“Never in our wildest dreams would we have thought that we would become National Champions, let alone Local Cup winners – we always had belief but to achieve success is remarkable,” remarked assistant coach Kevin Tynan after Douglas Hall captured the SFAI Subway U16 National Cup.
They defeated Castlebar 2-1 in a cracking final which was played in Cahir last Saturday afternoon.
Douglas Hall were the stronger team at the start of the game dominating possession throughout the pitch and pressing forward at every opportunity, with Castlebar soaking up the pressure but confined in their own half for some time.
However, a rare opportunity from the Castlebar centre-forward who stole a yard on the Douglas Hall defence and found himself one on one with Hordii Kirian who managed to foil his attempt on goal pulling off a tremendous save.
Eventually, the pressure paid off for Douglas Hall when a Conor O’Halloran corner found team captain Finn Hagermark who climbed highest in the box to head home a firm header into the roof of the net.
It was one-way traffic for most of the first half with Douglas Hall pressing, Conor O’Halloran’s effort from close range somehow going over the bar as the Cork team led 1-0 at the break.
The second half started well for Douglas Hall, but Castlebar were gaining confidence and started to come more and more into the game gaining possession as they looked for an equaliser.
Eventually Castlebar broke through the Douglas Hall defence with less than 15 minutes remaining and were buoyed by their score as they continued to press forward.
The Douglas Hall backline of Calun Kearney, Jonathon McLaughlin and Tom Hickey did an excellent job in standing firm.
Castlebar had a chance to take the lead soon after but a penalty kick was brilliantly saved by Hordii Kirian as Douglas were living dangerously.
However, Douglas Hall’s second goal came with less than five minutes remaining when Lewis Linehan’s cross found Eoin Gibson who slotted the ball home into the bottom corner of the Castlebar net.
Late drama as Castlebar hit the post right at the death with their centre-forward sending the ball toward the goal from the rebound with Man of the Match Hordii Kirian again saving brilliantly as Douglas Hall hung on for a famous win.
Assistant manager Kevin Tynan remarked that it was fantastic for the boys to win a National Cup title following the Local Cup and went on to thank manager Derek Weldon, Dylan Collins, who had guided the team from the early part of the season, and Gareth Lyons, with the team since the academy day.
A special thanks went to all of the parents who had been with the club and team through thick and thin and to supporters, sponsors and friends who had made all this possible.
Hordii Kirian, Calum Kearney, Tom Hickey, Finn Hagermark, Robert O’Leary, Dylan McCarthy, Jonathon McLaughlin, Evan Cummins, Shane O’Mahony, Conor O’Halloran, Eoin Gibson, Quentin Danza, Michael Morley, Lewis Linehan, Shane Tynan, Reece Lyons.