ST Francis College, Rochestown are the FAI Schools First Year Boys national champions after a thrilling victory over Scoil Mhuire of Donegal in the AUL Complex Dublin.
Jack Punch was the hero for the Cork side, scoring a hat-trick.
As expected it was a nervy opening, with both teams cautious in their approach. It was Rochestown that broke the deadlock when Finn Doyle found Punch inside the penalty area and the Douglas Hall man excellently finished. The Cork side went close to doubling their advantage when Cillian Ross found himself in space at the back post but was unable to convert.
Scoil Mhuire created chances of their own and looked threatening going forward. The Donegal school drew level after Terrence Doherty’s pullback fell kindly to Tadhg McDaid, who calmly finished past Alex McEvoy in the Rochestown goal.
The Cork school created numerous chances in the first half and were a constant threat at set-pieces. Darragh O’Flaherty’s deep free-kick found the head of Morgan Kelleher but the Cork City player was unable to take advantage.
Rochestown went behind in the second half when Conor McClay found space outside of the area before the player hit a stunning strike into the top corner of McEvoy’s net.
With the game looking beyond Rochestown, Punch stepped up again as he replicated McClay, by unleashing a long-range effort into the top corner of the Scoil Mhuire goal to send the game into extra-time.
The match looked destined to go to penalties only for Punch to complete his hat-trick and deliver the silverware for his school with a low striker across Joshua McCann.
Rochestown manager Stephen Birmingham said on his side’s victory: “The lads deserve this. I thought they were superb. They have been getting better and better, and as proven today; they never give up and are a credit to the school and it’s a great moment for them."
Alex McEvoy, Colm Tynan, Darragh O’Flaherty, Luke Mullins, Morgan Kelleher, Finn Doyle, Cillian Ross, John Dollard Young, Jack Punch, Conor Stack, Darragh Lynch, Cillian Farrell, Callum Hanna, Adam Kirwan, Patrick Murphy, Jack McMahon, Rhys Looney, Ethan O'Leary, Alex Jenkins, Thomas Kiernan, Ollie O’Neill, Daniel Collier, Sebastian Dubkiewicz, Daniel Mooney.
Stephen Birmingham and Graham Cummins.
Joshua McCann, Dathal Gallagher, Nikodem Zebala, Blake McCarron, Conor Tierney, Ronan Mailey, Tadagh McDaid, Jack McGeough, Michael McColgan, Conor McClay, Terence Doherty, Anton Doherty, Luke McCarron, Cian Murphy, Conor Sweeney, Sean Cullen, Daniel Walker, Mattew McLaughlin, Dylan Lynch, Ryan Crossan, Charlie Bradley, Shay Doherty, Daniel Curran, Justin Carolan, Fionnuala McAleep, Deimantas Gricius, Darragh McAuley, Tiernan Barr, Aaron Stevenson, Matthew McDaid, Auden Donaghey.
Aaron Sweeney, Ryan Doherty and Aidan McAleer.