On a crisp Wednesday morning, 44 boys and 5 staff gathered at Down High School to embark on a 3 day / 2 night rugby tour to Scotland. After an uneventful crossing to Cairnryan and a 2 hour bus journey to Glasgow, the touring party checked into their accommodation before setting off for their first matches against Glasgow Academy. Both teams recorded similar convincing victories with the Under 14s winning 47-7 and the Under 13s securing a 41-5 success. Special mention should go to Chris Beattie and Paddy Browne who were named man of the match in their respective matches. An interested spectator was Northern Ireland football’s record goal scorer and Killyleagh native David Healy who was there to support his nephew Ross Connolly who plays for the Under 14 side. The victorious group returned to the hotel and capped off a long day by visiting the local cinema.
Day 2 began with a hearty breakfast and a bus journey to Edinburgh where the group had the chance to visit the world famous Edinburgh Dungeons. This was an excellent opportunity to learn about life in medieval Scotland and the reaction of a number of the boys certainly dispelled the myth that rugby players do not have a soft side! A spot of sight seeing along the historic Royal Mile saw another encounter with famous sportspeople. As part of Sport Relief, a mile run was being held which finished at Edinburgh Castle and among the participants were Rugby World Cup Winners Martin Corry and Josh Lewsey along with Olympic Gold Medallists Chris Boardman and Amy Williams. Some of the boys took the opportunity to get a photo with the 2 rugby players.
The group then made their way to Boroughmuir High School where the Under 13s recorded a convincing 45-0 victory with Lewis Canning outstanding. Unfortunately the Under 14s conceded a late try and the resulting conversion gave Boroughmuir a 2 point victory. Ewan Keers was awarded the player of the match. The second evening was spent ten-pin bowling in the Xscape complex in Glasgow.
Day 3 began with a visit to the Braehead Shopping Centre for the boys to indulge in a little retail therapy. The good humour shown throughout the tour continued when a number of the Under 13 team decided to invest in fancy dress for the journey home. The long journey home then started and the coach eventually rolled into Downpatrick on the Friday evening to mark the end of a successful tour.
Credit must go to the boys on how they conducted themselves over the 3 days. They were excellent ambassadors for Down high School.