Historic rugby game between town’s two grammar schools

The St Michael's rugby team at training with Graema Hunter from Lurgan Rugby Club and Paul Baxter, coach. INLM4912-142gc
The St Michael's rugby team at training with Graema Hunter from Lurgan Rugby Club and Paul Baxter, coach. INLM4912-142gc

THE town’s two grammar schools came together for an historic first rugby match on Wednesday afternoon.

St Michael’s took on Lurgan College at the home of Lurgan Rugby in a game organised by Graeme Hunter, son of former British Lion, Ray Hunter.

Graeme has been coaching rugby at St Michael’s since the beginning of September and the game offered his proteges the chance to test what they’ve learnt against a school with a proud rugby tradition.

Ahead of the big game Graeme said: “Up until Halloween I’d been taking PE classes for Years 11 and 12 working alongside head of PE Philip McKenna. It’s following on from what Jonny Gillespie (former Lurgan Youth Development Officer) had set up at the school.

“Since Halloween I’ve been coaching after school. There has been strong turn outs for practice and enthusiasm is high.

“There’s plenty of good athletes at the school and all they’re lacking is a bit of positional sense which will come with games.

“This is the first time St Michael’s will have fielded a rugby team in a 15-a-side game against another school. The fact it’s against Lurgan’s other grammar school makes it an even bigger occasion.”

The Lurgan man added: “The end result of this is that we’re hoping to get some of these players up to Pollock Park to play in Lurgan colours. There’s already two of the guys up at the club playing and we’re hoping this will inspire a few more.”

Graeme, who is Lurgan Rugby Football and Cricket Club’s Director as well as Youth Development Officer, is also coaching at Lurgan College and St Paul’s Junior High.