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Rice keeps his promise to win it for St Columb's

Danske Bank Schools' Cup final: St Columb's 2 St Patrick's 1

By Gareth Hanna

If you're looking for this week's lottery numbers, St Columb's hero Scott Rice is your man.

Not only did he come off the bench to net the winner for his side during yesterday's Danske Bank Schools' Cup final, he had predicted it all moments earlier.

The game was tied at 1-1 and deep into extra-time when Rice struck a free-kick past the St Patrick's goalkeeper to claim the victory.

"I was sitting on the bench with the lads and I told them I was going to come on and score the winner with a free-kick," he smiled after the final whistle.

"To see that happen, it's the best feeling in the world. It's my second time winning but this is far better because it's my last year in school."

Rice's strike squirmed past Fintan Canavan after the St Patrick's keeper had handled outside the area. He did well to claim a high ball before the waiting striker but couldn't avoid tumbling just outside the box.

The sides had gone in level at 1-1 at half-time.

St Columb's started strongly and deservedly took the lead on 12 minutes through Cian McGarvey. He profited when Ryan Doran picked the pocket of a defender and delivered a cross that McGarvey showed great desire to reach before his marker.

St Columb's dominance was gradually worn down by St Patrick's, who drew level in the final minute of the half through Callum Shields. A perfect flick from Caolan Conlan played him through on goal and the clinical finish matched the build-up.

The big talking point of the second period came in the final throes as St Columb's Callum Doherty looked to be through with a shooting opportunity but referee Jamie Robinson called the game back for a foul.

That proved only brief frustration with Rice's winner coming in the nick of time for last year's beaten finalists.

Before the U18s did battle, De La Salle College beat Edmund Rice College 4-0 to win the Belfast Cup (U16s).

All the goals came in the first half; a brace from Bailey Carroll added to strikes from Dylan Maguire and captain Calvin McCurry.

"I can't explain it, it's the best feeling of my life," said McCurry.

"It's a brilliant achievement for all of us. The school haven't won it in a long time but hopefully we can do that in the Northern Ireland Cup final now as well."

St Columb's: Doherty, Nicholas, Harkin, Casey, McCarron, McBrearty, Doran, C Doherty (McAleer, 58 mins), McClean (Rice, 75 mins), McGarvey, Tabbit. Unused subs: Dobbins, Leppard, M Doherty.

St Patrick's: Canavan, Breen, O'Hare, Lavery (Harbinson, 95 mins), Carling, McGrattan, Conlon, Bentham (Curran, 62 mins), Joe Healy, Shields, Barnes. Unused subs: McCann, Anderson, Lawson, Reilly.

Referee: Jamie Robinson

Match rating: 7/10

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