Danske Bank Schools Bowl Rugby
Omagh Academy 24 Rainey Endowed 0
TWELVE months on from capturing the Schools’ Trophy for the first time in their history, Omagh Academy’s 1st XV rugby players recorded yet another first by returning to Stevenson Park on Thursday afternoon to defeat Rainey Endowed 24-0 in clinching the coveted Danske Bank Schools Bowl.
A hat-trick of brilliant tries by man of the match Scott Hemphill and an equally impressive touch down from scrum-half Lloyd Kane secured a momentous victory that owed as much to aggressive defence as it did mesmerising attacking play.
The showpiece final triumph at the Dungannon venue will be viewed as significant progress for the Omagh school and, after skipper Adam Longwell proudly lifted the prestigious silverware, star performer Hemphill, while understandably enjoying his moment in the sun, was quick to acknowledge the huge collective effort that was the key to victory.
“Words can’t describe how it feels personally to score a hat-trick of tries but the atmosphere was brilliant. Obviously I get all the plaudits but all the guys were tremendous today,” he said.
“It could have been anyone, I was just glad to be able to do it for the team. It was a real team effort out there.
“We were well up for it having been here last year and won. The year before we were beaten in the Trophy final here, so we knew what to expect. We knew it would be a big occasion and maybe the opposition weren’t as prepared for that.
“Our coach Mr Hunter certainly had us well prepared, nothing was left to chance that’s for sure.”
While the record books will show that Drumquin lad Hemphill was star of the show, it was a critical 10-minute period at the beginning of the second half that ultimately laid the platform for a resounding triumph.
During that spell Rainey threw everything including the proverbial kitchen sink at the Academy defence but despite twice crossing the line they failed to get the ball down.
Omagh to a man stood up to be counted and when they emerged with their line intact they ran in two scores in the final quarter to secure a memorable win.
Hemphill hailed his team-mates monumental defensive effort.
“That there period defined the game for us,” he added.
“We had been working hard on our defence, in trying to keep the opposition out.
“And more than anything that’s what really won the game for us. It deflated the opposition and gave us the encouragement to go on and finish the game off.”