EAST Antrim Schools football team were recently crowned Northern Ireland District Cup for the second year in a row.
Captained by David Finlay of Edmund Rice College, the district side finished top of the league format tournament, ahead of North Down, Belfast, Londonderry and Mid Ulster.
The 19-strong squad went undefeated in the competition conceding just one goal in four games and scoring five. Ballyclare Secondary School’s Jordan Malone got the reigning champions’ defence of their title off to a solid start when his penalty gave them a narrow 1-0 win over North Down in the their opening match.
A scoreless draw with Belfast followed before a 2-1 victory in a tough encounter over Londonderry. The local outfit trailed to an early goal from the north west team but Larne High School’s Jamie Mawhinney soon had them back on level terms. The game looked to be heading for a draw until Mawhinney produced a piece of individual magic turning inside a few defenders before unleashing a powerful drive in to the back of the Londonderry net.
A 2-0 win over Mid Ulster in their final game was enough for them to retain the trophy. Larne Grammar’s Josh Hunter and Josh Doyle of Newtownabbey Community High formed a solid partnership at the back and Mid Ulster rarely threatened. Malone found the breakthrough with his second of the tournament before Newtownabbey Community High’s Mark Jeffers headed home to secure back-to-back Cup wins.
Team: Dean Cochrane (Ballyclare Secondary), Fintan Marley (Edmund Rice), Stuart Andrews (Larne High), Josh Hunter (Larne Grammar), Josh Doyle (Newtownabbey Community High), David Finlay (c) Edmund Rice, Jake McNeill (Parkhall College), Jordan Malone (Ballyclare Secondary), Jonny Dallas (Newtownabbey Community High), Jamie Mawhinney (Larne High), Ross Holden (Glengormley High School), Ben Kerr (Parkhall College), Michael Whittle (Downshire), Harry Clarke (Parkhall College), Andrew Neill (Carrick College), Mark Jeffers (Newtownabbey Community High), Kieran McCormick (St Killian’s College) Reece Crozier (Downshire), Tommy Lowry (Newtownabbey Community High).