Banbridge Academy Rugby Awards Night

Banbridge Academy held their annual Rugby awards ceremony last week to mark the end of their season and honour the teams and standout players for all eight rugby teams in the school. The awards dinner took place in the Belmont Hotel on Tuesday 26th March with 125 players and rugby staff gathering to celebrate the schools’ successes.


Headmaster Mr Robin McLoughlin spoke to congratulate the players and coaches alike. He commended the players on their hard work throughout the season and congratulated them on another fine year in terms of results and performances. He also commented on the commitment of the coaching staff, namely the school staff of Brian Leslie, Brian O’Shaughnessy, Tim Baxter, Jonny Erskine, Jonathan Reaney & Jack Chapman. He also thanked the outside coaches who come into school to help coach; Robbie Ervine, Charlie Farrell, Jemma Farrell, James Campbell, Brian Livingstone, Adam Hanna and the Athletic Development coach Marcus Graham. He paid tribute to all their hard work in coaching, refereeing and organisation of teams.


A special award was presented to Mr Tim Baxter, who is retiring this year, to mark his 25 years of service to Rugby in Banbridge Academy. Mr Baxter coached the Medallion XV for over 20 years and latterly was the U12 coach but his involvement in rugby was so much more helping across all age groups and being heavily involved in the planning and rugby administration. He will be sorely missed by all at Banbridge Academy.


The school would also like to thank their main sponsors this season without whom it would be very difficult to provide the best experience for the players; Little & Company under the directorship of Mr and Mrs Andy Little for their investment in the school rugby programme & Mr & Mrs Curry for their financial support to the Medallion XV. Academy rugby would also like to thank Banbridge Rugby Club for the use of their gym facilities over pre-season.


Individually the Academy also had a number of players who represented or trained with Ulster & Irish age group squads; Connor Magee – Ulster U18 Schools & Irish Schools U18 Six Nations Squad, Noah Bell – Ulster U18 Clubs & Schools Interpro team (Captain) & Irish U18 Clubs & Schools team, Ryan Hanna – Ulster U18 Clubs & Schools Interpro team, Andrew Jackson – Ulster U18 Clubs & Schools Squad, Fynn Niblock U17 Schools v NSW Raptors, Noah Haughey U17 Clubs & Schools v NSW Raptors, Arturs Jonuss Ulster U17 Training Squad and Regional Development U16 – Ethan Houston, Sam Leslie, Harry Davidson, Connor McNamee & Charlie Geoghegan.


The performance of all the teams was commended and with six teams playing each Saturday and two Under 12 teams playing each Friday, the numbers playing the game are certainly on the rise. The five highlights of the season were the fantastic performance of our 1st XV to go undefeated all season until their epic Schools Cup ¼ final, the Medallion XV winning the Medallion Trophy competition, the Junior teams winning the Masters Shield against Dromore, the U12 team winning the Down High Trophy competition and the Senior 7s team winning the Ulster 7s Trophy at QUB.


A full breakdown of the individual award winners is below:



U12 ‘A’ XV          

Player of Year:     Harry Major

Callum Marshall

Junior Szczeszek

Olly Jardine


U12 ‘B’ XV

Player of Year:     Oliver Cairns

Alex Bond



U13 ‘A’ XV          

Captain:                 Zach Watson

Player of Year:     Patrick Hayes

Most Improved:   Liam Kirkpatrick


U14 ‘A’ XV          

Captain:                 Dawson Knox

Player of Year:     Connor McNamee

Most Improved:   Ross Niblock


Medallion XV      

Captain:                 Patrick McElroy

Player of Year:     Sam Leslie

Most Improved:   Harry Purdy


3rd XV                    

Captain:                 Peter Lewis

Player of Year:     Jonny Reid

Most Improved:   Rio Pinion


2nd XV                    

Captain:                 Harry Wan

Player of Year:     Harry Wan

Most Improved:   Peter Lewis


1st XV

Captain:                 Dan Hutchinson

Top Try Scorer:  Darragh Knox

Overall P.O.Y.:    Fergus Alway

U6 P.O.Y. :            Fergus Alway

L6 P.O.Y.:             Noah Bell

Yr 12 P.O.Y.:        Noah Haughey

Most Improved:   Thomas Humphries

Clubman:              Adam Logan

Ulster Rep:            Connor Magee, Noah Bell, Ryan Hanna, Andrew Jackson, Fynn Niblock,

                                 Noah Haughey


Team of the year

1st XV – Best playing record & Schools Cup ¼ final