The Columban 2019, the annual publication for St Columb's College, is now available online.  Go to For Parents, Downloads, Publications, Annual Magazine.

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FJM Madden


ST COLUMB’S College created history by becoming the first school to win the prestigious Five Nations Championship twice when they lifted the trophy in Belfast at the weekend.
The Buncrana Road school won the ‘British Isles’ tournament in 2011 and on Saturday, eight years after that maiden success, their U14 representatives went all the way to clinch the 2019 trophy at the Billy Neill Soccer Centre of Excellence.
St Columb’s defeated fellow Northern Ireland representatives, Aquinas Grammar School 3-1 in Saturday’s Final to add the Alan McKinstry trophy to the NI Schools Cup title they won at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium last month.
It’s a talented bunch of youngsters who have clinched three successive Northern Ireland Schools’ Cup titles under the tutelage of coach, Ryan Horner who steps down as the team’s coach.
And Mr Horner was delighted with the achievements of the young Derry lads and reckons the team can go on to dominate schools’ football for several years to come.
In fact the St Columb’s College teacher reckons this team can surpass the success of their 2011 counterparts by winning all seven NI Schools Cup titles.
“The 2011 squad won six Northern Ireland cups but these boys could go and win seven,” he said. “The 2011 squad didn’t win it in their upper sixth year as they lost a lot of players whereas, if these guys can stay together, they can do seven in a row.
“They don’t know what it’s like to lose,” he added. “However, this week proved it isn’t always easy as we drew with the Republic of Ireland team. We were getting beat by the English champions but in the final we stepped up.
“It’s not only a great achievement for the school but for the whole of Derry as well. It will probably take a while for the achievement to sink in but I was expecting to win it.  What I knew for certain was that it was going to take one hell of a team to beat us.
“I knew if we played to our potential we would be there or thereabouts. It was fully deserved!”
St Columb’s met Carrickmacross school, Patrician High School in their opening match last Thursday and while Lee Duddy was unfortunate to see his late effort rise over the crossbar the game finished in a stalemate. The Derry school, however, won the penalty shootout 4-2 to earn a bonus point and keep their destiny in their own hands.
“Our hardest game was actually against the Republic of Ireland team in our first match,” said Mr Horner. “We drew 0-0 and I think the boys were a bit nervous just because of the build-up to it. To be fair to the lads they won the penalty shootout 4-2.”
Next up on the Friday was English champions, Henry Cort Community College from Portsmouth who opened the scoring in the 16th minute when, following a corner, Ben Evans struck a shot from the edge of the penalty area which left St Columb’s ‘keeper, Joe McConnellogue with no chance.
Sean Carlin nearly brought the scores level but his effort rattled the bar and stayed out. St Columb’s fortunes changed early in the second half when Duddy floated a cross into the box which deceived the ‘keeper and found its way into the net.
Toby Steward redeemed himself with a brilliant save to keep the scores level but could do nothing when substitute Jack McFeely bagged a memorable brace which proved decisive.
“In the next game we played the English champions and they were actually beating us 1-0,” recalled Mr Horner. “Jack McFeely came off the bench and changed the game. Lee Duddy opened the scoring for us with a wonder strike and then McFeely scored with an overhead kick. McFeely’s second goal was even better as he chipped their goalkeeper who is 6’ 2’’ and is actually on Portsmouth Football Club’s books. We deserved the win.”

‘Let’s do it for Joe’
Onto the final where they met Ravenhill Road school, Aquinas whom they beat 4-0 in the Northern Ireland Cup Final in 2018. During the early stages St Columb’s hopes suffered a major blow when goalkeeper, McConnellogue was taken to hospital with suspected concussion after he took a knock to the head when an Aquinas player was clean through on goal.
“I was genuinely worried for the youngster at that stage, the tournament didn’t matter to me,” explained Mr Horner. “Tiernan Morrison went into nets which was no issue but the fact he had to go to hospital played on my mind. I thought it would play on the minds of the players too but they went the other way and said ‘Let’s go and win it for Joe’ and they were 3-0 up by half-time. The heads could’ve gone and it could’ve effected them negatively but they showed great character.
“At that stage our captain, Oran Kelly really stood up and we scored soon afterwards. Shae Feeney cut inside from the left and scored a goal which settled the boys. From their corner Kelly played McFeely through and he finished with aplomb.
“Just before half-time Kelly scored from distance with a wonderful free-kick to make it 3-0. Second half we conceded from a free-kick but never looked like we would lose the game.
“We received good news from the Ulster Hospital afterwards as Joe was released and the team said they wouldn’t have any celebrations until Joe was there as he was a bit of an unsung hero for the team. They wanted to do everything together. They all play for different D&D clubs in the youth leagues but they come together as a College team and there are  no divisions.”
So with the 2019 Five Nations Trophy tucked away in the schools’ bulging trophy cabinet, how does Mr Horner rate this current team alongside the all conquering 2011 Nations Cup winners which included the likes of Conor McDermott, Mikhail Kennedy, Rory Holden and Conor Quigley?
“It’s difficult to compare the two,” he said. “Put it this way, we travelled with a squad of 16 players and every player played a game this year. The 2011 team probably had more outstanding individuals who all went on to play at a high level but this team probably had more of a togetherness.
“It was great to see the Derry public came out to support us too which was brilliant. We had a massive following down there and a great representation from the school as well which helped.
“I also have to thank the boys’ various D&D teams who are obviously doing things right.”
With a heavy heart Mr Horner revealed it was his last game as coach for this particular crop of youngsters as he looks to take over the school’s current U12 team.
“I’m actually finished with them now after three years,” he explained. “I’m trying to build another team now, the U12s,who are currently NI champions. I’m looking forward to that.
“After three years I don’t think they can learn anything else from me. I really enjoyed the three year journey with them.”


Simon Collins (Derry Journal)

 5 Nations

St Columb’s College won the Under 12 Northern Ireland Cup for the first time in two years. Their epic journey began back in October 2018 when they were drawn at home against local rivals, Holy Cross, Strabane, recording a most impressive 8 – 2 victory. This result was even more remarkable as the College young guns fell behind very early on, but influential captain, Arryan KC, opened his account, following excellent work by Harry Crampsey. Next talisman, Jack Mc Laughlin helped himself to an impressive free-kick before the effervescent, Jack Doherty opened his account, following excellent work by Malachy Coyle and Jack Kirby, but Holy Cross hit back just before the interval. The second half was all about goal-machine, Arryan KC, adding further gloss to the score-line, netting an extraordinary five goals in fifteen minutes, ensuring his side’s safe path into the last sixteen of the illustrious competition.  

Up next was a tough looking tie away to Belfast side, Holy Trinity. However, man of the match, Oisin Devlin grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck early on, setting up goal machine, Arryan KC to add another to his already impressive account. However, College ‘keeper, Ronan Mc Bride was soon called into action, pulling off a magnificent finger-tipped save, ensuring his team remained in front before Aaron Mc Laughlin, Jack Doherty and Jack Mc Laughlin rounded off yet more fantastic individual displays when adding to the score. Oisin Devlin then stepped up from the penalty spot after a foul on Kiernan Doherty, following great build up play from Caiden Boyle and Caodhan Gallagher, putting St Columb’s into the quarter final with an impressive 5 - 0 score line.

At the quarter final stage, St Columb’s knew they had a stern obstacle to overcome when they were drawn against the ever-improving, Omagh CBS. A lot of credit must go to the Tyrone side 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. Despite this, the College young guns pressed for the opener and this came on the stroke of half time, following neat work from Luke Gallagher and Tiernan Doherty and a thunderous strike from yes, Arryan KC. St Columb’s came out a different team in the second half, but had to wait until the last five minutes of the game to book their place in the semi-final. Kyle Walker floated the ball into the Omagh box where the clinical, Arryan KC was on hand to smash the ball into the net, before Luke Prigent added further gloss to the score-line, following neat work from Evan Quinn.

Next up was a journey to Antrim for a very tough looking semi-final against unbeaten Belfast giants, Boys’ Model. However, the Derry lads blew their Belfast opponents away in the first half with that man, Arryan KC scoring very early on, following excellent work from Ben Hutton on the College left. Jack Mc Laughlin added another to his tally before Arryan KC completed his hatrick just before the interval, ensuring a safe passage into the final where they now faced another colossal task to win the trophy that eluded them last year as they had to play much fancied, Lagan College in the final at Allen Park on Wednesday 01st May, kick off 11 am.

However, St Columb’s started well in the Allen Park sunshine, with man-of-the-match Aaron McLaughlin dominating proceedings in the middle of the park. Despite this, it was Lagan who created the first opportunity, but College goalkeeper Ronan McBride got down brilliantly at his near post to make the save. That spurred the local school into life, and from that point they dominated proceedings. After having a goal ruled out for offside, St Columb’s opened the scoring on 12 minutes when Jack Doherty was fouled tight to the right sideline, and Oisin Devlin stepped up to send a sensational looping free kick to the top corner of the net. Horner’s team continued to go from strength to strength from there. Aaron McLaughlin had a good chance before the break to make it 2-0, but his effort whistled over the top of the crossbar.


St Columb’s College 1

Lagan Valley 0

St Columb’s picked up where left off in the first half, and they doubled their advantage when Luke Prigent went on a mazy run down the right before his shot was blocked as far as Jack Doherty who fired the ball to the corner from the edge of the box. Naturally, the College dropped deeper to protect their lead, but they had a strong threat on the counter attack, and they took advantage of that eight minutes from time. After clearing a Lagan corner, Jack Doherty found captain Arryan KC and he raced through on goal before sending a left-footed finish to the bottom right corner.

To their credit, Lagan kept chasing the game, but the College never really looked under any serious pressure. Luke Gallagher and Oisin Devlin were rock solid at the heart of defence, and their opponents struggled break them down as St Columb’s cruised to yet another impressive Northern Ireland title victory.

Manager, Ryan Horner was clearly delighted at winning another N.I. Cup, remarking, “This is my fourteenth St Columb’s College soccer team. We have been very fortunate in that we have reached ten finals but without doubt this has been our most difficult passage so far. Credit must go to the full squad of players who had to overcome very difficult opposition from the very first round!”      

Coach Xavier Prigent also heaped praise on the 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 their success,” before further adding, “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!” Both 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!” He went on, “Huge credit must also go to Year 13 students, Niall Fielding and Tiarnan McGuinness as well as Year 9 pupil, Shea Healy who are massive reasons why this team have become Northern Ireland champions. Horner concluded by thanking team sponsor, Qualivend for their support throughout the year.


Player Profiles:

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

Arryan KC (Striker and Captain): 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.


Oisin Devlin (Defender and Joint Vice-Captain): An influential vice-captain who makes his team tick. He loves to break up the 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.

Aaron Mc Laughlin (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.

Ronan Mc Bride (‘keeper): Undoubtedly, the unsung hero of the squad with his top class shot stopping in the early rounds, and is a major reason why his team are in the final.

Luke Gallagher (Defender): A 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.


Ben Hutton (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.

Jack Kirby (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.

Caiden Boyle (Defender): A powerful centre half who lets nothing get past him and loves a tackle, making him most forwards’ worst nightmare.

Kiernan Doherty (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.

Harry Crampsey (Defender): Can operate at left back or centre half, which has proved vital for his team. A no nonsense defender who stops all in his way, using his excellent range of passing and dribbling ability to start attacks.

Tiernan Doherty (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.

Jack Mc Laughlin (Midfield): 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!

Zachary Doherty (Midfield): A tough tackling midfielder who never shirks from a challenge. Will put his foot and head in where others wouldn’t dare. He loves to get forward and uses the ball very well when in possession.

Luke Prigent (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.    

Evan Quinn (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 great service for the front men.  

Kyle Walker (Midfield): A creative midfielder who torments defenders with his excellent range of passing and ability on the ball. He has an eye for goal and on his day can be a match winner.

Caodhan Gallagher (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.

Malachy Coyle (Midfield): A hard-working midfielder who loves to link up play. He is fantastic on the ball, which could prove vital in the final!

Jack Doherty (Midfield): A very technical midfielder 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.

The annual ENTHUSE Celebration Awards are a celebration of CPD across all STEM subjects. The awards are presented each year to recognise the impact that teachers and technicians have on their students, colleagues, schools and colleges, as a result of ENTHUSE supported professional development. Successful applicants, whether individuals or institutions, enrich STEM subjects within the institution, and extend the impact of their work into wider communities.

Enthuse Award for Excellence in STEM Teaching, Post-16

Presented by David Thorpe, Chief Operating Officer, STEM Learning

Orla Gallagher, St Columb’s College, Derry (Winner)

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