ERGS 48 Assumption Grammar School 5

On a wet Monday morning, the Enniskillen Royal Grammar School (ERGS) Senior girls squad set off to Belfast to try to decide the destination of the Danske Bank Schools' Cup Final.

After their experience over the past two years in the final, and their great win in last year’s trophy, they should have felt a little more comfortable with their surroundings.

Their opponents in this year's marquee game were Assumption Grammar School (AGS) from Ballynahinch.

This was their first year at the event and they did superbly well to get to the final.

They were driven to this by their captain Tara O Neill, who has massive experience having represented Ireland in their U18 7s squad. 

Impartial Reporter:

ERGS elected to receive the kick-off and Olivia Black fielded and ran straight for captain O'Neill.

Black made her intentions clear that the ERGS Girls meant business today. She recycled the ball to Ross and this then went to the wing where Anna Wilson challenged the line and the attack was stopped just short.

This did not deter the ERGS Girls and the relentless pressure brought a try in the 3rd minute when Ross released Irish U18 international Leah Irwin who delivered the final pass to Freya Brennan to score underneath the posts which Irwin converted.

The Enniskillen girls continued the pressure when Amanda Farrell turned over the ball and released the backs again for Amy Meeke to score a cracking try with Irwin converting to make it 14-0 and the end of first quarter.

A few replacements were made during the break and the next score involved both of them when Gemma Elliott and Livvi Beavis carried the ball straight into the heart of the AGS line.

Farrell then retrieved the ball and it was flung wide where the rapid Anna Wilson went around the defence to score in the corner to make 19-0 at the break.

The second-half whistle went with lots more replacements made. These were hugely effective as each individual who came on had an immediate impact on the game, none more so than Sophie Moore who collected a super pass from Alex Boyd on the wing and sped from the half way line for a try. 

AGS had given so much to the game so far and it was their turn to get onto the scoreboard through their captain O’Neill but she hit the post with the conversion.

Next onto the scoreboard was Madeline Hamill who took a superb team try to the line after excellent play across the pitch.

Victoria Murray stole a ball at a ruck aided and abetted by Jane Black and then it was sent wide by Beavis to Hamill to score to make it 29-5.

There was more to come in the third quarter when Wilson got her 2nd try and this came from more heroic tackling in midfield by Eve Courtney who immediately stole the ball and passed it wide to Wilson for a cracking score which was converted by Meeke to make it 36-5.

Impartial Reporter: ERGS defeated Assumption Grammar School, Ballynahinch in the final of the Danske Bank Girls Schools' Cup.ERGS defeated Assumption Grammar School, Ballynahinch in the final of the Danske Bank Girls Schools' Cup. (Image: Press Eye)

The fourth and final quarter started again with the ERGS Girls expressing themselves.

Just when AGS thought they had ERGS pinned back with a clever kick, it was scooped up by Irwin who stepped through several defenders until their full-back had her lined up, but just before the tackle she popped the ball to the ever-supporting Ross who ghosted past the last defender to score a try under the posts. Conversion was added by Leah Irwin.

The fjnal act of the day was to be from the Fermanagh girls and it was a try that all the forwards had deserved.

After many penalties were conceded by AGS, Black tapped the ball and passed to Farrell who crashed over and with the conversion missed and the final score was 48-5.

Coaches Dee Colville, Ian Ross and Alastair Keys agreed: “These girls are an exceptional squad of rugby players. They are breath of fresh air to the sport.

"While they undoubtedly feel the pressure of big games they play with the skill, flair and carefree attitude that is hugely refreshing. They are a breath of fresh air to all they come into contact with and they deserve every second of their success.”

Co-captains Olivia Black and Aimee Ross were quick to praise all their support on the day and that of Miss Colville who has been present throughout their journey.

They are both so proud to have gone back-to-back in the Schools' Cup Final.

Their next outing is to compete for the Irish National Championships on Wednesday April 24 in Dublin.