ENNISKILLEN Royal Grammar School have all but put themselves through to the knockout stages of this year’s Schools’ Cup following what head coach Ashley Finlay described as ‘close to a perfect performance’ as they saw off Omagh Academy in Omagh on Saturday.

ERGS went into the game knowing that nothing less than a bonus point win would do and they went on to achieve that with Finlay acknowledging that the players were determined to get the job done.

“You could see from the outset that despite the weather conditions the boys had turned up to play and score tries. We had spoken about being brave and taking our chances at training during the week but to see the boys be so accurate and clinical under pressure was very pleasing,” he said.

And Finlay was delighted with the performance as a whole from this side, especially given the conditions.

“It was close to a perfect performance,” he said. “There were obviously a few handling errors given the conditions but I thought the boys played a really smart game and controlled the play for the vast majority of the game. We used the wind really effectively in the first half and then knowing we couldn’t kick as much in the second half we started to be a bit more adventurous playing from deep.

“The most pleasing aspect was the level of physicality the boys brought into the game. We know Omagh are a tough, dogged team but our forward pack got on top early and dominated from start to finish.

That result should be enough to see ERGS progress through to the knockout stages although that can’t be confirmed until after the round of fixtures are completed this weekend.

“Looking at the other results from the games that actually went ahead on Saturday it looks like we have progressed. We are level on points with a few other teams but our superior points scored should ensure progression but we just need to wait until all the other games are played for it to be official,” added Finlay.

In terms of the group stage of the competition, Finlay feels that they can take plenty from the games they played.

“I think the group stages have been a fantastic addition to the Schools’ Cup,” he stated. “Getting meaningful, competitive matches throughout the season gives the boys a little extra to look forward too.

“On reflection, the narrow loss to Armagh was a bit disappointing as we matched them well on the day despite having a few key players unavailable. On the whole the boys did everything that was asked of them and the coaches are very proud of the effort they have put in.”