Enniskillen Royal went into Saturday's Schools’ Cup quarter-final confident that if they played to their potential they would give themselves a good opportunity of progressing to their first semi-final in 17 years.

And whilst they did in fact play one of their best games of the season, the power game of the opposition was too much for them on the day.

ERGS started the game with a clear attacking intent and within minutes inside centre James Trotter made a searing break from well inside his half, beating two defenders, only to be chopped down by a third only metres from the Wallace line.

Unfortunately, ERGS could not capitalise and an infringement at the next ruck saw Wallace win a penalty to relieve the pressure. This inability to convert chances to points would be the story of the game for the home side.

The next 10 minutes was edgy and played in the middle of the park, both sides showing steel in defence and neither making inroads in attack.

That was the case until Trotter again made an outside break before offloading to wide forward Amos Johnston. Johnston returned an offload back inside to Trotter who then found centre partner Jake Irwin on his inside shoulder to score the first try of the game and 5-0 ERGS.

Wallace did not take long to get back into the game and with ERGS giving away a few penalties in the middle of the pitch it allowed the Lisburn side to deploy one of their strongest weapons, their driving maul.

They drove a maul 20m up the pitch before unleashing the backs and within a few phases had narrowed the home defence before moving the ball wide to the right wing to score in the corner. A brilliant conversion put Wallace 7-5 ahead.

Wallace buoyed by their previous try dominated the next 15 minutes of the game and managed to stretch their lead to 21-7, scoring two more well-worked tries through their dominant forward pack.

The home side would not let the game get away from them this early and a third break from the outstanding Trotter brought play from their own 22 up to the halfway line.

Good phase play resulted in several infringements from Wallace which allowed ERGS to march their way into the 22. With a penalty advantage outhalf Tadhg Hambly put in an opportunistic crossfield kick for wing Eamon Greene to compete for.

The challenge saw the ball bobble backwards and into the arms of fellow wing Morgan Whittaker to dive on for a second ERGS try to leave it 21-10 to Wallace at the break.

Wallace had the perfect start to the second half winning a penalty on the halfway line and they kicked the ball deep into ERGS territory.

The strong maul once again proved too powerful and resulted in another score putting Wallace 28-10 ahead.

Enniskillen spent the next 10 minutes in the Wallace 22, repeatedly charging for the try line but they were unable to breach the defensive line. Number 8 James Morrison went closest and was stopped inches from the line but a phase or two later a handling error let Wallace off the hook.

As seemed the trend now, once the Wallace side got into the Enniskillen half, their physicality proved too much to deal with and they again forced their way into the 22 and over the try line to extend the lead to 35-10.

The lead seemed almost unassailable at this stage but the home side never gave up and continued to play the attacking brand of rugby that had become synonymous with ERGS over the last few seasons.

This was no more evident than went substitute second row Clarke Balfour went on a rampaging run from his own 22, breaking three tackles and bringing play up to the halfway before feeding flying winger Josh Hicks.

Hicks went for the corner flag only to be closed down by the cover defence but as he was being tackled he smartly offloaded back inside to the supporting Balfour who would score a memorable try under the posts. Converted by Hambly the score was now 35-17 and there was a glimmer of hope.

Immediately from the restart Enda Love’s delicate pull pass put Hambly into acres of space to make his way back up the pitch.

A smart kick from Hambly put the Wallace fullback under enough pressure that he gave away a penalty.

ERGS kicked to the corner and built pressure in the 22 before a deft chip over the defensive line from Hambly saw the onrushing Jake Woods dive on the ball to score.

However, the ref adjudged the ball to have been knocked on as it was grounded and the try was disallowed.

This dealt the final blow to any potential comeback and soon after the full-time whistle blew and the game finished 35-17 to Wallace who will go on to face RBAI in the semi-final at Kingspan Stadium.

This brings to an end the school rugby career for many of the squad who have without a doubt ‘left the jersey in a better place’.