Despite the 17 points difference at the final whistle, Enniskillen Royal Grammar School (ERGS) coach, Ashley Finlay, felt the game was much closer than the scoreline would suggest.

The Schools' Cup quarter-final defeat to Wallace High School from Lisburn brought an end to the season and indeed some of the ERGS players' school rugby journey.

 "I think the game was much closer than the scoreline would suggest but Wallace just won the big moments in the game," reflected Finlay.

"And once they had a bit of momentum behind them they were very hard to stop.

"Scoring just before half-time meant the boys had their tails up and were looking for an early try at the start of the second half but the Wallace try was a bit of a sucker punch against the run of play and left us chasing the game after that."

Playing its part in the Wallace "big moments" was their physicality with the ERGS coach feeling this was the difference between the sides last Saturday: "I feel we had a more skilful team and played the better rugby of the two sides, but Wallace bullied us a bit and it was tough to match them in that regard.

"When they have six or seven massive forwards it is hard to stop them on the gain line phase after phase, and eventually they wore us down."

But even after Wallace built up a sizeable lead, ERGS continued to stay true to their playing principles and kept pushing the Lisburn school which pleased Finlay.

"I am incredibly proud of the boys' performance, they stuck to the game plan, they played their brand of rugby and they hurt Wallace whenever we got a chance.

"Unfortunately, we just didn't get enough of those chances until it was too late. It is a tough one for the boys to take as they know they maybe could have scored one of two more tries but you cannot fault their effort."

With the season now over, Finlay also reflected with pride on the group he has coached this season: "They have been an exceptional group to coach, possibly the best group of young men that I have come through the rugby club in school since I have been involved here.

"I just hope they go on to bigger and better things now and there is no doubt they will achieve much more success in their rugby careers as they go to their senior clubs."

He continued: "Stewart McCain, one of the other senior coaches, said after the game that you cannot use winning games as a sole indicator of success or else everyone that doesn't win a Schools' Cup will be classed as a failure.

"We have had an incredibly successful year in terms of increasing player participation across the board, we have improved players' skill and fitness levels on an individual basis and hopefully we have contributed to a small amount in developing them as young men too.

"That to me is as important as winning a Schools' Cup."