SULLIVAN SET FOR SCHOOLS CUP RETURN!

SULLIVAN Upper’s head of rugby Adam Craig believes Saturday’s Danske Bank Schools’ Cup match will be a special day for the Holywood school.

 Last year’s tournament was cancelled due to the Covid restrictions on grassroots sport, so this will be the school’s first cup game in two years. Sullivan will travel to Londonderry to play Foyle College at 11am, with a place in the quarter-finals at stake. Craig said: “This is the pinnacle of school rugby. It’s a particularly big day for the lads in Upper Sixth, who have been on this journey since first form. Some of them would have played in last year’s Schools’ Cup, but unfortunately it was cancelled. “That makes Saturday even more special. The road trip and the early start is part of the experience.”

Sullivan will start as favourites, but Foyle impressed in their 16-14 third round win over Belfast High earlier this month. Craig said: “Our scouting tells us that Foyle are a big, physical side with a couple of very talented players. It’s their home patch and I hear they’re expecting a good crowd, so it’s going to be a real challenge for our boys. But it’s one we’re excited about.” Traditionally, Sullivan Upper is school more closely associated with hockey but in recent years they have established one of Ulster’s most successful rugby programmes, producing talents such as Conor McKee, George Saunderson and Harry Sheridan. As such, the Holywood school now enters the Schools’ Cup at the fourth round stage, alongside the likes of RBAI and MCB. Craig – who also coaches Ulster Premiership champions Ballynahinch – said: “We view ourselves as a top eight school. We have put a lot of effort into our rugby programme, and we have got the rewards, with good runs in the Schools’ Cup and the Medallion Shield. Individually, three ex-Sullivan pupils have represented Ireland at Under 20 level recently, and we have several current pupils who are part of the Ulster set-up. “We’re working hard as a school to give the boys great opportunities in rugby.” Elsewhere in the fourth round, Newtownards school Regent House travel to Dromore High, Ballymena Academy face Coleraine Grammar in a derby clash, Wallace High host Royal School Dungannon, Ballyclare play Royal School Armagh, Enniskillen welcome Methody to Fermanagh, Campbell College host Down High and RBAI play Omagh Academy.