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Enniskillen girls aiming for more Schools' success

By Ronnie Ingram

Having won the tournament six times in the last seven seasons, Enniskillen Collegiate start as favourites to win the Girls' Schools' Cup at the Kingspan Stadium this afternoon (1pm).

However, the ever-improving Ballyclare High will not let them have things all their own way and are perfectly capable of pulling off a surprise.

Enniskillen had a couple of scares in their journey to the final as they only managed a 3-2 win - there are no conversions in girls' schools' rugby and tries count as one point - over Loreto (Cavan) in the quarter-finals before meeting Omagh Academy.

The lead fluctuated in that game before Enniskillen squeezed through 3-2 in extra-time.

Coach Ally Finlay said: "We have a hard-working team with an experienced core. We play as a team so it is difficult to single out anyone although we do have two Ulster players in Rebecca Pennell and Clare Bowles.

"I expect a free-flowing game and after such a long season we thankfully have no injuries."

Mike McKeever, the Ballyclare Director of Rugby, speaks highly of his girls' enthusiasm.

He said: "The girls really enjoy it, although for most of them it is not their main sport. They also play hockey, football and participate in athletics but they show real enthusiasm. We had straightforward wins in the first round and quarter-finals but then came up against Grosvenor Grammar. They stretched us and we edged through 4-2 after extra-time.

"We are missing a few players due to holidays but will still field a formidable squad. Lydia Mills, Beth Jackson and Storm Cobain, an Ulster player, have been excellent. We start as underdogs but things look good for the future."

Enniskillen Collegiate: Rebecca Pennell, Clare Bowles, Katie Bowles, Maeve Summerville, Holly Bruce, Emma Shaw, Ellie Ingram, Grace Kettyle, Katie Corr, Molly Parkinson, Sophie Magwood, Alison Glass, Sophie Coulter, Jade Ballantyne, Katie Hetherington, India Daly, Ellie Rix.

Ballyclare High: Aimee McKillen, Alex Simpson, Beth Jackson, Claire Lorimer, Laura McCowan, Lauren Kelly, Laure McKee, Lydia Mills, Rebecca McConnell, Sophie Carlton, Sophe McDowell, Storm Cobain, Victoria Glenn, Zara McIlwaine, Zoe Cheshire, Rebecca McCullough.

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