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Tuesday 28 Jan 2020
South Belfast school win penalty shootout in decider to claim Danske Bank trophy

The girls from St Joseph’s College are the 2019-2020 11-a-side national schools’ champions at under-15 level.

The south Belfast school claimed the trophy after winning a nail-biting penalty shootout against Newry High School in the final.

Ten girls’ 11-a-side school teams from across Northern Ireland battled it out at Valley Leisure Centre in Newtownabbey with the aim of becoming champions of Northern Ireland.

Winners and runners-up from five heats staged across the country in the first part of the school year attended the Danske Bank-sponsored finals for under-15 girls’ teams. They initially took part in round-robin matches within two groups.

Belfast heat winners St Joseph’s College, who scored plenty of goals along the way, topped their group on goal difference. Tyrone/Fermanagh heat runners-up Omagh Academy finished second.

In the other group Craigavon heat winners Newry High School topped the table with Tyrone/Fermanagh heat winners Castlederg High School finishing just behind them.

The other teams competing on the day were Banbridge High School, Belfast’s Hazelwood College, St Cecilia’s College (Derry-Londonderry), Coleraine’s Loreto College, north Belfast school Mercy College and Abbey Community College from Newtownabbey.

In the first semi-final Newry High struggled to break down Omagh Academy and the game went to a penalty shootout, which Newry won 7-6.

In the other semi-final Castlederg started the stronger and scored the opening goal, however St Joseph’s College battled back to equalise. And then a second goal late on helped the Belfast school reach the final.

The decider between St Joseph’s College and Newry High was a very tight affair and neither school could break the other down, which led to another penalty shootout.

Both teams scored their first two penalties in the shootout. St Joseph’s then scored their third spot-kick, however Newry’s third was saved by the St Joseph’s keeper.

Newry scored their next two penalties, while St Joseph’s scored their fourth spot-kick. 

That meant St Joseph’s captain Natalia Orlowska (pictured above, left) was tasked with taking the 10th penalty and she duly stepped up to slot the ball home to ensure the trophy was heading for south Belfast thanks to a 5-4 win on penalties.