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Grosvenor eye elusive Bowl joy

BY Ronnie Ingram

Grosvenor Grammar may have lost a few key players but they are still determined to win the Danske Bank Schools' Bowl when they face Portora Royal at RS Dungannon today (2pm).

The Belfast team have had two unsuccessful final appearances - they lost 28-7 to Foyle College in 2010 and 17-7 to RS Armagh a year earlier - but coach Andy Gibson is hoping it's third time lucky.

Gibson said: "Three of our players, Ulster Schools' second row Ben Davidson, hooker Jack Mahon and winger Ethan Fitzsimmons, all suffered concussion in the semi-final against Omagh and out-half Mark Johnston has a hamstring problem.

"But we have two strong ball carrying props in Andrew Boyd and James Cartlidge and we have shown that we can stretch play.

"Jos McConkey is a hard running centre and Daniel Martin can attack from full-back. We go into this final with confidence as once we were defeated 31-14 by BRA in the Schools' Cup, we have been aiming for this trophy."

Before that Omagh win, Grosvenor had drawn with Portadown College 3-3 but easily won the home replay 29-12.

Portora have never reached the Bowl final but won the lesser Schools' Trophy five seasons ago with a 22-5 victory over Omagh.

To reach this stage they overcame Antrim Grammar 31-0 and RS Armagh 17-14 after narrowly losing 14-13 away to Regent House in the Schools' Cup.

They are coached by Rhys Botha and their danger man is full-back Robert Baloucone.

The Schools' Subsidiary Shield semi-final between Wallace High and Coleraine Academy will take place in Lisburn with the winners facing Down High in next Monday's final at the Kingspan.

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