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Club News: Ulster Round-Up

Club News: Ulster Round-Up

…Cooke Beat Clogher Valley To Lift Junior Cup…Details For Bell Lawrie Youth Cup Finals/Roland Barr Under-20 Cup Final…Omagh Academicals Launch Sevens Tournament…Academy RFC Celebrate League And Cup Success…Ophir RFC On The Lookout For Coach…

COOKE BEAT CLOGHER VALLEY TO LIFT JUNIOR CUP: Cooke RFC were crowned the 2006/07 Milar McCall Wylie Junior Cup champions in Portadown on Tuesday, courtesy of a 20-3 final victory over a valiant Clogher Valley side.

The Belfast men trailed 3-0 early on as Clogher hit the front through a penalty from Stephen Bothwell, but their ability to snaffle turnover ball and put Clogher on the back foot saw Cooke soon take control.

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An attack off a lineout saw Cooke maul forward and Daniel Dawson dived over in the corner for the game’s first try. A Johnny Beggs penalty pushed Cooke 8-3 ahead for the half-time break.

Three yellow cards for Clogher saw their chances diminish – Barry John Wilson was yellow carded before the interval and Richard Stinson and Gary Giles were both binned in the second half. Although the Tyrone outfit missed a penalty at the start of the second half, they were never really back within striking distance.

Towns Cup winners over Enniskillen, Clogher’s fate was sealed when Cooke created space for Keith McIlwaine to score a brilliant try which Beggs converted. A further try followed, twelve minutes from time, when Tom Frazer crashed over to rubber-stamp Cooke’s win.

DETAILS FOR BELL LAWRIE YOUTH CUP FINALS/ROLAND BARR UNDER-20 CUP FINAL: This Saturday sees the Bell Lawrie Youth Cup finals taking place at Ravenhill – the Under-14 Development Cup, Under-16 (RB Fleming) Cup and Under-18 (CE Bowman) Cup finals are all down for decision.

This is the first year that the Youth Cups have ever had a sponsor and the Ulster Branch are thankful to Bell Lawrie for their continued support. The afternoon’s action kicks off at 12pm when Dromore and Rainey battle it out for the U-14 Cup. At 1.30pm, Ballynahinch and Armagh contest the U-16 Cup decider and finally, at 3.00pm, Ballymena take on Ballyclare in the U-18 Cup final.

Entry to Ravenhill for the day is STG£5 for an adult and £2 for a child. Parking is on a first come first served basis and the gates will open at 11am.

Meanwhile, Tuesday (May 6) will see the Instonians U-20 team clashing with Ballymena in the final of the Roland Barr Cup at Ravenhill (kick-off 7pm).

OMAGH ACADEMICALS LAUNCH SEVENS TOURNAMENT: Omagh Academicals RFC launched their annual Seven-a-side competition this week with the event to be held on Saturday, May 12 at the Thomas Mellon Playing Fields.

The oldest tournament of its kind in Ireland, the organisers are hoping for another bumper entry and a spectacular day of free flowing rugby at the County Tyrone venue.

“We had a very successful competition last year with excellent rugby and three keenly contested competitions. We always pleased to welcome our regular visitors along with several new entries,” explained main competition organiser Mervyn Beattie, who went on to thank sponsors, Inbev Ireland Ltd. for their unstinting support.

“We hope to attract the same field with initial replies very promising. We are also hoping to attract a lot of previous winners of both the main trophy, the Campbell Cup, the runners-up event, the Waterson Cup, and the Campeasy Cup, played for by the third placed teams in each group. With several All-Ireland clubs confirming at this stage, it promises to be a quality competition”.

All three winners from last season – Dungannon, Crusaders and Clogher Valley – will be back to defend their titles. Other teams to feature will be Ballymena, Ballynahinch, City of Derry, Ards and Queen’s University, who have featured David Pollock, captain of the Ireland Under-20 Grand Slam-winning side, in the past two seasons.

Crusaders, an amalgamation of players from senior sides in and around Dublin, Wanderers and Bective Rangers have all confirmed their entries and lead the challenge from over the border, while Dundalk, and Parkmore, a junior Dublin side, will certainly be there or thereabouts when the silverware is handed out.

ACADEMY RFC CELEBRATE LEAGUE AND CUP SUCCESS: Belfast side Academy RFC scored a notable double over PSNI in recent weeks, with victories in the Gordon West Cup final and the Kukri Ulster Qualifying League Section Three play-off.

Academy held firm to bag a brace of wins – 24-11 and 26-13 – to see out their campaign in style. But in an address to the club, Academy RFC chairman Adrian Brown is already turning his attention to next season and further goals.

“There are many facets in achieving success consistently and accordingly we all played a part in these achievements. This however is only the beginning and I would urge all the players, coaches, management and supporters to harden their resolve for the new challenges we are about to face,” Brown said.

“All three teams must continue to strive for honours in 2007/08 and we must actively seek and recruit new players for the forthcoming season and beyond. Complacency destroys. We need only look around the Ulster Branch and witness how some of the once great clubs of Ulster have plummeted.

“Take nothing for granted- this will happen to us if you allow it! There are many good things happening with our club presently and I would appreciate everyone’s assistance and continued support and I know the same goes for (coach) Rikki (Huddleston),” he added.

OPHIR RFC ON THE LOOKOUT FOR NEW COACH: Ophir RFC currently require a 1st XV coach. This vacancy would suit somebody with ambition who is looking to get a foot on the coaching ladder or has recently retired from playing.

An IRFU Foundation/Level 1 coaching accreditation would be desirable. Anyone interested in coaching the Belfast club, please reply by May 24 to secretary@ophirrugby.com with your rugby CV and contact details.