RSD defence held firm and soon turned defence into attack. With the pack stepping up to the mark a period of pressure and good ball retention saw skipper, Jacob McCammon dive over on 47 minutes to give RSD a first time lead. Milligan landed a super conversion for a crucial 8 point margin, 16-8.
Back came Wellington but their efforts were thwarted when Hamilton sliced a penalty. RSD continued to hold the upper hand and five minutes from time sub, Tim Brownlow appeared to touch down in the corner but the ref deemed him held up. It mattered little though as RSD were already in the next round for another home tie against Belfast High School on 26th January.
Royal School Dungannon: Robert McLean, Thomas Tong, Matthew Montgomery, Scott McLean, Stuart Moore, John Buckley, Jack Milligan, Jonathan Black, Jamie McNeill, Charlie Farrell, David Buckley, Calum Bain, David Leyburn, Thomas Downing, Jacob McCammon (c). Replacements: Tim Brownlow, Andrew Mills, Jonathan Wright, Nathan McCammon, Jonathan Patterson, Josh McKee, Jim Meng, Michael Jones, Matthew Calvert.
Wellington College: Josh Garnham, Scott Foy, Keir Patterson, Owen Jarvie, Jonny Dunlop, Michael Hamilton (c), Andrew Hanna, Matthew Gowen, Andrew McVeigh, Jonny Sylvester, Peter Shaw, Paul Edmonds, David Montgomery, Sam Bridge, James Hayes. Replacements: Jamie Hewtt, Jason Lyons, Glen Higgins, Nathan Lyons, Sam Thompson, Corey Cathcart, Jonny Lindsay, Luke Smith.
Referee: Robbie Watson (Enniskillen)