An Occasion And A Night To Remember As Under 15’s lift National Cup
Corinthian Boys 2 St. Marys 1
On a night few associated with the Club will ever forget, Corinthians Under 15 Premier squad captured the historic “Evans” National Cup when they defeated local rivals St. Marys in a highly entertaining final.
It was an extraordinary night for many reasons not least was the game being played before what must have been a record crowd for a schoolboy game as 2,000 + supporters flocked to Turners Cross for the decider. There were still large queues outside the ground as the game kicked off at 7.30pm.
Which ever team won or lost on the night the big plus was that the Evans Cup was returning to Cork for the first time in 53 years with Wembly in 1964 the last Cork team to lift the trophy. A number of the players from Wembly and the only other Cork team to win the trophy “Tower Rovers” were introduced to the crowd at half time and this only further added to what was already a special night.
The atmosphere was electric as the game kicked off and both sides opened brightly with the game swinging from end to end; it was Corinthians who were to make the vital breakthrough on ten minutes when from a Mathew Healy corner Destiny Okonkwo was on hand to apply the finishing touch from close range to put Corinthians in front. At this stage Corinthians looked reasonably confortable with the back four of Kyle Donovan, Eoin Redmond, Jason Riordan and Alex Hill very solid; however as would be expected of a side of St. Marys quality they responded well to this setback taking the game to Corinthians and they got their reward on 25 minutes when the excellent Jamie O’ Leary curled a superb free kick beyond the reach of Corinthians net minder Antonio Miguel Archeta. The excitement was now at fever pitch and both sides had chances to take the lead before the break with the always dangerous Robert Geaney O’ Brien firing narrowly wide for Corinthians.
The introduction of the Tower and Wembly teams at half time only seemed to raise the level of expectation for the second half and the large crowd was not disappointed as the second half action began at a hectic pace. It was St. Marys who opened the brighter and it took some good handling from Corinthians keeper Aontonio Miguel Archeta to keep the sides on level terms.
The introduction of George Coomber into the Corinthians midfield ten minutes into the second period seemed to settle Corinthians with Mathew Healy pushing further forward and coming more into the game. Corinthians now looked the likelier side and after Robert Geaney O’ Brien had fired just over, the pressure on St. Marys back four eventually paid off when a St. Marys defender was penalized for handling in the penalty area and Mathew Healy stepped up to coolly slot home the resulting penalty.
To their credit St. Marys again responded well and were nearly back on level terms again when a free kick ran straight across the Corinthians six-yard box with no one getting a touch. Time seemed to stand still at this stage as St. Marys piled on the pressure but with Antonio very secure in goal Corinthians held on for a famous victory
Congratulations to Cork Schoolboys League and the SFAI on what was a night to remember for Cork soccer and schoolboy football. Superbly organized and played on a superb surface before what must have been a record crowd for a schoolboy match, what more could a young schoolboy player want or wish for. When the final whistle went and the crowd streamed on to the pitch it was akin to images we have seen in the past of great days for Munster Rugby or All Ireland finals in Croke Park.
Commiserations to St. Marys, it is not a pleasant feeling losing a National Cup final but they have so much to be proud of. St. Marys is a Club with a fantastic history and tradition and this current crop of under 15’s are an excellent side and in truth there was little between the two sides on the night. They had terrific support and I don’t think as a Club could have done any more.
Congratulations to the Corinthians management team of Mark Redmond, Craig Donnellan and John Meade. Mark and John have been involved with this group of players since they were six years of age while Craig played with Corinthians since he was six year’s old, a schoolboy international he was part of one of the best schoolboy teams the Club ever produced and now plays League Of Ireland with Cobh Ramblers but gives his time every week coaching the under 15 Premier squad as well as some of our younger squads. The trio’s ability and dedication has made this dream possible.
Congratulations to the players and their families; the squad has endured the agony of losing the last two finals which would have killed off leaser teams but this squad is made of stern stuff with great character and they knuckled down used the disappointment as a motivation tool and got their deserved reward.
Special mention for the injured Cian O’ Leary and Sean Cantillon, the two lads had played in the two previous finals but suffered injury this season with Cian having a knee operation and Sean breaking his hand only two weeks ago. Both have again been with the Club since they were six years of age and no two players deserved a National Cup winners medal more than these two lads. They may be small in stature but they are giants on the pitch.
Finally congratulations to our Club and to the many hundreds / thousands of people who have contributed along the way to make this day possible, I think JD is looking down at us now a happy man.
The Corinthians squad on the night was
Alex Hill, Cian O' Leary, Daniel Meade, David Welch, Destiny Okonkwo, Eoin Redmond, George Coomber, Jason Riordan, Jack O' Brien, Jack Leonard, Kyle Donovan, Mark Redmond, Mathew Healy, Michael Nason, Robert Geaney O' Brien, Shan