St Columb’s College have booked their place in the final of the under 14, Northern Ireland Cup, having already won it at under 12 and 13 level. Their epic journey began back in October 2018 when they were drawn away to current under 14, Northern Ireland Cup Champions, Our Lady and St Patrick’s, Knock, recording a most impressive 10 – 1 victory. Influential captain, Oran Kelly, opened the scoring from a free kick, following a foul on Evan Mc Gilloway after excellent work by Callum Mc Carron on the College left. Next talisman, Jack Mc Feely opened his account before the evergreen, Eoin Doherty and the effervescent, Conor Barr opened their accounts, ending the game as a contest before half-time. The second half was all about wide man, Lee Duddy, adding further gloss to the score-line, netting a remarkable hatrick in fifteen minutes, before the impressive, Shae Feeney helped himself to a brace, which was added to by vice-captain, Paul Keogh, ensuring their side’s safe path into the last sixteen of the illustrious competition.  
Up next was a tough looking tie away to Lurgan Junior High. This proved to be the case as the College lads struggled to break down a stubborn defence in the first half, but it was that man, Mc Feely who added another to his tally just before the interval, following a terrific save from College ‘keeper, Tiarnan Morrison and great work by Oisin Lynch, Cormac Kelly and Joshua Callaghan on the College right. Mc Feely added another three to his tally in the second half as did captain, Kelly. Peter Tracey also got in on the act to add gloss to an already impressive score line, eventually running out, convincing 8 0 winners.
At the quarter final stage, St Columb’s knew they had a stern obstacle to overcome when they were drawn against GAA champions, St Ronan’s, Lurgan. Indeed, St Ronan’s took an early lead, and the Derry lads knew the odds were stacked against them when St Ronan’s added another early in the second half. Despite this, the College young guns pressed to get back into the game, and did so following neat work from Eoin Doherty and a thunderous strike from Shae Feeney. However, College ‘keeper, Joseph Mc Connellogue was soon called into action, pulling off a magnificent finger-tipped save, ensuring his team remained in the game, and St Columb’s soon equalised through that man, Kelly, but had to wait until the last kick of the game to book their place in the semi-final. Just as the referee was about to blow the full-time whistle, signalling extra-time, vice-captain, Sean Carlin floated the ball into the St Ronan’s box where the clinical Mc Feely was on hand to smash the ball into the net, sparking great scenes of celebration from the College youngsters.
Next up was a journey to Moyola for what proved a very hard fought semi–final against an extremely well organised, St Patrick’s, Lisburn. A lot of credit must go to the Belfast champions who gave their Derry rivals little time to settle on the ball. They clearly did their homework, stopping St Columb’s from playing their normal passing game. However, man of the match, Sean Carlin grabbed the match by the scruff of the neck early on, setting up goal machine, Mc Feely before Kelly rounded off yet another fantastic individual display when converting a penalty following a foul on Barr, putting St Columb’s into the final with an impressive 2 - 0 score line. They now face another colossal task to defend their three year unbeaten record when they play North West rivals, Holy Cross in the final at the Ryan Mc Bride, Brandywell Stadium on Tuesday 16th April, kick off 11 am.
Manager, Ryan Horner was clearly delighted at reaching another final, remarking, “This is my third year as manager of this team. We have been very fortunate in that we have won it in Year 8 and Year 9, but without doubt, this has been our most difficult passage so far. Credit must go to the full squad of players who have overcome very difficult opposition to get here!”      
Coaches Xavier Prigent and James Green also heaped praise on their players for their endeavour throughout the entire campaign. Prigent admitted, “It has been an extensive and taxing campaign but the attitude of the boys since the start has made it all worthwhile. They have trained vigorously every week and deserve success.” Green further added, “I have been impressed by both the quality and industry of all the young lads involved. They are a huge credit to the school and it is a privilege to work with them on and off the pitch!” All three coaches expressed their deep gratitude to the parents of the boys for their continued support and encouragement with Horner commenting, “Without them, the exemplary attendance to training would be impossible!” Horner concluded by thanking team sponsor, Qualivend for their support throughout the year.

Player Profiles:

The St Columb’s squad consists of sixteen players with every member making an invaluable contribution to the team reaching the final.

Oran Kelly (Defender and Captain): An influential captain who makes his team tick. He loves to break up play and start attacks with his excellent range of passing. If he is on song in the final, he could give his team a vital edge, posing enormous danger with his dead ball expertise as well.

Paul Keogh (Midfield and Joint Vice-Captain): A busy and competitive player who has a fine range of passing, freeing those around him. He is difficult to dispossess, linking up well with his strikers and has an eye for goal as he has shown throughout the competition. A true winner who brings so much to his team!

Sean Carlin (Midfield and Joint Vice-Captain): The ‘midfield general’ of the team who loves to break up play and start attacks with his wide range of passing. Arguably, the most intelligent player in the squad who reads the game very well. He likes to get forward also, which is a great outlet for his team.

Joseph Mc Connellogue (‘keeper): Undoubtedly, the unsung hero of the squad with his top class shot stopping in the early rounds.

Tiarnan Morrison (‘keeper): A top class ‘keeper who is not only an excellent shot stopper but his distribution is superb as well. Has played a massive part in getting his team to the final!

Peter Tracey (Defender): A tall and powerful defender who leads by example, missing little in the air or on the ground. He poses a real threat to the opposition from set pieces also and is a vital ingredient of the team. 

Joshua Callaghan (Defender): A quality defender who can also operate in midfield due to his immense ability on the ball, giving his team a real spark. His enthusiasm for the game is an inspiration for the rest of his team.

Oisin Lynch (Defender): Certainly the most versatile and honest player in the squad. Can operate anywhere in the back four to equal effect, which is a wonderful option for his team.

Evan Mc Gilloway (Defender): A powerful centre half who is excellent in possession, which helps his team play out from the back. Loves defending and getting involved in the play, which is a tremendous asset for his team.

Callum Mc Carron (Defender): A terrific full back who loves to get involved in the action. He is only too happy to cover for his centre half’s when required and is not afraid to pour forward when given the opportunity.

Shae Feeney (Midfield): Has incredible dribbling ability and unlocks opposition defences with his direct running on the ball. Possesses great pace as well as being an impressive crosser and certainly has a significant role to play in the final.    

Lee Duddy (Midfield): A forward thinking midfielder who has an eye for goal. Has a tremendous first touch and loves running at defenders with the ball, providing crosses for the front men.  

Cormac Kelly (Midfield): Can operate on the right or left to equal effect, which has proved very important to his team. Always plays with a smile on his face and his energy levels and range of passing are a great example for the rest of his team.

Jack Mc Feely (Striker): Arguably, the most skilful player in the squad who has come up with a lot of important goals. He holds the ball up to great effect, bringing others into play whilst terrorising opposition defences with his ‘box of tricks.’ A real handful for any defender who will be hoping to score in the final to add to his already impressive tally! 

Eoin Doherty (Striker): The most natural finisher in the squad who possesses an exquisite first touch. However, he is much more than just a goal scorer, working tirelessly for his team. He has the ability to run with the ball, teasing defences, offering an immense outlet, holding the ball up to great effect, bringing his team mates into the game. 

Conor Barr (Striker): A very technical frontman who is a nightmare for opposition defences when he is on his game. Has excellent dribbling ability and provides a real spark for the rest of his team.

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