Marlin works his magic on showpiece

The St Columb's College U16 Football Team make it a clean sweep for the school, after beaing Laurelhill Community College 1-0 in the Umbro Senior U16 Cup Final, at Ballymena Showgrounds. (0604GM22)
The St Columb's College U16 Football Team make it a clean sweep for the school, after beaing Laurelhill Community College 1-0 in the Umbro Senior U16 Cup Final, at Ballymena Showgrounds. (0604GM22)

MICHAEL DUFFY put the finishing touches to a remarkable success story for St Columb’s College with a clinical strike in the Senior Cup showpiece but his coach, Brian Trainor paid tribute to the efforts of the entire school for making their hat-trick of trophies so memorable.

It was the first time in the history of the N.Ireland Schools Cup that all four finals were played on the same day and while St Columb’s bathed in glory on the day, their Under-16 coach praised the work of N.I. Schools FA Development Officer, Conor Marlin who made the occasion such a success.

“It’s been a great occasion and I’ll have to pay tribute to Conor Marlin from the Irish F.A who really is responsible for re-invigorating this competition.

“It was a great idea to bring the four finals together and we had all 16 quarter-finals on the same day up in Mullusk. So we have to pay our dues to Conor because he’s done a great job.”

And focusing on the contribution of his own Under-16 panel to the finals day, Trainor was in no doubt that his side deserved the victory over a talented Laurelhill outfit.

“It’s been a fantastic achievement for the school to win three competitions on the one day,” added Trainor. “I’m very, very pleased with my own team, the Under-16s, they’re a good football team but I think we made hard work of it in the last 15 minutes.

“But I don’t think anyone can argue that we deserved the win so I’m absolutely delighted.”

Goalscorer Michael Duffy was no doubt the man of the moment but Trainer also singled out midfielder, Conor Harkin for special mention.

The midfield maestro had a chance to double the College’s lead with a great strike at the start of the second half and set up Adam McKeever with a superb free-kick with five minutes remaining.

“It was a marvellous goal, Michael Duffy’s done that all season but we’ve had some outstanding performances and my own man of the match could be Conor Harkin in midfield I thought he was absolutely marvellous.”