Aquinas took on St. Pat’s Knock in the last 16 of the NI cup on Monday, comprehensively beating them 4-1.

With massive rivalry between the two sets of players this had all the feel of crucial local derby. The game started off with Sean McGarry stopping Knock’s striker inside the first few minutes. Not to worry, a short spell later and Matthew McDonnell played a brilliant through ball down the wing to Lorcan Swail who’s attempted cross caught out the keeper and bulged into the back of the net.

Aquinas defended well and saw the first half out. The whole defence were very solid throughout the whole game, Ben Burns at right back, Tom McCaroll and Brendan Delaney were at the heart of the defence with Daniel Carlin in left back. Lorcan Swail and Eunan O’Hare also did terrific jobs battling back from midfield. They all played very well and bailed Aquinas out a few times.

Ten minutes after the restart Sean McGarry played the ball to Lorcan Swail from the kickout, who sent it through to Jack Toner who ran down the line, and even in a tight angle, lobbed it over the keeper and into the back of the net. Niall Duffy had some great pieces of play on the left, while Rory Donaldson and Jamie Cunningham were controlling the midfield. However, Aquinas weren’t finished yet.

Lorcan Swail picked up the ball on the right hand side and again played it brilliantly in behind the defence for Jack Toner to round the keeper superbly, and finish it off. Knock rallied and started to come back into the game with their striker almost scoring a wonder goal if it wasn’t for a brilliant save pulled off by Sean McGarry. As Knock pushed forward, Aquinas hit a terrific counter attack. In almost a replica to the third goal, Lorcan Swail put it through to Jack again who again placed it skilfully past the keeper.

In spite of a late consolation goal for Knock the hat-trick from Jack Toner and a joint Man of The Match display from Lorcan Swail (who scored one and created the other three) was simply too much. The game ended 4-1 to Aquinas and a date in the Northern Cup Quarter Cup Final.

Monday’s result helped ease the pain of going out of the Belfast Cup on penalties on Friday 6th January. Aquinas outplayed St Pats Lisburn away from home in the last 16 of the Belfast Cup but, even though Aquinas were dominant, they couldn’t find a winning goal in a 1-1 draw. Matthew McDonnell had scored Aquinas’ only goal and even a terrific Man of the Match display from Jamie Cunningham wasn’t enough. St Pat’s Lisburn won 4-2 on penalties.

What a terrific achievement for a school this size to reach the U12 NI Cup Q-Finals. They join the U18s who, last month, made it through to the last 8 of the NI Plate.