O’Kane Rugby Tournament 2014

Congratulations to Grosvenor’s Under 14 rugby team which finished as runners-up at the prestigious O’Kane Rugby Tournament, hosted by Ballymena Academy on Saturday 15th March.

The event, featuring twelve of the top rugby-playing schools within the province, saw Grosvenor recover from an early defeat by Wallace High School to qualify for the quarter-finals thanks to a disjointed 12-7 victory over Cambridge House Grammar School.

Having qualified as runners-up in their group, the team faced Group B winners Coleriane Academical Insitution in the last eight and soon found themselves behind following an early C.A.I. try which led to a 5-0 deficit at the interval.  After a frustrating opening half, however, the team raised its game after the break and drew level thanks to a try in the corner from left-winger Rory Elder.  With the scores tied at 5-5, however, it was left to centre and talisman Ben Davies to convert from the touchline to secure Grosvenor a slender 7-5 lead, which the team maintained until the final whistle.

Victory over C.A.I. earned Grosvenor a semi-final berth against Wallace High School, to whom they had lost convincingly in their opening group game.  Despite this, however, the team used the match as an opportunity to right the wrongs of the earlier encounter, delivering arguably their best rugby of the entire season in a contest which they controlled from start to finish.  After a superb solo effort from out-half Joss McConkey to secure a half-time lead of 5-0, the team stepped up its intensity yet further in the second half and, as Wallace chased the game, delivered the hammer blow when number 8 Nathan Chan crossed over late in the game to seal a convincing 10-0 victory.  The final whistle met with scenes of jubilation from a team that had finally played to its potential to deliver an upset that left the opposition shell-shocked.

The final of the tournament saw Grosvenor face host school Ballymena Academy in a repeat of the previous year’s final.  In a tight encounter each of Grosvenor’s players put their bodies on the line, showing full commitment to leave nothing on the pitch at the final whistle.  Despite matching the opposition for the majority of the game, the team was unfortunate to lose by a single try as a second half Ballymena score in the corner earned them a 5-0 lead that G.G.S. was unable to reverse.

Despite the team’s narrow defeat in the final, its players should be extremely proud of their efforts on a day in which they represented the School with distinction.  The team has made significant strides throughout the season and, with Grosvenor having now been represented in two consecutive O’Kane finals, the future of rugby within the School looks extremely bright.

Well done, once again, to Grosvenor’s Under 14s and we wish them the best of luck as they move up to Medallion level next season.

Grosvenor's Under 14 rugby squad which finished as runners-up at the O'Kane Rugby Tournament, held at Ballymena Academy on Saturday 15th March