‘Danske Bank Northern Ireland Schools’ Cup’ Final 2017: Grosvenor’s Double Delight!

Congratulations to Grosvenor’s Under 18 Football team which incredibly retained the Danske Bank Northern Ireland Schools’ Cup following a 3-1 victory over St. Columb’s College in the final of the competition, held at Seaview on Friday 17th March.

The entire encounter proved a nail-biting experience for every member of the Grosvenor community present, including in excess of five hundred pupils and staff members who made the journey from Marina Park to vociferously support the team on the day. The match itself proved an incredibly close, tense experience, with few chances for either side, but saw Grosvenor prevail following an incredibly dedicated, disciplined and determined effort from all eleven players who commendably stuck to their individual roles and ultimately received their just reward for a superbly co-ordinated overall performance.

Following a tight opening forty minutes Grosvenor broke the deadlock in the opening minutes of the second half when midfielder and team captain Stuart Nelson broke free down the right flank to deliver a searching cross which, following a deflection from the St. Columb’s goalkeeper, was converted at the back post by playmaker Conor Kernohan. Grosvenor’s lead was unfortunately short-lived, however, as St. Columb’s deservedly won and then calmly converted a penalty, through Matty Doherty, to level the scores and, with no additional goals during the remainder of the half the final was, for the second consecutive year, taken into extra-time.

With fatigued limbs on both sides becoming an increasingly significant factor, more space began to open up during the additional period of ten minutes each way and, having kept their shape and discipline superbly despite St. Columb’s enjoying the lion’s share of possession for large periods of normal time, the GGS players finally gained their reward when, in the second period of additional time, Kernohan tenaciously won the ball high in the opposition half before midfielder Matt Tumilson invitingly slid the ball through for striker Josh Kelly to round the opposition ‘keeper and cooly slot home to give his team a decisive lead with only minutes remaining.

With the Grosvenor support preparing for a nerve-wracking final few minutes, however, the team soon added the icing to their cake when, in the dying minutes, captain Nelson again broke down the right flank before cutting inside and, with great composure, passing the ball into the far corner of the net to give his side a well-deserved, now unassailable lead.

Huge congratulations is extended to Grosvenor’s entire squad of players and coaches whose victory at Seaview on St. Patrick’s Day saw the School, superbly, secure the highly prestigious, province-wide trophy for the second time in as many years, following its penalty shoot-out victory over Ballyclare High School in last year’s final. The players deserve massive credit for their performance not just in Friday’s final, but throughout the successful campaign, which included thumping victories over Ballyclare High School and R.B.A.I. in the quarter and semi-final rounds. The full squad of players who represented the School on Friday is as follows:

Starting line-up:

Goalkeeper - Tim Larmour, Defenders - Lewis English, Daniel Larmour, Lewis Cunningham, Daniel Martin; Midfielders - Stuart Nelson, Kurtis Elliott, Michael Todorov, Matt Tumilson, Conor Kernohan; Forward - Josh Kelly.  Substitutes – Reuben Browne, Andrew Lindsay, Jamie McDowell, Jonny Ennis, Paul Kelly, Jordan McIntyre, Josh Clarke. 

In addition, thanks is extended to Jonathan Reid and Jordan Shields who have also played significant roles for the team throughout the season, as well as Adam Davies and Philip Craig who represented the side earlier in the year but have had their campaigns restricted by injury.

Last but not least, enormous praise is also due to Grosvenor’s talented and dedicated coaching team – headed by Mr Darren Tomkins, supported by Mr Martin Winters and Mr David Kernohan, who have now led the side to three finals in as many years – two of which have resulted in victory: a truly outstanding achievement which reflects the high regard in which they are held by the players, as well as the excellent rapport that they enjoy with them.

Well done to every member of last year and this year’s squads who have now ensured that the period of 2015- 2017 has been indelibly written into the School’s sporting history books: we now look forward to, hopefully, celebrating continued footballing and sporting success within the School over the months and years to come.

 

Grosvenor's players celebrate following their victory over St. Columb's College in the final of the 'Danske Bank Northern Ireland Schools' Cup', held at Seaview on Friday 17th March.

Grosvenor captain, and Head Boy, Stuart Nelson proudly holds the Schools' Cup aloft following his team's 3-1 victory on St. Patrick's Day.

Members of the 2017 and 2016 GGS Schools' Cup winning sides celebrate following the extra time win over St. Columb's College. 

Midfielders Conor Kernohan and Matt Tumilson (number 10) compete for the ball during extra time in GGS's Schools' Cup victory over St. Columb's College.