Brave Foyle College bow out of Medallion Shield
Foyle College coach Alistair Ferguson believes the Danske Bank Medallion Shield defeat to Campbell College can provide his players with extra motivation when they regroup to tackle the Plate competition.
The Limavady Road boys went into Saturday’s Round Four tie as huge underdogs against one of the traditional aristocrats of Ulster schools’ rugby on what was the local college’s return to ‘top table’ rugby.
And despite eventually going down 40-0 to their Belfast visitors, Foyle acquitted themselves admirably throughout and Ferguson is hoping the experience will have whet the appetites to compete at the level on a regular basis again..
“Paul O’Kane, our Director of Rugby, spoke really well to the boys after the game,” explained the Foyle coach, “Paul highlighted that we are capable of eliminating a lot of the mistakes that helped Campbell to dominate the game.
“Equally though, it was a brilliant learning experience and that’s the level of opposition we want to be competing with on a much more regular basis.
“While we are disappointed with the result because we could definitely have given a much better account of ourselves against Campbell, we can now use that experience to help us move forward in the Plate competition.
“That competition includes sides like Methody, so we could well get a chance to redeem ourselves.”
In the build-up, Foyle coaches Ferguson and Neil Stewart had highlighted to need for a quick start by the home side but Campbell had their opening try inside five minutes and led 0-33 at the break.
Foyle improved in the second half as the weather deteriorated, limiting Campbell to only one further try and asking a number of questions close to the visitors’ line. Defeat then, but not the end of the story as the locals drop into the Plate Quarter-finals anxious to bounce back.
“There was a real buzz and excitement factor around the school when we found out we had drawn Campbell at home in Round 4,” added Ferguson, “The boys have worked hard this season and we really wanted a chance to prove how good we are as a squad.
“We knew we needed to be at our best and hope Campbell had an off day but that certainly wasn’t the case.
“Credit to the boys, they fronted up to the contact and tried to take the game to Campbell but we soon realised how tough it was going to be. Every small mistake we made was punished with ruthless accuracy. We had tried to do our homework on what to expect but until you face the challenge for yourself, you don’t really know what it will be like.
“Any time we were caught out of shape defensively for a split second, Campbell capitalised on it. We knew they would be big, strong boys - but they were exceptionally skilful and worked really hard off the ball so as soon as they broke the line they had support options left and right.
“We’re disappointed but it was been a good for the boys to play against opposition of that level. Our boys have always shown a willingness to work hard and learn so we’ll take what we learned, work hard and look forward now to the Plate competition.”
Foyle College: C Kelly, C Spain, B Crumley, D Herron, B McIvoe, L Hodgson, J McLallop, S Pollin, A Kileen, C Boyd, A Donnell, F Curtis, R Rankin, J Gamble, J Gallagher, M McMonagle, C McKay, F.J. Baylis, J McClintock, N Reid, J Kelly, R Patterson, O Reynolds.
Campbell College: C Kerr, S Gilliam, R Holmes, C McClurg, D Harkin, J Jeffrey, C Faith, M Murphy, S Robinson, M Rae, J Davies, M Booth, L Kenney, J mcLean, D Graham, C McConnell, M Edwards, L Gray, D Velasco, N Mitchell, c Conroy, J Daly, I Caughey.