Midleton CBS are code-breakers as their soccer team reach for All-Ireland glory

Midleton CBS are code-breakers as their soccer team reach for All-Ireland glory
Pres goalkeeper Cillian Martin saves from Loic Nguefang of Midleton CBS in the FAI Munster Schools Senior Cup final. Picture: Denis Minihane.

BIG match days in Midleton CBS are usually associated with the school’s hurling teams.

There is a rich history and tradition of the game in Rosary Place off St Mary’s Road and some of Cork’s finest served very successful apprenticeships there.

The Harty Cup returned after an absence of 13 years last month that has provided a feelgood factor throughout the school.

However, on Wednesday afternoon another code will be the centre of attention when this great sporting academy hopes to inscribe its name on the All-Ireland soccer senior schools trophy.

Caherdonagh CS from Donegal will provide the opposition in the final at Home Farm, 1pm and there is cautious optimism that another chapter will be added to the great story of sporting success.

Winning the Munster title and now finding themselves in the position that they are in is a huge achievement for the boys representing Midleton CBS but they want to travel the extra mile now and bring back a national trophy.

A few of the boys who bagged Harty Cup medals in the final against CBS are on a dual mission here with goalkeeper and team captain Arthur Nganou manning the sticks.

Joe Stack has been in outstanding form for the hurlers and the soccer team, delivering some superb goals in both codes along the journey which included victories over PBC in the Munster final and Wexford CBS in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Jamie O’Hanlon and Jack Fitzgerald are in both squads too and a number of players are attached to Cork City and Cobh Ramblers like Shane O’Riordan and Matthew Reilly.

Chris Melnyk, a teacher in the school, manages the side and he’s looking forward to the big day out in the capital.

“I suppose Midleton CBS would not have a great tradition where soccer is concerned. We had teams in the past but prior to this season, we had never won anything.

Picture: Denis Minihane.
Picture: Denis Minihane.

“Winning Munster for the first time was a great achievement and now being in an All-Ireland final is just great for everybody.

“This is a great sporting school and we have a rugby team now as well and athletics is very strong too.

“We went to extra-time in the Munster final with Pres and we had to hold our nerve in the All-Ireland semi-final with Wexford, winning a penalty shootout but the boys showed great composure that day.’’ 

Melnyk, alongside James Walsh and David Twomey on the management team, is expecting it to be even tougher in the final against the Donegal school.

“Yes, they are a good side from what I can gather. They have a good few lads on the books of Derry City and Finn Harps and, anyway, in a final it’s never going to be easy.

“But we have confidence in our own ability and we’d be quietly confident.’’ 

The support from within the school has been vital too, according to the team boss.

“It has, the school management, the teachers and the PPU are all fully behind us. Sport has always been an integral part of the school and everybody has rowed in behind us.

“Some of these lads have won the Harty Cup and it would be fantastic if we could add this trophy to that.

“We are proud to be representing Cork and Munster up in Dublin and we’ll do our utmost to succeed.”

Heady days indeed in this sports-mad school where everybody lends a hand. On Wednesday in one of the country’s great football academies another milestone can be reached.

And for the likes of young Stack, Arthur and the other dual boys that would be something.

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