Foyle College will be seeking to secure their place among the ‘big boys’ when they go in search of a last 16 place in the Medallion Shield against Carrick Grammar on Saturday morning (k.o. 11am).
Foyle coaches Ally Ferguson and Neil Stewart have built a hugely talented squad from the school’s U14s as well as the traditional medallion age group of U15s and they go into the Round Three clash knowing victory will take them into direct competition with traditional power houses such as RABI and Methody.
“There is a real buzz about the school this week because we haven’t got through to this round for a few years and there’s a very good pool of talent in there now,” explained Foyle’s Director of Rugby, Paul O’Kane.
“The boys had a really good win against Larne Grammar in the second round, beating them 0-53 up in Larne and playing some absolutely lovely rugby. Carrick should be a real test but the aim within the squad is to get in with the ‘big boys’. The players want to test themselves against the traditional ‘big guns’ to see where they are at.”
The cup tie forms part of an action packed morning at Foyle’s Limavady Road campus with the school’s Year 8s taking on Letterkenny in the curtain raiser and a number of in-house games which should ensure a big crowd for the main event.
Over recent years Foyle has dropped to tier 3B in schools’ rugby but O’Kane believes the hard work being put in at grassroots level is starting to pay off.
“The boys have put in a lot of work and the likes of Neil Stewart and Ally Ferguson, who are the primary coaches with the team, have put in a huge shift with the boys this year. They have had a couple of big results, like defeating Rainey Endowed.
“Longer term the aim is to get back towards tier 2A and be pushing to play regularly against the likes of RBAI and Methody. If we win on Saturday, we would qualify for the last 16 which would be us in with the ‘big boys’. That’s the immediate goal at the minute but Saturday will be a tough game.”
Foyle College (from): Conor Kelly, Ben Crumley, Calum Spain, Dara Herron, Ben McIvor, Lewis Hodgson, James McKillop, Sam Pollin, Adam Killeen, Chris Boyd, Oisin Reynolds, Finn Curtis (c), James Gamble, Andrew Donnell, Jack Gallagher, Matthew McMonagle, Giedrius Povilaitis, Josh McClintock, FJ Baylis, Nathaniel Reid, James Kelly, Rhys Gillen, Robbie Patterson.