SULLIVAN RE-WRITE THE HISTORY BOOKS

DANSKE-BANK SCHOOLS’ CUP QUARTER-FINAL

METHODIST COLLEGE BELFAST 5

SULLIVAN UPPER SCHOOL 10

SULLIVAN Upper are dreaming of what would be just a second-ever Schools’ Cup final appearance after they stunned competition kingpins Methody on their own patch last weekend to book a place in the last four.

The Holywood school’s 10-5 triumph at Pirrie Park is the first time they have beaten a top-four side in the Schools’ Cup and is made all the more significant given it was Methody who defeated them some 10 years ago in their last and so far only final.

Ballymena Academy lie between Sullivan and the St Patrick’s Day showpiece after they saw off Regent House, with the winners to face either RBAI or Wallace who meet in the other semi-final later this month.

On Saturday, in front of a bumper Belfast crowd, it was Adam Craig’s Sullivan team who  moved into a 10-0 lead after 20 minutes. The impressive Nathan Noble set them on their way when he forced over following a maul, with Irish Schools’ centre Harry McKeown nailing the conversion.

McKeown then extended his side’s advantage with a penalty that snuck in between the posts.

As the half progressed, the 37-times winners began to flex their muscles to gain a foothold in the tie and when flanker Rudy Jordan finished in the corner with five minutes to go until half-time, things were finely poised.

The testing conversion would come agonisingly back off the post and, as it turned out, there signalled the end of the scoring.

The second-half featured a series of penalties and did not flow as well as the first, with Sullivan using the space of the expansive Pirrie Park pitch to their advantage. With 10 minutes remaining, a Sullivan offside would give Methody the springboard to begin their late siege. The visitors though held out time and again, with the forwards putting in a host of heavy hits and winger Timothy Bell needing to stay focused to thwart a couple of Methody attacks.

78 minutes had elapsed before referee Rob McGreer eventually signalled for full time to spark joyous scenes on the Sullivan sideline.

Tickets for the semi-final between Sullivan and Ballymena on Wednesday, February 28 (2.30pm) can now be purchased from the Ulster Rugby website.