Girls Rugby - Danske Bank Schools’ Cup final 2017

Commiserations to Grosvenor’s senior girls’ rugby team which was unfortunate to lose-out in a close fought encounter against Royal School Dungannon in the final of the Danske Bank Schools’ Cup, held at Kingspan Stadium on Monday 3rd April.

Grosvenor’s players, who had qualified for the prestigious final following victory at the two previously held qualifying rounds, took their place in the School’s first final since 2014 with high hopes of success, despite the stiff nature of the opposition on the day.

With the privilege of the home changing, an intense warm up and inspiring pre-match talks, the girls took to the pitch with confidence, belief and excitement. The roar of hundreds of Grosvenor pupils, staff, parents and former pupils exploded as the team ventured onto the pitch to begin what was sure to be an entertaining and exciting finale to an excellent Schools’ Cup campaign. From the first passage of play, it was clear it was going to be a match of intensity and high tempo.

Despite the contest beginning with Dungannon touching down for the opening try, the GGS girls soon responded within minutes to level the score, followed by two further tries to put the Marina Park outfit into an early lead. With two subsequent tries in response from RSD, however, along with two disallowed tries for Grosvenor, the score at half-time saw a level scoreboard, of three tries epiece, leaving everything to play for in the second half. 

Following a half-time re-evaluation of tactics and further instruction from coaches Mrs Kirk and captain, Bethany McDowell, the Grosvenor team returned to the pitch with an acute appetite for victory which was heightened only further by an early try which increased the sense of optimism amongst the team and its supporters. Despite putting themselves in such a promising position, however, a lapse in the team's defensive set up soon saw Dungannon avail of gaps in the GGS defence, with the opposition touching down several times to quickly place itself into a 9-6 lead.

Despite having to now fight harder than ever to regain the lead, the Grosvenor girls maintained a relentless level of application until the final whistle when, despite touching down two times to narrow the score during the final minutes, they were unable to do enough to prevent RSD from being crowned Danske Bank Schools’ Cup Champions 2017,  by a final score-line of ten tries to eight.

Although the conclusion of the match was met with a wealth of disappointment on the Grosvenor side, it also brought emotions of immense gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity to play at such an esteemed venue, with a mass of vociferous supporters in attendance and alongside team mates with whom invaluable memories will have been created on such a momentous day.  In particular, a huge debt of gratitude is due to GGS P.E. teacher, and senior girls’ rugby coach, Mrs Karen Kirk, without whose unwavering commitment, belief and confidence in the girls, the team would never have fared so well, and reached so far, within the competition.

Well done to all of the pupils who played so impressively throughout the competition to help bring such success to the school – a full list of the GGS squad is a follows:

Bethany McDowell (C), Annie McKirgan, Niamh Bell, Hannah Blair, Emma Kee, Fern Wilson, Jessica Patterson, Anna Stanfield, Holy Brannigan, Sophie Larmour, Emma McDowell, Grace McCluney, Hannah Murphy, Claire McKane, Jessica Sayer, Louise McAnea, Laura Todd.

Hopefully, with continued demonstration of the attributes which served the girls so well this year, next season’s team may be able to go one better and bring the trophy back to GGS.

 

Grosvenor's girls rugby squad which was unfortunate to lose out to Royal School Dungannon in the final of this year's Dankse Bank Schools' Cup competition. 

Head Girl Annie McKirgan in full flight during this year's final.

GGS speedster Holly Brannigan flies down the wing as the RSD defence struggles to keep up.

A determined Bethany McDowell break the gain line.