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Holy Cross take Danske Bank Schools title back to Strabane after narrow final victory

Strabane's Holy Cross are this year's Danske Bank Girls 11-a-side champions after edging past St Genevieve’s Belfast 1-0 in the final.

The qualifying tournaments were held in five regions across Northern Ireland with 27 teams involved in the competitions and over 416 girls participating in the regional heats.

In the first of the regional heats at Ulster University Coleraine, Lisneal College and St Mary’s College excelled with St Mary’s eventually running out group winners.

Last year’s winners St Louise’s College Belfast booked their place in the finals by winning a very tight match against St Genevieve’s, Belfast in the Belfast/Antrim heat.

In the Tyrone and Fermanagh heat, Holy Cross showed their strength in depth with their A team facing their B team in the final.

In the Down heat, St Joseph’s proved too strong, winning their section while Clounagh Junior High went on to represent the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon area at the regional final.

The winners of each region advanced to the Danske Bank girls 11 a side finals at Allen Park, Antrim. The six teams played each other once with the top four teams advancing to the semi-final stage. St Genevieve’s led the way winning all five of their group games with St Louise’s in second. Holy Cross and St Joseph’s Belfast also advanced to the finals with three wins each.

The first semi-final saw St Genevieve’s beat St Joseph’s 2-0 with Holy Cross defeating St Louise’s in a penalty shootout 5-4. The final was a very close encounter with a single Holy Cross goal enough to win the trophy for the Strabane School.

Speaking at the final, Richard Lapsley, Danske Bank Antrim and Mallusk Branch Manager said: “At Danske Bank our youth partnerships are very important to us and we are privileged to support the Northern Ireland Schools FA girls 11 aside for the first time this year alongside other sponsorships with schools’ rugby and GAA.

“On behalf of Danske Bank, I would like to commend all the teams who played in the competition, especially the six teams who made it through to today’s regional finals and finally congratulations to this year’s winners, Holy Cross Strabane.”

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