De La Salle into double digits with Schools Cup final win
DE LA SALLE claimed the Danske Bank Belfast Schools Cup for the 10th time in their history with a 3-1 win over St Malachy’s College in the St Patrick’s Day game at New Grosvenor.
First-half goals from Donal Rocks and Declan Dunne had the West Belfast side in firm control at half-time and a further strike from Nathan Fox secured the win, despite Conor McCullough finding a consolation goal from Paddy Burns free-kick and Fox himself being dismissed for a second bookable offence.
De La Salle made almost hit the front after just two minutes, but Declan Dunne was inches away from turning home a low cross from the left. However, in the 10th minute, the Edenmore Drive side did make the breakthrough when Dunne’s left wing cross was contested by Noel Healey and St Malachy’s goalkeeper Aidan Tobin, the ball broke to midfielder Donal Rocks who made no mistake to make it 1-0.
Four minutes later, De La Salle doubled their advantage when goalkeeper Tobin fumbled a corner from the right, Paddy Burns made a goal line clearance but Declan Dunne was on hand to turn the ball home to make it 2-0 and give the Malachy’s a mountain to climb.
Things almost got worse for the Antrim Road side five minutes before the break, though substitute Colm Mooreland couldn’t take advantage of a Paddy Burns back pass and shot high and wide as the teams went in at the break with the score 2-0.
Four minutes after the restart, De La Salle scored a third when scorer of the first goal Rocks squared the ball for Nathan Fox who found the bottom corner with his low drive to surely put the game beyond doubt.
St Malachy’s did give themselves a lifeline on 52 minutes though when Paddy Burns free-kick was headed home by Conor McCullough to make it 3-1. But the 10-men of De La Salle held on, despite having goal scorer Fox dismissed in injury-time for a second bookable offence. It didn’t dampen the celebrations for the Edenmore Drive School who claimed their 10th Belfast Schools Cup trophy.
Winning manager Thomas McGilligan admitted he was surprised by the two-goal winning margin and was pleased to deliver some success after a difficult week at the school: “It was a good victory and to win by two goals in the final is very unusual,” he said.
“We’re maybe a wee bit disappointed with the second half when I thought we could have had more opportunities, but St Malachy’s will be very disappointed as well. They had a couple of close shaves and a couple of times we were doing the wrong things, giving fouls away in dangerous areas and that nearly cost us.
“Today was not about anything that was going on within the school, today was about a game of football with a talented bunch of players and they’ve made a successful result.”
De La Salle: Campbell, Courtney, McCrea (Hamill 63), McParland, Walsh, Fox, Rocks, Wallace (Cunningham 73), McGuiness, Healey (Mooreland 27), Dunne; Subs not used: Byrne; Reid.
St Malachy’s: Tobin, McErlean, P Burns, Ross, Maguire, O’Hare, Gilleece (Doney 67), McCullough, McIllroy (Gallagher 48), B Burns, Slane; Subs not used: Silo; McDonald.