The Enniskillen Royal Grammar School Year 9 Boys Football Team won the IFA Futsal National Finals Tournament in Lisburn yesterday, Wednesday 16th November. The Year 9 boys played splendid, fast-flowing and attractive football throughout the group and knock-out stages, and ended up worthy winners. Competing against much larger schools, the ERGS boys swept aside the opposition in their group, defeating Belfast Boys Model 5-0 in their opening match, with Reece Byrne scoring four goals and Jack Ovens also getting onto the score sheet. They followed this impressive victory up with a tougher 4-2 victory over Forthill, with another brace for Reece Byrne and a goal apiece for Jack Ovens and Jamal Tavares. The final game in the group stage saw another formidable performance and 5-0 victory over Holy Cross; this time Reece Byrne added another two goals to his already impressive tally, whilst Jamal Tavares picked up the second ERGS hat-trick of the day.
As group winners, the boys then met the runners-up of Group A, St. Columb’s, Derry, in the semi-final. Once again, the boys played free-flowing, one-touch football at a breathless pace and ran out 6-1 winners in the end, with a hat-trick each for Reece Byrne and Jack Ovens. The final saw ERGS matched up against Forthill once more, but with nerves and fatigue beginning to take their toll the boys struggled initially to find their slick movement and passing of the earlier games; however, they settled into their stride after a short while and eventually broke the deadlock on 7 minutes with a great team move, finished off with a clinical strike by Jamal Tavares. The goal eased ERGS’ nerves and they soon were peppering the Forthill goal with shots and bringing out the best of the excellent Forthill keeper. Meanwhile, at the other end, Daniel Johnston also managed to pull off some key saves from a couple of dangerous Forthill counter attacks. The ERGS pressure eventually paid off, however, and before long Aaron Smyton added a much-needed second goal and sealed the 2-0 victory for Enniskillen.
It was wonderful to have several coaches from various schools and the IFA staff come over to the boys at the end and praise them for the football they played and to congratulate them on being a joy to watch. Overall, a wonderful tournament and performance from the entire squad in both the regional and national finals. They have done themselves and the school proud!
ERGS Year 9 Boys team: Daniel Johnston, Jamal Tavares, Reece Byrne, Aaron Smyton, Jack Ovens, Fionn Hambly, Paul McConkey, Fen Columb-Hallewell, Lloyd Dane-Evans, and Aaron Young.