Foyle College 13
Down High School 24
FOYLE College coach David Barnett admitted his team could have no complaints after they were knocked out of the Danske Bank Schools Cup by Down High School at Northland Road on Saturday morning.
Eoghain McKane reports
Following a poor first half, littered with individual errors by Foyle, the Derry schoolboys started the second period in impressive fashion and fought their way back to lead before throwing it away. Overall, it was a disappointing day for the Foyle coach and his players.
“Down High School were deserving winners, we can’t argue with that.” admitted Barnett, “They had the better performers on the day. We made too many individual errors.”
The local College went into the second half chasing a 12-4 lead after Down had dominated the opening half, taking the lead as early as the fifth minute. Foyle failed to make home advantage count as the visitors went into a 12-0 lead following a try from Ricky Gill which was converted by Luca Rea. Foyle’s only first half response was a late penalty from Neil Burns.
In a first half with plenty of chances, things could have been even worse for Foyle had Down taken more of their opportunities Down but Barrett praised his players for staying in the game.
“In the first half our errors let them in too easily. We were the home team and should have pressured them from the start but we didn’t do that. We let them settle and score early on. That said, we did well to keep their half-time lead to nine points.”
Following the break, Foyle came out in a more positive mood and brought the game to the Down side, with Burns converting one penalty but missing another before Foyle fashioned themselves a lead courtesy of a Ryan Curry try, only to throw it away again.
“The boys knew themselves that they had made too many mistakes. I just told the team we needed to be more aggressive in defence. We came out the second half and took the lead but once we done that we let them in for an easy try. To be honest, we didn’t know much about Down and the Ulster Rugby website had us as favorites and rightly so but they had a good No. 8, a few strong runners, a big prop and a good pack.”
The result means Foyle drop into Schools’ Bowl at the quarter-final stage where they will either face B.R.A. or Carrick Grammar. Foyle however, are likely to be without their captain, Kyle Henderson, who was forced off with an injury 20 minutes into his comeback on Saturday and looks set to miss the rest of the season.