OCS Crowned All-Ireland Soccer Champions 2015
Wednesday, May 6th 2015 | K. O. 1 PM
O’Connell School | 3 : 2 | Seamount College Kinvara
O’Connell Secondary School captured the inaugural FAI Schools All-Ireland First Year B Cup (Under 14) following a pulsating and dramatic encounter against Seamount College from Kinvara in Galway. O’Connell School had already beaten the Munster Champions in the previous round while their counterparts in Connaught had got the better of the Ulster champions to qualify for the final. The stage was set for an epic clash on the fabulous all-weather pitch in the neutral venue of Athlone Institute of Technology.
The opening half was a very tense affair with both teams testing each other out and finding their feet on a very big pitch. Indeed chances were few and far between in the first half with the cross-winds making it difficult to keep the ball in play on occasions. If anything the boys from Kinvara were the stronger outfit as the first half went on and their lively number 10, Joey Droney, made a number of deep incursions to the OCS penalty area. The Kinvara captain Ruairi MacSweeney was having a fantastic duel with his OCS counterpart Troy Parrott in the middle of the field. Indeed but for the timely interventions of both David Oprea and Lloyd Lawless from OCS, Kinvara could have opened up a two goal lead before half-time. However after 30 minutes at half-time the score was 0-0.
If the first half didn’t deliver any goals, the second half was the total opposite and what a thrilling half it turned out to be. Within 8 minutes of the restart Seamount College were two goals up and the boys from OCS were shell-shocked. Two quick breaks caught OCS napping at the back and young Droney was on hand to drill home the first and set up the second goal in as many minutes. Mr O’Connell, the OCS manager, had to ring the changes quickly. Denis Robu was taken out of goals and replaced by full-back Jamie Murphy. Corey Cummins and Scott Coughlan were introduced as substitutes for the busy Evan Crosbie and Eduard Iacob. Robu’s physical presence upset the Kinvara defence and this was the sign for the excellent Troy Parrott to put his stamp on the game and set O’Connell School on the road back into the game. With six minutes remaining Parrott got possession of the ball on the left, about 40 yards out from the Kinvara goal. He danced around three tackles and let fly from a very tight angle. The ball hit the inside roof of the net and OCS were back in the game. The clock was ticking and OCS knew it. With less than three minutes remaining Robu catapulted a throw-in from the left into the Kinvara box and following a massive scramble the ball fell to the alert Parrott who once again duly dispatched the ball home, this time from twelve yards. The OCS supporters went wild while the Kinvara team and their supporters were now in the shell-shocked mode. Seconds later the referee Declan Moran blew the final whistle and two ten minute periods of extra-time was on the cards.
Following a brief team-talk from the inspirational Mr O’Connell, the OCS resolve was apparent for all to see. This team from North Richmond Street meant business and were not going to be beaten! However, young Droney from Kinvara didn’t read this part of the script and within two minutes of the restart in extra time he let loose with a bullet drive from 25 yards out. The ball seemed to be destined for the OCS net but Denis Robu (who had returned to net-minding duties) managed to parry the shot away and OCS got off the hook. With two minutes remaining in the half, a long ball out of the OCS defence split the Kinvara centre-halves and Troy Parrott was off in hot pursuit like a grey-hound out of the traps. He managed to get his shot on target but the Kinvara goalie Jack Bourke made a great block. However young Parrott wasn’t finished and he managed to calmly strike the rebound to the bottom right corner of the net. OCS were ahead and in the ascendency.
In the final period of extra time OCS were very strong in repelling all of the Kinvara attacks. Denis Robu, Jamie Murphy, Sebastian Corcan, David Oprea and Jordan Boylan were excellent in defence. Across the middle, Lloyd Lawless, Scott Shannon, Troy Parrott and Corey Cummins gave their all in the middle of the pitch. Up front Scott Coughlan and Leon Wheelock kept harassing the Kinvara defenders and the threat from Kinvara disappeared. Antoni Sneizek was an unused substitute on the day and he gave the team great encouragement from the side-line throughout the game. The final whistle blew and the youngsters from OCS were jumping for joy while Kinvara were devastated. OCS WERE ALL-IRELAND CHAMPIONS – the first time since 1975, a gap of forty years had been breached! In this the first year of this Cup competition at national level, history was made in Athlone with O’Connell Secondary School becoming the first school to claim the prestigious title and etch their name on the new Cup.
What a performance! What a game! What a result! What a win! OCS CHAMPIONS!
Troy Parrott, as captain, accepted the trophy on behalf of OCS and he was presented with the match ball by the officials for his hat-trick in the game. Heartfelt congratulations to all concerned. Well done, thank you and congratulations to Mr O’Connell, the team’s manager for all his dedication, commitment and hard work with this fine group of young men. Thanks to our supporters and parents who travelled to Athlone on the day and who witnessed such a dramatic turnaround in the final minutes of the second half. Thanks to the match officials for their diligence throughout. Thanks to Ms Lorna Creaven and the team from Seamount College in Kinvara for playing their part in a truly magnificent final. Thanks to the FAI for all their work in promoting and organising the competition this year. Finally thanks to the fourteen players from OCS who have given the school such a great lift this year. They represented the school with pride and are men for the future, a credit to their school and a credit to their families. We are all so proud of their great achievements this year.