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Browne claims treble to seal Regent's double

Regent House 4-0 Methodist College Belfast

By Adam McKendry

A hat-trick from Ards striker Timmy Browne set Regent House on their way to a dominant 4-0 win over Methodist College Belfast in the final of the Northern Ireland Under-18 Plate.

Captain Browne was in scintillating form, his treble complementing a further strike from Christiaan Fegan to hand the Newtownards school a league and cup double.

Having finished the inaugural Grammar Schools League campaign unbeaten, Regent were the heavy favourites going into the showpiece to make it two trophies for the year.

They were also on the right side of the results this season having won the corresponding league fixtures 3-1 and 4-2, and so it proved again.

In front of a strong crowd at Seaview, a fairly even start from both teams was finally punctuated by Fegan's opener, the Regent man finishing coolly when provided with the chance to settle the nerves.

But Browne, undoubtedly the star man on the day, provided the moment of magic to pull the leaders two clear, the striker taking the ball on the left before beating several defenders and hammering the ball home from 30 yards.

That saw the score at 2-0 at the break and, after the restart, Methody came out with some good intent as they tried to claw back the deficit, however they were finding the going tough.

Pushing men forward left them open at the back though, allowing Browne to wreak havoc among the defence, and he wasn't going to pass up the chance to bury the game.

The Ards man found the net twice in quick succession to complete his treble and his school's well-deserved double.

"It was a very competitive cup and the boys did exceptionally well, I'm really proud of them," said Regent manager Paul Fitzsimons.

"Football is alive and well in grammar schools and hopefully the powers that be will sit up and give an outlet for these boys who want to play football, I'm just trying to raise the profile."

He added: "I'd love a good run at the Schools' Cup next year and to give opportunities to boys who haven't got the chance to represent the school."

• Willowbank won the Toals County Antrim Junior Shield last night with a 3-0 win over Harryville Homers in the final at Seaview.

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