Captain Michael Orr made his mark as Portadown College’s Danske Bank Schools’ Cup campaign kicked off last weekend with derby delight in Lurgan.
Lurgan College held the upper hand in the first half thanks to a penalty but Orr and his team-mates took control after the interval to seal a 7-3 success.
Portadown College’s reward is home advantage when Friends’ School visit town in the second round on Saturday, January 23.
Brett Flack, Matthew Neill, James Hewitt, James Wright, Stewart Hodgen and Peter McKeeman also played key roles in the College victory.
Orr took advantage of hesitancy in the Lurgan College side to slide in for a try before steering over the conversion.
Andrew Symington, the head of boys’ PE at Portadown College, had praise for his players’ second-half response.
“With just four from last year’s Schools’ Cup squad in the panel on Saturday then it was understandable we had a few nerves on show, especially in front of such a big crowd,” said Symington. “Both sets of supporters helped to create a cracking atmosphere and really turned out in numbers.
“Lurgan College had early pressure and moved in front but we still felt confident we could produce in the second half.
“We went into the match with four wins on the bounce and Lurgan also had a decent record.
“Our first full match of the season back in August resulted in a win over Lurgan in which we scored four tries, so that was encouraging.
“We did not panic and were even coming off after the first half feeling as if the tie was under control.
“We gave away a single penalty just and knew we had yet to start playing.
“We had more to offer and were excellent across the second half, with Michael producing as our captain.”
Portadown College will now welcome Friends’ School.
“We edged past them around the end of December by 8-7 so can expect a tight match but it is a boost to be at home,” said Symington. “There is a good feeling around the place at the minute, with the Medallion side also going well and out this weekend in a shield tie.
“There is no arrogance in the squad but just that desire to get on with business.
“Paul Heasley’s work with the boys has been a massive help, in terms of strength-and-conditioning and coaching.
“We certainly appreciate his efforts and the boys are responding really well.”