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Wednesday 22 Feb 2023
Over 100 teams compete in schools’ cups for girls’ teams

The three Electric Ireland-backed competitions for girls’ teams within Northern Ireland’s post primary schools are producing some excellent matches.

The cups supported by the energy company attracted a record number of entries for this school year, with 44 teams signing up for the Junior Cup (U14), 23 for the Senior Cup (U18) and 40 for a new nine-a-side cup aimed at Year 8 pupils.

Jessica Foy, who last year coached north Belfast school Dominican College to Junior Cup success in their first year involved in the EI competitions, said the cup for first year pupils was “a fantastic addition” to the cups line-up.

“By introducing girls in Year 8 to competition we are straight away seeing an increase in numbers at training, and it will be exciting to watch them progress into the Junior Cup and Senior Cup squads as they move through school,” she pointed out.

The new Year 8 nine-a-side competition has already produced some fine encounters, although Dominican made an early exit.

Other north Belfast schools came through strongly in the initial rounds of the competition with Mercy College, Blessed Trinity College and Belfast Girls’ Model overcoming Forthill College (Lisburn), Bangor Academy and Our Lady’s Grammar Newry in three very tight affairs. Assumption Grammar (Ballynahinch) defeated Dominican College on penalties.

Other notable performances in the initial rounds saw Derry-Londonderry schools St Mary’s and St Cecilia’s and east Belfast school Our Lady and St Patrick’s Knock, three schools with a great tradition of involvement in girls’ competitions, come through with big performances.

The second round of the Junior Cup had some notable ties with the fixture of the round being between Clounagh Junior High (Portadown) and St Paul’s Bessbrook. An end-to-end affair saw St Paul’s progress following a 4-3 win.

Another school that will be feeling confident as they move into the third round are St Patrick’s Dungiven. They have already defeated Lisneal (Derry) and Cambridge House (Ballymena). Tie of the round, however, is an all-Belfast clash between defending champions Dominican and St Louise’s.

While the Year 8 and Junior Cup competitions are at the third round stage, those remaining in the Senior Cup may already have one eye on the final having reached the quarter-finals.

One school arriving in the last eight with confidence will be Parkhall Integrated College (Antrim). In the last round they overcame last year’s runners-up Mercy College in an epic clash, winning 10-7.

Cup holders Holy Cross College Strabane overcame Cambridge House in the previous round and the Tyrone school will be hoping to progress to the semi-finals when they come up against Fermanagh’s Devenish College.

Parkhall will be up against Dominican in the last eight, while the other ties will see Our Lady’s and St Patrick’s take on St Cecilia’s and Kilkeel High School battling it out with St Louise’s.

Image: Belfast’s Colaiste Feirste were among the schools competing in this year’s Electric Ireland Junior Schools’ Cup.