De La Salle College Vs Belfast Boys’ Model School
Northern Ireland Cup Semi Final
Thursday 3rd March 2022 – Seaview, Belfast
1pm Kick Off
By Daire McManus
De La Salle suffered semi-final heartbreak in the NI Cup semi-final at Seaview against an impressive Boys’ Model School on Thursday 3rd March
Played in good conditions on a pristine pitch, early exchanges were even as both sides probed the opposition for a weakness. It was an understrength La Salle who struck first when Ryan O’Hara finished off a clinical move just after the five-minute mark.
De La Salle continued to press as centre back Darragh McCloskey combined well with right winger Jude Johnson and left winger Michael Ward-Brammeld with strong accurate passing. Excellent play from the La Salle right back Deaghlan Healy almost resulted in a second goal for De La Salle. Striker Ryan O’Hara drifted out wide and played an excellent ball across the box hoping to find some La Salle players but the Model managed to put the ball behind for a corner.
The Boys’ Model began to show their quality in chasing the game but the DLS defence held firm with Deaghlan Healy and Darragh McCloskey repelling repeated attacks.
Boys’ Model upped the pressure late into the first half hoping to get an equaliser on the stroke of half time but the La Salle goalkeeper Brendan Downey pulled off two fine saves.
The second half witnessed a similar pattern with Boys’ Model searching for that equaliser, leaving them exposed to a La Salle counter attack. 10 minutes into the second half, a quick managerial change switched the left and right winger to different sides of the pitch, creating an almost immediate effect. The right back Deaghlan Healy won the ball and drove quickly down the right hand side, crossed an excellent ball to striker Ryan O’Hara who just narrowly placed his header away from the post.
La Salle began to have the majority of the possession and took charge of the game. In the 65th minute winger Kristin Walsh came on for Jude Johnson who put in an excellent performance. An immediate impact was made from substitute Walsh who sprinted down the wing and crossed the ball into the box but it was finished narrowly wide.
Late on, Boys’ Model won a free kick, crossed it in and it was finished expertly to make it 1-1. Five minutes of injury time failed to separate the sides.
With only five minutes in each half of extra time, La Salle hoped to find a goal to clinch the tie. Aaron Black, Aaron Kelly, Darragh McCloskey and Ryan O’Hara all had fine moments in extra-time but the game headed towards a penalty shoot-out.
Unfortunately, DLS lost out by one goal in the penalty shoot-out for the second time this year.
Nonetheless, the skill of this side has thrilled anyone who had the pleasure of watching them in action this year and they will be long remembered within the school.
La Salle Line-up
Brendan Downey, Deaghlan Healy, Darragh McCloskey, Conor McVeigh, Aaron Black, Aaron Kelly, Callum Burnside, Liam Burns, Jude Johnson, Ryan O’Hara, Michael Ward-Brammeld. Subs: Kristin Walsh, Michael McCann, Ethan Patterson, Aaron Mervyn, Christopher Hale