DOHERTY CUP: Perfect dozen for Saints

CUP OF JOY...Winning captain Lukas Condon celebrates. CR15-251km
CUP OF JOY...Winning captain Lukas Condon celebrates. CR15-251km

THE trophy may be called after the late great Jack Doherty, but it was another Doherty who stole the show during Friday night’s final.

St Malachy’s claimed the silverware for a record twelfth time, after beating rookie finalists Hezlett 4-2 at a packed Coleraine Showgrounds.

Aaron Doherty of St Malachy’s proved to be the man of the moment as the little striker, grabbed a hat-trick to help his school to a momentous victory.

Hezlett hearts shouldn’t be too downbeat, for the little Castlerock school put up a brave fight against their Coleraine opponents, who have a long history of being in the Doherty Cup final.

Aaron Doherty, who plays with the Coleraine Academy, opened the scoring after five minutes, but Hezlett equalised three minutes later through Scott Weir.

Great play by St Malachy’s captain Lukas Condren saw Doherty grabbing his second with an impressive overhead kick.

A defensive mix up led to Hazlett levelling matters for a second time after 18 minutes, before Doherty fired home again to complete his hat-trick, leaving the half time score 3-2.

The second half proved to be another exciting affair.

Hezlett played some good football, but Luke McKendry, a primary five player, sealed the win for St Malachy’s when he drilled home five minutes from time.

Speaking on Monday, St Malachy’s coach, Gerry McAleese said that there was a real buzz around the school.

“Everyone remembers playing in the Doherty Cup. Grown men, who maybe never played any more football always remember playing on the big pitch at the Showgrounds, it’s a big moment for any child.

“It’s a big occasion, and it was a really exciting game.

“Credit to Hezlett, they reached the semi final last year, and the final this year, so they are making great progress. Who knows they could go on to win it next year?”

There were four primary five pupils in the St Malachy’s line up - Harry Simpson, Dylan Ferris, Luke McKendry and Eoin Crawford.

And a special mention must also go to Leah Hegarty, the only girl on the field, who showed no fear at full back.

St Malachy’s captain Lukas Condren delighted the huge crowd when he lifted the trophy, which was presented by the late Jack Doherty’s grandson, John Lennox.

“The Doherty family have been great supporters of the Cup for a long time,” added Gerry, who also helps organise the competition.

“I have been involved in it now for over 25 years, and I can tell you Jack was always a great supporter. His daughter Margaret has taken over his role now, and we are thrilled that members of the family continue to support it.”

By Nichola Forgrave