On Sunday 21 May 2023 in Athlone, Ireland, Saint Ninian’s High School represented Scotland in the Under 14 British Isle (Allen McKinstry) Cup due to their efforts in winning the Schools Scottish Shield the previous year.
England, Wales & Northern Ireland were also represented by their National Champions. Ireland was represented by their National champions & runners up to bring the total team to 6.
St Ninian’s first game was against the Irish runners up (Marist College) who recently won the Irish Cup at the Under 15 age group. St Ninian’s went 1-0 up after an excellent finish from right midfielder Rory Kelly, smashing it across the keeper to the top left hand side of the goal. However, Marist College pulled one back after a penalty late on, meaning Game 1 ended in a draw. The Saint Ninian’s boys played some really expansive football and on another day could have added a goal or two more.
St Ninian’s then went into game 2 against Wales (Ysgol Greenhill) knowing they needed to win to progress into the final. John Joe Leddy scored from a corner and Connor Sweeney scored a chip to win the tie for Saint Ninian’s in arguably their best performance of the season. The game was played in fantastic spirit with the Wales and Scottish players making friends on & off pitch.
The final game was against the Irish Champions, St. Joseph’s Patrician College, Galway, who won their first 2 games. Saint Ninian’s dominated possession from the outset and were in control. A lovely passing move was finished off from Luke O’Donnell from the edge of the box. The final 10 minutes saw a tired but resilient St Ninian’s hold off and secure the victory defending like lions.
Captain and centre midfielder, Rocco Di Giacomo was undoubtedly player of the tournament which was mentioned by the organisers and opposition managers alike. A special mention also goes to Matty McCallister who was terrific from the fully back position, pinning opposition wingers inside their own half. The tournament finished with St Ninian’s as the only undefeated team and saw goalkeeper Elliot Dunn concede the least amount of goals (1).
Antony McIlvaney, Connor Sweeney, Conor Baillie, Dara Jikiemi, Daven Milne, Elliot Dunn, Ethan McGillvray, Joe McAndrew, John Joe Leddy, Luke O’Donnell, Matthew McAllister, Rocco Di Giacomo, Rory Kelly, Sam Gallagher, Shay McCracken, Timothy Kelly.
You can read a full round up of all the games played on the SAFIB website HERE.