Coleraine opened the game kicking into the reasonably strong breeze. The opening encounters were scrappy with both sides clearly suffering from a few typical shield game nerves. Despite this Down High made good use of the wind on their backs and made good territorial gains. Indeed, the home team opened the scoring on the 12 minute mark when Robin Wilson struck over a relatively straight forward penalty after the Coleraine back line were a little over eager in their defence and strayed off side.
Down High’s lead was extended 20 minutes into the game when Andrew McNeilly touched down on the back of a strong maul from the home team. Wilson added the extras to take the score to 10-0.
For the remainder of the half both teams showed plenty of attacking intent but ultimately both also defended very successfully. At one stage, this included a fantastic covering tackle from the visiting defence who stopped Michael Donaldson dead in his tracks after he had made a superb break off a well-crafted set piece play. The score remained at 10-0 until half time.
In the second half, now playing into the wind, Down High had a tougher task on hand. For the opening 15 minutes, despite some great breaks in attack from the likes of Alexander Martin, Jack Carlisle, Rhys Patterson and Harris McConnell, the Coleraine defence stood firm and the home side were unable to add to their lead.
In fact, in what may have turned out to be a pivotal moment of the game, Coleraine missed a penalty attempt around 10 minutes into the half. Had this kick went over the margin would have been very assailable. As it turned out the kick drifted wide and from this point Down High stamped their authority on the game running in two more tries before the close of play.
The first try in the half came from Callum Dunn who showed great support play to take a pass off Robin Wilson and dive over. Wilson’s break had come after a large number of attacking phases by the home side had stretched the visiting defence. Wilson also went on to convert.
A few moments later, as the game was coming to a close and the visiting team beginning to tire, Harris McConnell cut a great line and showed great pace to run in for an impressive score off some open play. Wilson missed the conversion leaving the score at 29-0.
The final whistle blew shortly afterward securing a place in the fourth round for the men in green. The draw for the fourth round was carried out on Saturday evening and Down High received another home draw, this time against Wallace High School. This game will be played on Saturday 31st January.