All Cork U15 National Cup final was a great occasion for Leeside soccer

All Cork U15 National Cup final was a great occasion for Leeside soccer
Jack O'Brien in action against St Mary's in the 2017 U15 National Cup final. Picture: Larry Cummins

CORINTHIAN Boys created history at Turner’s Cross in 2017 when they defeated St Mary’s to win the U15 SFAI Skechers National Cup in the biggest schoolboys final ever to be staged in Cork.

It was a memorable day for not only the players and manager Mark Redmond but also for Terry O’Donovan who had for years worked tirelessly behind the scenes developing the schoolboys' set-up for the club.

Picture: Larry Cummins
Picture: Larry Cummins

The underage showcase was a significant milestone not only for Corinthian Boys but also for the Cork Schoolboys League and for football in general in Cork. For the first time in the history of the National Cup, two Cork teams made it to the final.

In the 65-year history of the Evans Cup, only Tower Rovers in 1958 and Wembley in 1964 managed to bring the trophy back to Cork and for Corinthians to bridge a 53-year cup gap was historic in its own right.

Reunion of members and family representatives from the previous cup-winning Wembly team. Picture: Larry Cummins
Reunion of members and family representatives from the previous cup-winning Wembly team. Picture: Larry Cummins

In terms of the club, this team managed to do what a host of Corinthians sides couldn’t do in the past. On six occasions prior to the 2017 showpiece, Corinthians made it to the final but ultimately fell at the final hurdle and such teams included the likes of David Meyler, Brian Lenihan and current Norwich City striker Adam Idah.

But it was a case of third time lucky for Corinthian Boys in 2017 as the youngsters finally secured the National crown after finishing as runners up in the National Cup over the previous two years. 

Corinthians lost to St Joseph’s Boys on both occasions but they eventually overcame their Dublin rivals in the semi-final of the 2017 competition before beating fellow Cork side St Mary’s in the final.

To witness the U15s lift the Evans Cup was a special moment for O’Donovan and one he looks back at fondly.

“At the time, we had got to eight national finals without success so for the players to achieve the goal of winning a national tournament was fantastic. We had missed out on six National Cups and two Intermediate Cups before the game against St Mary’s so to eventually get it over the line was certainly a special moment. 

"For the same team to go on and retain the trophy the next year was a magnificent achievement too and it was a memorable time for the players, their parents and the coaches."

The Corinthians team and supporters celebrate on the pitch at the final whistle. Picture: Larry Cummins
The Corinthians team and supporters celebrate on the pitch at the final whistle. Picture: Larry Cummins

O’Donovan not only looked back fondly on the success of the 2017 youngsters but also on the unsuccessful competitions too. “It really is all about the journey and looking back at the years waiting for a national trophy and going through the losses was almost as enjoyable as winning the trophy itself.”

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