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Friday 12 Jan 2024
St Malachy’s off to flying start in Translink competition

St Malachy’s College are the early pacesetters in this season’s Translink-backed Gold Cup competition run by the Irish FA Foundation.

Now in its sixth year, the annual competition involves eight post-primary schools across Northern Ireland who have been awarded the Gold Schools’ Quality Mark accreditation by the Foundation, which supports schools to put structures in place to develop football.

The competition sees participating schools playing each other across three age groups (U13, U15, U17).

Round one matches in the 2023-24 competition sponsored by the public transport company took place in the weeks leading up to Christmas - with St Malachy’s the only school to register victories in all three age groups.

In Group A the north Belfast school, who were overall runners-up last season, proved too strong for west Belfast’s De La Salle College. The U13s from St Malachy’s emerged victorious on a 5-2 scoreline against the new entrants to the competition, while the U15s won 4-0 and the U17s registered a 6-0 victory.

Elsewhere in Group A east Belfast school Our Lady and St Patrick’s College Knock hosted Bangor Academy, winning two games and drawing the other. The U13s won 3-0, the U15s won 5-1 and the U17s played out a very entertaining 4-4 draw.

Group B kicked off with Derry-Londonderry school St Columb’s College making the long trip to Laurelhill College in Lisburn - and they came away with a win, a loss and a draw.

The Under-13 game finished 2-0 to St Columb’s, who have won the overall Gold Cup for the past three seasons.

The U15 game was a 3-1 win for the home side, while the U17 game finished in a 2-2 draw.

In the other Group B game north Belfast’s Boys’ Model took on Ashfield Boys’ High from the east of the city.

In the games, staged at Mount Pleasant, Model came out on top in two of the three encounters. The U13 boys from the Model won 1-0 and the U15s enjoyed a 6-2 success, while the U17 game finished two apiece.

The second round of the competition will take place in the first week of February when De La Salle host Our Lady and St Patrick’s College and Bangor Academy visit St Malachy’s in Group A. In Group B, meanwhile, Ashfield will host Laurelhill, while St Columb’s will be travelling to Belfast to take on Boys’ Model.

Image: St Columb’s College have won the Translink Gold Cup for the past three seasons.