The Year9 boys soccer team lost 2-0 to a very capable St Mary’s CBS side. St Mary’s, with a few very large boys for their age, snatched two first half goals as Aquinas failed to really get going.

The first goal came in the 13th minute with a low shot just beyond goalkeeper Jack McAufield’s reach. Jack’s fingertips were not enough to stop the ball squeezing in. From this point on the Aquinas midfield never really got going and St Mary’s dealt a real hammer blow a minute before half-time. In the midst of a tactical change, the Aquinas midfield fell asleep and let the St Mary’s winger run through unchecked; he slotted home an excellent finish, leaving Aquinas with a mountain to climb in the second half.

A few choice words at half-time saw a more competitive second half, but sadly not one that was to bear fruit in front of goal. Nonetheless, there have been a number of real positives. Ollie McGowan, yet again, put in a fine performance and he stood out in the Aquinas midfield. Ollie has been asked to perform a few very important roles in the team this season and always does exactly what is asked of him on the pitch. Eoin Nagle picked up an injury after a few rash challenges from the opposition but he battled on regardless. Eoin has been an exemplary team captain and a leader on the football pitch throughout the cup run. Jake Carlin and Brendan Gallen get better each game in the centre of defence.  It is also a huge plus that it was James Mellon, playing in a team a year above, who secured the Man of the Match award. This is James’ second performance for the Year 9s and he has definitely earned his place. Fabien Pawluk also made a step up to the Year9s and he too put in a lot of work, showing real strength and skill at times throughout the game.

Jack McAufield has been solid in goals and Aquinas would not have reached this stage without his excellent perfomances. Louis Campbell has put in a couple of excellent performances also and is a gifted footballer.

Simon Atkinson, Tim Cunningham, Gerard Gormley, Phelim Lennon, Gregory Lynch, Connor MacDonald, Tony Quigley, Lorcan Fahy and Fiontann Quinn have all played their part and pressure for places has been healthy with Conor Loughran, Jake Molloy and Adam Sanders (GK) all waiting in the wings selflessly for their opportunity. It is these boys who I really appreciate – they come to training, play their part and don’t grumble about it. They play a crucial role in keeping the starting eleven on their toes.

In all, it is a disappointing end to the cup run from a promising group of individuals who, with improved team work, should learn from this in the hunt for success in next year’s cup.