DOUGLAS Community School are the FAI Schools Munster Senior Cup champions for 2023 after they came from a goal down to beat Tramore’s Ardscoil na Mara.
Goals from Devon Gibson and Joey Gibson helped the school turn things around at Ozier Park in Waterford.
The equaliser came from an excellent run by Josh Fitzpatrick that led to a cross that Devon Gibson volleyed in from close range.
Joey Gibson then turned in a long-range free-kick and that completed the comeback and gave them their first Munster Senior Cup title since 2020.
To manager Kevin Royane, it was a pleasing way to end the campaign after a difficult first half in Waterford.
“It was played in Ozier Park and the pitch wasn’t specular and it took us a while to get going. We didn’t really impose ourselves on the first half but we crucially didn’t let them impose themselves either,” he said.
“They never really created a clear-cut chance but we created a couple of openings and we knew that we could cause trouble.”
Douglas Community School dominated the second half and early opportunities for Luke O’Herlihy and Josh Fitzpatrick hit the crossbar and posts.
Then Ardscoil na Mara scored from a counter-attack and for the third game in a row, the school found themselves needing a comeback.
This followed their quarter-final victory over Presentation Brothers College, which saw them 1-0 down, and they faced a two-goal deceit in the semi-finals against Tralee CBS.
On each occasion, Douglas Community School held their nerve and continued their cup journey.
"Devon Gibson scored the equaliser off a great cross from Josh Fitzpatrick and it was a great finish from Devon,” he said.
“Then with about five minutes to go in normal time, Joey Gibson, Devon’s brother, got a free-kick about 30 yards out and it was a knuckleball goal. He hit the ball and it curled last minute to beat the goalkeeper.
“We didn’t cough up too many chances until the final few minutes of the game.
"The ball broke to their striker and our goalkeeper, Bruno Bosnjak, pulled off an excellent save. We were under pressure after that with eight minutes added on and we hung on to win our second Munster Senior Cup in three years.”
Before the final, the school received a good luck message from past pupil David Harrington, who now plays for Fleetwood Town after transferring from Cork City in January 2023.
Douglas Community School are now through to the semi-finals of the Dr Tony O'Neill Senior National Cup next week.
Bruno Bosnjak; Dylan O’Sullivan, Luke O’Herlihy, Lucas Curtin, Ciaran Nestor, Lee O’Sullivan, Josh Fitzpatrick, Joey Gibson, Devon Gibson, Harvey Skieters, Ciaran O’Sullivan.
Kyle Leahy; Ross O’Helihy, Anabal Ramos, Kealan Crowe, Ray Kiss Foley, Sean Morrissey, Rory Cashman.