St Columb’s College cruise to Danske Bank Schools’ Cup success

St Columb’s College secured their 12th Danske Bank U18 Schools’ Cup, following an impressive 5-1 victory over St Louis at a sun-soaked Coleraine Showgrounds.

By Kevin McLaughlin
Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 4:25 pm

Mark Scoltock’s side claimed the football Malcolm Brodie trophy as they were always in control and never looked back after Tiernan McKinney’s goal just before the interval restored their advantage.

In fact, the College would have won by a far bigger margin but for St Louis goalkeeper Barry McCloskey, who made a host of big saves.

Joe Curran, Liam Mullan, Jack McFeely and Tiernan McKinney all shone for the Buncrana Road school and their neat passing style was always pleasing on the eye.

St Columb's College celebrate success in the Danske Bank Schools' Cup final over St Louis Grammar, Ballymena at Coleraine Showgrounds. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

St Columb’s started on the front foot with skipper Corey McLaughlin going close on six minutes but his close range shot was well blocked by defender Sam Crawford.

St Columb’s continued to push forward for the opener and a neat passing move ended with Rory O’Donnell’s right wing, cut-back found Mullan on the edge of the box, but the winger’s side footed strike was gathered by a diving St Louis goalkeeper McCloskey.

St Columb’s deservedly took the the lead on 24 minutes after a stunning cross field defence splitting pass by Mullan, released O’Donnell and the right-back’s first touch was perfectly into his stride and he made no mistake firing high past McCloskey.

McCloskey had to make a big save to keep his side in the tie when he kept out Joe Curran’s close range shot and that miss came back to haunt St Columb’s as the Ballymena teenagers broke down field and equalised.

On the half-hour mark St Louis levelled things against the run of play when Lewis Harrison made no mistake from the penalty spot, after he was brought down inside the box by Shane Deery.

Right on the stroke of half-time St Columb’s regained the lead as Tiernan McKinney’s curling 20 yard free-kick caught out McCloskey, after Cormac Bradley had be fouled on the edge of the box.

St Columb’s went close to adding a third in a couple of occasions in the closing stages of the first half but McCloskey did well to deny O’Donnell, after the full-back showed great skill to break into the box before seeing his shot saved and McKinney’s close range shot was kept out by the out-rushing St Louis net-minder.

A superb passing move early in the second half ended with McKinney releasing McFeely and the St Columb’s striker did well to get some space inside the box, but he fired over.

On 52 minutes more good play down the left by McFeely saw him skip away from a few challenges before finding McKinney, but with the goal at his mercy, his close range shot hit the side net.

Moments later McFeely’s pace and power created another chance as his cut-back for Mullan, but he fired wide from 12 yards, but that third goal did come on 57 minutes in superb fashion, as that man McFeely fired high into the net from 20 yards, giving McCloskey no chance.

The woodwork came to St Louis’ rescue soon when another lovely passing move ended with Corey McLaughlin bursting into the Ballymena youngster’s penalty box, but his shot crashed against the crossbar.

Curran did well soon after breaking through a few challenges before feeding McFeely, but the striker’s left footed effort from just inside the box, which had McCloskey beaten, hit the crossbar.

McKinney netted his second of the day on 72 minutes as a superb cross field pass by McLaughlin found the winger down the left and he cut inside before firing home from 20 yards.

McFeely grabbed his second goal in the closing stages when he found space inside the box, before calmly slotting the ball past McCloskey.

St Columb’s College: Joe McConnellogue, Rory O’Donnell, Keenan McLaren, Shane Deery (Oran O’Kane 74), Peter Tracey (Oran Kelly 62), Corey McLaughlin, Liam Mullan, Joe Curran (Lee Duddy 74), Jack McFeely, Tiernan McKinney, Cormac Bradley. (Shane Feeney 62). Subs: Sean Carlin, Lee Duddy, Oran O’Kane, Dylan Watson, Adam Mason, Caolan Hazlett.

St Louis Grammar: Barry McCloskey, Conor McKenna, Bailey Brennan, Oran McMullan, Sam Crawford, Sean O’Callaghan, Conan McAuley, Conor Hastings, Lewis Hector, Lewis Harrison, Dara Martin (Cal O’Brien 58). Subs: Paul O’Boyle, TP McGurk, Ollwier Grzybowski, Kurian Joseph.

Referee: Ben Shepherd.

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