Larne Grammar, Belfast High and Carrickfergus Grammar have all been handed home draws in the opening stages of this year’s Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup.
Carrick Grammar will kick off the competition when they entertain Strabane Academy in a first-round tie on December 5. In second round, set to be staged on January 9, Larne Grammar welcome Royal School, Armagh, while Belfast High play host to Foyle and Londonderry College.
Ballyclare High School will enter at the third-round stage on January 23.
This year’s Schools’ Cup, the world’s second-oldest rugby competition, was launched at Kingspan Stadium this week by the participating captains.
Last season, Lewis McNamara led Royal Belfast Academical Institution to its 30th outright Schools’ Cup success, following a 14-10 win over Wallace High School.
The launch also saw Ivan McMinn, Head of Business Acquisition at Danske Bank and Bobby Stewart, President of IRFU (Ulster Branch), conduct the draws for rounds one and two of this season’s competition.
The draw is as follows:
Round 1 (Saturday, December 5): Carrickfergus Grammar School v Strabane Academy.
Round 2 (Saturday, January 9): Larne Grammar School v Royal School, Armagh; Lurgan College v Portadown College; Cambridge House School v Limavady Grammar School; Wellington College, Belfast v Friends’ School, Lisburn; Royal School, Dungannon v Winners of preliminary round; Banbridge Academy v Antrim Grammar School; Belfast High School v Foyle and Londonderry College.
Speaking at the launch, Ivan McMinn commented: “We are delighted to be entering the eleventh year of our partnership with the Schools’ Cup and it is a relationship we are immensely proud of. Supporting youth opportunity and achievement is a central part of our role in the community and the Schools’ Cup is great competition to be involved in. History has shown that the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup is a truly great platform for young talent to shine – you only have to look at today’s Ulster squad for proof of this. I am looking forward to another exciting tournament for the teams, supporters and spectators.”