St Eunan’s College of Letterkenny won their second All-Ireland in a week when they defeated De La Salle from Waterford on Wednesday afternoon in the Umbro FAI Schools Minor Boys (U-15) cup final.
St Eunan’s College, Letterkenny 1
De La Salle, Waterford 0
The side managed by Ollie Horgan and Michael Kelly had Kieran McPherson’s 43rd minute goal to thank at the Oscar Traynor Centre in Coolock in a game that was in the melting pot right to the final whistle. The win means the U-15 trophy can be added the U-17 triumph sealed eight days earlier against the same opponents, Munster champions De La Salle.
Ulster champions St Eunan’s, who defeated St Benildus College from Stillorgan 2-0 in the semi-final at Monaghan United’s Gortakeegan, had Rory Carr in fine form in the opening stages. The goalkeeper saved well from midfielder Hayden Galibert’s header inside of 10 minutes, while Eoin Daly and, in particular, Aaron O’Connor were constantly probing for the team managed by Mark Moore and Paidi Nevin, who had defeated St Joseph’s College from Galway 3-1 after extra-time in the last four in Tullamore.
Then, after Darragh McWalters was penalised for a foul, Carr was again alert enough to save a fizzing strike from the impressive O’Connor. On the stroke of half-time, the same player shot just wide of the St Eunan’s post.
Although De La Salle shaped the opening period, in terms of chances at least, St Eunan’s front pairing of Patrick Diver and McPherson were linking well and it was the Letterkenny Rovers frontman who grabbed the only goal of the game eight minutes after the restart.
McPherson netted following an excellent turn in the box and coolly slotted into the bottom corner past De Le Salle netminder Stephen Doheny, finishing with real aplomb.
That gave the north-westerners something to hold onto but their best form of defence was attack and it was a frenetic finished as both teams pushed forward. With 15 minutes remaining, McPherson went through one-on-one with Doheny but was denied what would have in all likelihood been the clincher by an excellent save from the goalkeeper. Moments later, McPherson’s striker partner Diver shot agonisingly over the crossbar.
A single-goal lead is always a precarious one and with time almost up De La Salle won a corner. With almost every player on the field camped in the St Eunan’s box, including Doheny, it was a grandstand finish if ever there was one as Dylan McGuire delivered. St Eunan’s, though, survived and were delighted to make it a double.
St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny: Rory Carr, Nathan McElwaine, Darragh Harper, Liam Blaney, Darragh McWalters, Oisin Hassett, Paul O’Brien, Ciaran Maloney, Kieran Mc Pherson, Patrick Diver, Caolan McDaid.
De La Salle College, Waterford: Stephen Doheny, Chris Thomas, Dylan McGuire, Roy Butler, Eddie Meaney, Robert Ryan, Luke Doherty, Hayden Galibert (Aidan Holden 59), Eoin Daly (Conor Dalton 49), Aaron O’Connor, Dean Walsh (Kyle Collins 45).
Referee: David Davidson.