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Conor double keeps Cup in East

Grosvenor Grammar 3 St Columb's College 1 (after extra time FT 1-1)

By Robert Jones

A gritty display saw Grosvenor Grammar retain the Danske Bank Northern Ireland Schools' U18 Cup at Seaview.

The East Belfast school's direct approach proved more effective as they secured an extra time victory over St Columb's College after a 1-1 deadlock in normal time.

The Derry boys enjoyed the bulk of the possession, and produced some scintillating football at times, but the Grosvenor attacking force of Stuart Nelson, Conor Kernohan and Josh Kelly ultimately made the difference.

Kernohan netted twice, including the insurance goal in extra time, and was deservedly named man of the match with Kelly hitting the other.

Matty Doherty was ion target for St Columb's from the penalty spot to force extra time.

The Grosvenor back four also played their part, especially centre backs Lewis Cunningham and Daniel Larmour, who produced a series of fine tackles to repel the St Columb's attack.

Afterwards Grosvenor head coach Darren Tomkins was full of p raise for his side.

"St Columb's were a very good side. We stuck at it well, though, and showed good discipline and a good shape. We worked hard and the boys deserve a lot of credit. We are absolutely delighted to have won two in a row," he said.

St Columb's shaded the first half with their midfield trio of Seamus Quinn, Malone and Nathan McEneff, along with Doherty and rampaging full-back Matthew Kirk, imposing themselves on the game with some neat inter-play.

On 30 minutes impressive St Columb's centre back Conal Fagan shot just over from the edge of the area and minutes later St Columb's keeper Gareth Muldoon made a comfortable save from a Kelly snapshot.

Then Kirk found himself clear in the box for St Columb's but he shot over the top and on the stroke of half-time Grosvenor midfielder Kurtis Elliott scooped an effort over the bar.

On 50 minutes the deadlock was broken by Grosvenor. Kelly fed Nelson down the right and his deflected shot eventually fell into the path of Kernohan, who nodded home from close range.

The Derry side were level four minutes later, however. Doherty produced a superb defence-splitting pass to Joe McCartie who was upended by Grosvenor keeper Tim Larmour inside the penalty area as he raced towards goal. And Doherty stepped up to coolly slot home the spot kick.

The Kelly-Kernohan-Nelson combo really came to the fore in extra time. In the first 10-minute period Kernohan picked out Kelly inside the box but he headed straight at the keeper.

That could have been a costly miss but Kelly made amends five minutes into the second period of extra time. Kernohan won the ball in midfield and slipped in Matt Tumilson who in turn found Kelly. The striker then evaded a challenge and rounded the St Columb's keeper before neatly finishing from 10 yards to make it 2-1.

Three minutes later, and with just two minutes to go, Grosvenor made sure of victory. Kernohan produced another neat pass, this time to Nelson and the captain raced through to fire the ball past the onrushing Muldoon into the bottom corner of the net.

Grosvenor Grammar: Tim Larmour, Lewis English, Daniel Martin, Michael Todorov, Lewis Cunningham, Daniel Larmour, Stuart Nelson (captain), Kurtis Elliott, Josh Kelly, Matt Tumilson, Conor Kernohan. Subs: (not used) Josh Clarke, Jonny Ennis, Jamie McDowell, Reuben Browne, Paul Kelly, Andrew Lindsay, Jordan McIntyre.

St Columb's College: Gareth Muldoon, Matthew Kirk, Dylan Mooney, Conal Fagan, Emmett McGilloway, Seamus Quinn (captain), Ryan Doran, Jack Malone, Matty Doherty, Joe McCartie, Nathan McEneff. Subs: (used) Steven Bulloch, Ciaran Deery, Nathan Harkin, Brian McCarron, (not used) Conan Doherty, Ethan Mullan, Conor O'Donnell.

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