Coláiste Chú Chulainn is named after an Irish hero but the students on the Minor soccer team became legends in their own right by recording the school’s first significant team silverware by lifting the North East Leinster League Cup.
Beaten semi-finalists last year, they went the distance this time at only the second time of asking. Ballymakenny, also a newly formed school, were making their first appearance in the competition’s final – ensuring that there would be a new name engraved on the trophy whatever the result.
The sides had met twice this year with Ballymakenny winning 3-2 in the league and Cú Chulainn progressing in the Leinster Cup 3-1 at the expense of the Drogheda school.
Cú Chulainn started well and seemed to have their rivals pinned back from the off. But, spurred on by a vocal support, Ballymakenny took the lead on the ten minute mark. A long through ball was held up by the swirling wind and allowed the Ballymakenny striker to steal in and slot past the mistimed run of the outrushing Cú Chulainn ‘keeper.
Parity was restored with a sublime free kick from Adam Lennon, his effort rose up and over the wall and neatly past the sprawling Ballymakenny custodian. With the wind at their backs and in their sails, Cú Chulainn pressed on and dominated the first half although their second goal was a long time coming. It took another piece of magic, this time from Joe Mee, to undo the resolute Ballymakenny backs – he curled a long range effort in from distance to ensure the Dundalk side went into the break ahead.
Cú Chulainn had to defend much more in the second half but still edged out their opposition. They extended their lead when Caolán Mc Cable finally managed to poke home after a lengthy spell of football played around the BMK box.
BMK made their north Louth rivals sweat in the closing phases of the game. They scored to make it 3-2 and hit the bar thereafter before an injury time counter-attack resulted in McCabe notching a brace and putting the result beyond doubt.
They progress to represent North East Leinster in a Leinster Champions League Competition.