Ulster Girls Schools Cup
Enniskillen Collegiate 9
Ballyclare High School 6
Enniskillen Collegiate continued their stranglehold on the Ulster Girls Schools Cup, lifting the trophy for the 8th time in the past nine years.
Collegiate were without rising national star Kathryn Dane this year, but her loss failed to diminish the quality of the Enniskillen outfit as they sparkled on their way to a three try win over Ballyclare.
Indeed that win was all the more impressive given the quality of the Ballyclare High School outfit. Featuring some excellent players who also compete at a high level with their local athletics club, Ballyclare posed a more nuanced and dynamic threat than that presented by Victoria College in last year’s decider.
But in the end it was the better handling skills of the Fermanagh girls which decided the tie as they worked every blade of grass on the pitch to engineer scores.
The reigning champions scampered into a three try lead in the opening stages of the game before Ballyclare hit back to leave the interval scores pegged at 4-2 in favour of Collegiate.
The Antrim girls must have got a fairly rollicking at the break though, for they came out with all guns blazing in the opening five minutes of the second half and had Collegiate rocking back on their heels as they tried to fend off attacks.
However Enniskillen recovered control and added three tries to make it 7-3 and from there on it was a case of experienced game management from there to the final whistle.
The Enniskillen Collegiate starting 15 was Claire Boles, Ellie Ingram, Emma Shaw, Grace Kettyle, Katie Boles, Katie Corr, Katie Hetherington Maeve Sommerville, Molly Parkinson, Sophie Coalter, Sophie Magwood and captain Rebecca Pennell who gathered the Schools Cup in front a partisan Collegiate crowd packed in at the Kingspan stadium.
Reserves Alison Glass, Holly Bruce, Jade Ballantine, Phoebe Langham and India Daly all saw game time and played a valuable part in brining the Schools Cup back to Collegiate for one last time.
Team managers Terry and Ally Finlay also deserve great credit for the work they put in with the side over the season to bring them back to the pinnacle once again.
Next up for the Enniskillen school is the sevens contact rugby competition which gets going next month and the Schools Cup champions will be eager to bring their fine form forward into that competition.[portfolio_slideshow id=32270]
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition