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Friday 03 May 2024
St Columb’s make it four in a row in Gold Cup

Holders St Columb’s College have won the Translink Schools’ Gold Cup for the fourth year running.

The competition has been staged each year since 2018 and St Columb’s have now won it four times in those six years, which is an incredible achievement for the Derry-Londonderry school.

The annual cup competition involves eight schools from across Northern Ireland battling it out over three age groups (U13, U15 and U17) to be crowned the number one school in the country.

This year’s overall competition went right down to the wire on Finals Day at the Ballymena Showgrounds.

St Columb’s were victorious in the first final of the day. Their U13s defeated Our Lady and St Patrick’s College Knock (OLSPCK) 1-0 in an end to end encounter which could have gone either way.

The captain for St Columb’s on the day, Finn Gallagher, who also received the player of the match award, played a lovely pass through to Aedan Smith and he found the bottom corner to defeat the east Belfast school and take the trophy back to Derry. 

The boys from the North-West then had an anxious wait to see if that was enough to register a better overall points tally than nearest rivals Boys’ Model.

The north Belfast school needed to win both of their games on the day to challenge St Columb’s for the title.

The U13s did their bit by defeating St Malachy’s 2-1 in their fixture.

Then it was the turn of Boys’ Model U17s who needed to defeat Bangor Academy in the U17 final to stand any chance of taking the overall crown.

In a pulsating game, which was packed full of drama, Bangor Academy overcame Boys’ Model 5-4.

Boys’ Model thought they had won the game with only minutes left. They were 4-3 in front in the closing stages, however two late goals saw Bangor Academy take the U17 trophy back to Co Down. Troy Savage picked up the player of the match award after an incredible game.

And that result meant St Columb’s were the overall cup winners once again.

In the U15 final north Belfast’s St Malachy’s College got the better of Lisburn’s Laurelhill. St Malachy’s won the game by three goals to nil.

Irish FA President Conrad Kirkwood, Patrick Ellis (Translink Service Delivery Manager for Ballymena and Larne) and Jamie Brownlee (Team Translink) presented the trophies and medals on the day, while Michael McClean (Irish FA JD Academy Pathway Coach) handed out the player of the match awards.

The Gold Cup is organised annually by the Irish FA Foundation and sponsored by public transport company Translink.

The three teams from each school participated in group stage games (groups of four) to earn overall ranking points and to determine their ranking for Finals Day.

Main image: Players from St Columb’s College’s Under-13 team with the Gold Cup.

Gallery images: The gallery features pictures from the U15 and U17 finals and pictures of the victorious St Columb’s U13 team, the St Malachy’s College team that won the U15 trophy and the Bangor Academy side that won the U17 trophy on Finals Day.