This season’s Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup was launched at Kingspan Stadium on Wednesday, while the first round draw also took place.
In March, Michael Lagan became the 37th Methodist College captain to lead his team to victory in the Danske Bank Schools’ Cup. His successor, Saul Herdman, will be hoping to claim a fourth consecutive title for his school.
Richard Caldwell, Head of Finance Centres at Danske Bank and John Kinnear, President of the IRFU (Ulster Branch), made the draw for the first round of the competition, which included five previous winners: Foyle College, Grosvenor Grammar School, Regent House, Royal School Dungannon and Wellington College.
The seven Round 1 winners will be joined in the second round draw by Bangor Grammar School, Belfast High School, Belfast Royal Academy, Dalriada School, Down High School, Omagh Academy, Portora Royal School, Rainey Endowed School and Royal School Armagh. Methodist College, along with seven other seeded teams, Including Coleraine Inst, will enter the competition in Round 3.
Speaking at the launch, Richard Caldwell said: “We are entering the tenth year of our partnership with Schools’ Cup and it is a relationship we are immensely proud of. History has shown that the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup is a truly great platform for young rugby talent to shine - you only have to look at today’s Ulster squad for proof of this.
“Supporting this tournament has always been, and continues to be, a central part of our community involvement and support for youth sport in Northern Ireland and we wish all teams competing in the tournament the best of luck.”
The draw was attended by former Methody pupil Paul Marshall, one of 25 current Ulster Rugby players to have played in theDanske Bank Schools’ Cup. Marshall spoke to the captains about his experiences in the competition and how his career has developed since then.