OMAGH CBS U13 soccer team were crowned NI Schools’ Cup champions on Wednesday last when they defeated Our Lady and St Patrick’s, Knock (OLSPK) 4-3 in a pulsating final at Allen Park, Antrim.
The CBS boys brought home the Schools’ Cup for only the second time in the school’s history, after winning the competition for the first time in 2017.
Sean Broderick and Tom Papakyriacou-Gavin were causing problems down both flanks and after fifteen minutes Papakyriacou-Gavin beat his man and sent over a great cross which Donnelly met with a powerful header only to see the ball rebound back off the crossbar.
On the other flank Broderick worked his way to the byline and his pullback was met by Reece McAleer who thought he had scored only
for the OLSPK defender to push the ball onto the crossbar with his hand.
Controversially the referee waved play on and two minutes later, against the run of play, Omagh found themselves a goal down as the OLSPK striker got himself free on the right side and drove into the box and despite a last ditch block by John Edgar, the rebound fell fortunately for the Belfast side and the striker fired the rebound past keeper Aidan Colton.
It did not take long for the CBS to restore parity as five minutes later Broderick again beat his man and fired a low cross into the box which fell kindly for McAleer who made no mistake, firing high into the net.
The CBS were well on top at this stage and the centre-back pairing of Nathan Farry and Dillon Chism were coping very well with any threat posed by OLSPK and showed great composure on the ball to give the CBS a solid platform from which to launch their attacks.
The CBS started the second half brightly and within five minutes they got themselves in front as Donnelly seized on some hesitation at the back to win the ball and drive through on goal to coolly slot into the bottom right corner.
OLSPK fought back and drew level within three minutes as a cross from the left evaded Edgar at the back post and the OLSPK winger made no mistake from six yards.
Despite this setback, captain Daly kept driving his team forward and Donnelly produced a piece of magic as he chested down a long ball from Chism and despite a stumble rose to his feet to turn and fire an unstoppable drive into the top left corner from fully 25 yards.
The CBS grew in confidence after that and didn’t have to wait long to score their fourth.
Papakyriacou-Gavin was a constant threat down the left side and it was from one run that he found Donnelly on the left side of the box and the frontman duly cut inside to fire a low drive into the bottom left corner to complete his hat-trick.
With ten minutes to go however, OLSPK were thrown a lifeline as the referee harshly awarded a penalty for handball against Broderick and the OLSPK striker calmly slotted home to reduce the deficit to one goal.
A nervy ten minutes followed but the Omagh side stood firm until the final whistle to take the crown of Schools’ Cup champions.
Being crowned the best in the country is a magnificent achievement and the CBS have now qualified for the UK Championships which take place in England in May 2020.
A special mention must go to the travelling support who pushed the boys on until the very end.
OMAGH CBS: Aidan Colton, John Edgar, Conor Pritchard (Oisin Teague), Dillon Chism, Nathan Farry, Callum Daly, Paudi Dillon, Sean Broderick (Ben Kelly), Tom Papakyriacou-Gavin (Brian Gallagher), Reece McAleer, Charlie Donnelly. Subs: Nathan McGlinchey, Cormac Hughes, Jack Law