Enniskillen Grammar relishing challenge of battling champions Campbell: Finlay
Enniskillen Royal face the daunting challenge of taking on Danske Bank Schools' Cup holders Campbell College at Fox's Field tomorrow morning.
The young team, who eliminated Down High in the last round, have a number of last season's Medallion Shield semi-final squad regularly featuring in their line-up. They have a great work ethic and their results prove their strength with 14 wins from 17 games.
And they will be hoping for some family fortunes as their squad contains two sets of twins.
Coach Alastair Keys' boys are included - flanker Henry and out-half Eddie - while the Dane brothers, Andrew and Harry, play at prop and flanker respectively.
Eddie Keys is a reliable goal kicker having accumulated more than 100 points and has a high rugby IQ. He controls the game excellently despite only being in fifth form, while full-back Taine Haire is capable of playing anywhere in the backline.
He has a great understanding of the game, the footwork to go with it and can attack from deep.
No.8 Callum Smyton is the leading try scorer and, as well as Justin White, was involved in the Ulster Under-17 team in the summer, while David Simpson, Stuart Brown and Alex Parke, who is also the captain and head boy, took part in the Regional Development squads.
In a talented all-round team, outside centre Robbie Mills is an Irish champion rower.
Coach Ashley Finlay realises the task at hand.
"Campbell will provide a very strong challenge and will start favourites," he said. "We would really have liked a home draw but will be well prepared for the trip to Belfast nonetheless. We are travelling with a full strength team having picked up no major injuries."
Campbell College, with so much talent to pick from, are incredibly difficult to defeat at the best of times but on their own turf are practically invincible.
It has been a successful season for them so far with wins over strong opposition as Clongowes Wood, Glenstal Abbey and Rockwell College.
Coach Jonny Cupitt feels the home draw was vital and hopes for different conditions to the Sullivan tie.
"It was difficult in the wind and we were unable to fully play our expansive style of rugby. Our own pitch will suit us better but we are fully aware of Enniskillen's successes and the fact that their Medallion team did so well," he said. "We have seven back from last season's final and we will be relying on experienced players like Paddy McAlpine, Conor Rankin and captain Rex Tinsley."
The reliable Oliver Ralston will be at out-half and Finlay Parks has made the transition to the centre. Jack Boal is a formidable front rower and Hugh Minford has already shown his talents in the backs.
"We will be at full strength and it's all systems go," stated the coach. "We treat every game as our last and with great strength coming through and the effort we have put in we are hopeful of reaching Kingspan for another semi-final."
Danske Bank Schools' Subsidiary Shield: Bangor Grammar v Ballyclare High, Sullivan Upper v Cambridge House, Down High v RS Dungannon, Belfast Royal Academy v Dalriada
Danske Bank Schools' Bowl semi-finals: Portadown College v Friends' School, Belfast High v Coleraine Grammar