IT may have been a long time in coming but St Colum’s Primary School are determined to make the most of their Doherty Cup final appearance this Friday night.
The Portstewart school may not have featured too many times on local school football’s honours list. In fact their last appearance in the Doherty Cup final came over three decades ago when they faced off against this year’s opponents, DH Christie.
Unfortunately they finished up on the losing side that night as the Coleraine school came out on top.
But this current crop of young footballers are rewriting the history books at the school. Last year they reached the semi finals of the Doherty Cup and won their first ever football trophy as they claimed the Killowen Cup.
This year though they are hoping to go one better and claim local sschool football showpiece trophy. Coach and teacher, Mr Brian Shaw told Times Sport it would be just reward for all their hard work.
“We have a fantastic bunch of lads here at the school,” enthused Brian.
“They work incredibly hard for each other and are very athletic and they are reaping the rewards both in soccer and GAA because of it.
“It’s obviously been a long time since we last featured in the Doherty Cup final but we are determined to make the most of it. It’sfantastic for a school of our size to get there and also for us to be finally tasting some success on the football field.”
The success the team has brought the school of late has certainly whetted the appetite of everyone in the seaside resort who are counting down the days to St Colum’s date with destiny.
“Everywhere you go someone stops you and asks you about the final and wishes you all the best,” revealed Brian.
“It’s fantastic to see the buzz the boys have created. There’s so many former pupils who can’t wait for the final to get along and support them.
“As I say it’s just reward for not only the boys, but also the parents who have helped us out throughout the year and especially our caretaker and coach Seamus Reynolds and principal Sinead McCullough. Their help and support has been invaluable.
“You can’t have enough good people behind you and we’re very lucky in that respect.”
One St Colum’s player will be writing his own piece of history on the night for at only eight years old striker Patrick Kelly becomes the youngest player to feature in the Doherty Cup final. But as Mr Shaw explained he has deserved his selection.
“Because we are one of the smaller schools we have to look younger players coming through,” said Brian.
“So we gave Patrick his chance and boy did he take it, he scored a hat-trick on his debut!
“He may not have the strength of some of the older boys but he has a terrific football brain and he certainly has an eye for a goal.”
Brian is predicting a tight match on Friday night with both schools eager to create their own little piece of history.
“It’s going to be good to see a name on the trophy that hasn’t been there in a while,” he said.
“Both sides have tasted a bit of success over the last couple of years so I’m sure it will be very close on the night. Obviously playing at The Showgrounds adds to the excitement, but hopefully the lads won’t be overawed by the occasion.
“We want them to go out and enjoy it, they are a great bunch and as I said they fully deserve to be there.”