Belfast Telegraph

Schools' Cup final: Skippers fired up by the chance to become heroes in Seaview battle

 

By Gareth Hanna

The team captains going head-to-head in today's Danske Bank U18 Schools' Cup final both know exactly what's at stake - hero status.

A high noon showdown will see Nathan Harkin's St Columb's College (Derry) take on Fintan Canavan's St Patrick's Grammar (Downpatrick) at Seaview with the biggest prize in Northern Ireland school football on the line.

Harkin experienced final heartache last year when his side were beaten 3-1 by Grosvenor in the St Patrick's Day decider.

Twelve months earlier, he helped his school to victory in the U16 competition - and now he's determined to finally complete the double.

"It means everything," he said. "Every year, the school team's goal is to get to the final and go and win it. It's the same thing every year we're in the competition; we want to get to that final and do the school proud."

Canavan's St Patrick's Grammar got to the decider the hard way, edging past Belfast Metropolitan College on penalties in the quarter-final before a 1-0 success over Holy Cross (Strabane) in the last-four.

Now the skipper says any sort of victory this afternoon could have huge consequences.

"It would be one of the greatest achievements of my football career and even anything in my life," he said.

"To play with the lads you've grown up with for the last seven years, I think there would be no better feeling.

"For me, there's no greater pride than wearing the red jersey. A local hero back at school, a local hero back in Newcastle - that's the big aim," he smiled.

Before the U18s do battle, Edmund Rice College and De La Salle College will compete for the U16 title, with a 10am start at Seaview.

Belfast Telegraph

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