CGS First XI defeat Down to book place in the final of Plate

In what turned out to be a thrilling encounter, Coleraine Grammar School First XI beat Down high School after penalty run ins in the semi-final of the schools senior plate competition played at Belfast High School last Thursday afternoon.

Coleraine Grammar School FirstXI with coach Mr Peter Semple. Captain Catherine Lyttle is fifth left in front row

Coleraine Grammar School and Down HS had both made it to the last four after seeing off stiff competition from schools across Ulster in earlier rounds.

After a slow start and with 4 minutes on the clock, Coleraine pressurised the Down HS defence and were rewarded with a succession of three short corners, none of which were converted.

Coleraine GS also had many chances in open play but could not find a way past the Down HS goalkeeper who pulled off some quality saves to keep the score level at 0-0.

Shortly after, still in the first quarter, Down HS scored from a short corner after their initial shot was deflected past a wrong footed Coleraine goalkeeper, 1-0 to Down HS.

Both teams settled into the game following the goal and possession was very much even until half time with chances on goal at both ends.

At half time Down HS remained 1-0 in front.

The third quarter saw some tactical changes from Coleraine GS and they now dominated possession, pressing high into the Down HS defence but still could not find the goal despite having numerous short corners and open play chances.

With less than two minutes of play left Coleraine scored from a well worked short corner, the goal coming from Coleraine’s centre midfield player Amy Symmington, to level the match at 1-1.

This was to be the score at full time therefore forcing the need for penalty run ins to decide the winner.

Under a tense atmosphere the run ins got underway, both teams scoring their first three before the goalkeepers kept out the fourth.

Shots were scored and saved tit for tat with neither team being able to break the deadlock until the tenth when Coleraine goalkeeper Jenna Watt saved the Down HS penalty immediately before Coleraine GS year 11 player Charlotte Mitchell scored the winner.

Coleraine Grammar School will now face Antrim Grammar School in the Plate final on Wednesday, March 11 at Stormont.

This is not the only hockey final Coleraine Grammar will be playing this week. Their Under-14’s will also be in action in the Junior Plate final on Tuesday, March 10 against Ballyclare High School, Coleraine reaching the final by defeating Rainey Endowed School 2-0 in the semi final two weeks ago with goals from Anna Shaw and Kia McCartney.

The Under-14 final will also be played at Stormont.

These are the first hockey finals for Coleraine Grammar since the formation of the school five years ago in 2015.