Our Lady and St Patrick’s Knock have been crowned as the inaugural winners of the Irish FA Translink Schools’ Gold Cup.
The east Belfast school secured the title at Gold Cup Finals Day – it was staged at Allen Park in Antrim – where the winners of trophies in three age groups plus an overall winner were decided.
The new Translink-backed competition involves the eight post-primary schools in Northern Ireland who have been awarded the Gold Schools Quality Mark accreditation by the Irish Football Association Foundation.
The eight participating schools have faced each other across the age groups (U13, U15, U17) since the start of the school year, with points awarded for league positions.
Our Lady and St Patrick’s College Knock achieved the most points to claim ‘Top Football Performance School’ status in Northern Ireland.
At Finals Day OLSPCK defeated St Malachy’s College Belfast 4-0 in the U13 final and narrowly lost out to Boys’ Model Belfast on penalties in the U15 final after the game finished 3-3 in regulation time.
They also managed to pick up some points by defeating St Malachy’s 2-1 in the fifth/sixth place play-off in the U17 section.
St Columb’s College from Derry-Londonderry won the U17 final in style. They produced some fine flowing football against near rivals Holy Cross College Strabane, scoring three without reply.
The Derry school finished second overall in the Gold Cup standings after also securing points for winning the third/fourth place games at both U13 and U15 level against Ashfield Boys’ High. Both games ended 5-1.
The post-primary schools taking part in the inaugural competition were: Bangor Academy, St Columb’s College (Derry-Londonderry), Boys’ Model School (Belfast), Laurelhill Community College (Lisburn), St Malachy’s College (Belfast), Our Lady and St Patrick’s College (Belfast), Ashfield Boys’ High (Belfast) and Holy Cross College (Strabane).
The Schools Quality Mark accreditation supports schools to put structures in place to develop football.
The results on Gold Cup Finals Day were:
U13 – 1st/2ndOur Lady and St Patrick’s College Knock (OLSPCK) 4-0 St Malachy’s, 3rd/4thAshfield 1-5 St Columb’s, 5th/6thHoly Cross 2-5 Boys’ Model, 7th/8thLaurelhill 1-0 Bangor Academy;
U15 – 1st/2ndOLSPCK 3-3 Boys’ Model (Boys’ Model won on penalties), 3rd/4thAshfield 1-5 St Columb’s, 5th/6thLaurelhill 0-5 St Malachy’s, 7th/8thHoly Cross 3-6 Bangor Academy;
U17 – 1st/2ndHoly Cross 0-3 St Columb’s, 3rd/4thLaurelhill 0-1 Boys’ Model; 5th/6thOLSPCK 2-1 St Malachy’s, 7th/8thAshfield 4-1 Bangor Academy.
Image: Our Lady and St Patrick’s Knock players celebrate after the east Belfast school won the inaugural Translink Schools’ Gold Cup.