NI SCHOOLS CUP: Grosvenor retain the cup after extra time

Grosvenor's Conor Kernoghan 
and St Columb's Jack Malone
 in action during the St Patrick's Day final at Seaview. 

Photo by TONY HENDRON/PRESSEYE.COM

Grosvenor's Conor Kernoghan and St Columb's Jack Malone in action during the St Patrick's Day final at Seaview. Photo by TONY HENDRON/PRESSEYE.COM

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GROSVENOR GRAMMAR 3-1 ST COLUMB’S COLLEGE (AET)

A Josh Kelly and Stuart Nelson double deep into extra-time ensured Grosvenor Grammar retained the Danske Bank Northern Ireland Schools’ Cup.

With just five minutes left on the clock, Kelly rounded the keeper to make it 2-1, and captain Nelson clinched it two minutes later with a fine finish at the end of a hard-fought encounter with St Columb’s College at Seaview.

The lively Conor Kernaghan had opened the scoring for Grosvenor shortly after half-time in normal time, but St Columb’s Matty Doherty equalised from the spot within four minutes.

The first half at a blustery Seaview was an even slog, both teams eeking out chances to open the scores.

Grosvenor began well but Josh Kelly nodded an early chance wide from Matt Tumilson’s corner.

Another of the forward’s set pieces caused more danger for Grosvenor but when his corner fell at the back post, the shot was well blocked.

Kelly was the only player to work St Columb’s keeper Gareth Muldoon before the break but his shot was well stopped as it was directed towards goal.

St Columb’s played some nice football themselves and twice looked to catch Grosvenor stopper Tim Larmour off his line in the opening exchanges but both Jack Malone and Matty Doherty lobbed over the bar.

Conal Fagan and Matthew Kirk also shot off target as the half wore on but the impressive marauding full-back Kirk also tested Larmour with a low shot.

It took just five minutes of the second half for Grosvenor to open the scoring when Kernohan got his just rewards for a tricky performance. He’ll never score an easier goal, heading home from point-blank range after his captain Stuart Nelson seized on Kelly’s pass and scooped the ball over the keeper.

Their advantage lasted only four minutes as St Columb’s Doherty tucked away a penalty with aplomb after his pass set up Joe McCartie, who was taken down as he rounded the keeper.

Grosvenor’s Daniel Larmour had a good chance to restore the lead on 62 but he headed inches wide from Conor Kernahan’s free-kick.

St Columb’s piled on the pressure with a series of corner at the end of the 80 minutes but Grosvenor held out to bring extra-time.

And it was Grosvenor who enjoyed the lion’s share of extra-time. Kelly had a good chance to edge his side back in front but his header from Kernohan’s cross was straight at keeper Gareth Muldoon.

They got their just rewards in the final five minutes when Kelly rounded the keeper from Matt Tumilton’s pass and Nelson slotted home from close range.

GROSVENOR GRAMMAR: T Larmour, English, Martin, Todorov, Cunningham, D Larmour, Nelson (c), Elliott, Kelly, Tumilson, Kernohan.

Unused Subs: Clarke, Ennis, McDowell, Browne, Kelly, Lindsay, McIntyre.

ST COLUMB’S COLLEGE: Muldoon, Kirk, Mooney, Fagan (Harkin 87), McGilloway, Quinn, Doran (Bullock 41), Malone, Doherty, McCartie (McCarron 92), McEneff (Deery 64).

Unused Subs: Doherty, Mullan, McDonnell.