Whitehall College Corinthians manager Peter Healy praised his side's character after the Cork club secured their maiden FAI U17 National Cup title with victory over Corduff in Home Farm FC on Saturday.
The Douglas outfit were high on confidence after scoring an astonishing 41 goals in six games prior to this showpiece. The teams had been on level terms for the vast majority of the contest after Luke O’Donnell and Corduff captain Luke Kearns traded early goals, but Corinthians sealed the deal with spectacular final-quarter efforts from Matthew Broderick and Conor O’Sullivan.
“Winning a national cup, for these boys, it’s great for them. Our season didn’t start very well, but we really turned it around the back half of it,” Healy said. “It’s great to get a reward at the end of it. All through the season they dug deep. I don’t know what it is, but they just seem to step up for the big day.”
Corinthians had a dream start when O’Donnell slotted a 5th minute penalty to the bottom corner after skipper Harvey Skieters was fouled by Ben Good. However, their lead lasted all of four minutes as Kearns superbly fired beyond the reach of Jack O’Leary from the edge of the box.
The Corinthians bench breathed a sigh of relief when King Obular had a goal ruled out for offside on the half-hour mark, but were incensed after Skieters had a strike controversially chalked off for the same reason four minutes later.
But the Cork side stuck to their task and were rewarded when Broderick edged Corinthians back ahead with a left-footed piledriver on 69 minutes. The outcome was placed beyond doubt when substitute O’Sullivan blasted an effort into the top corner six minutes from time. This victory continues a proud tradition of title winning sides produced by Corinthians. In addition to six Munster Senior League Premier Division crowns, they also secured back-to-back SFAI U15 National Cup titles in 2017 and 2018. With thoughts of replicating Saturday's success at the U18 grade already on his mind, Healy can see this being a stepping stone towards a bright future for Corinthians.
“I’m looking forward to the U18 season and defending this thing. That’s what I’m looking forward to right now! When young people in our club see a National Cup final at U17, they start saying ‘we can do that now as well’. It instills confidence that these boys playing know they’re as good as anyone in the country. That’s really important."
O’Leary; McCarthy, Healy, Murphy, Heinen (O’Connor 92); Cunningham, O’Donnell; Quilligan (O’Riordan 74), Broderick (Ryan 85), Lee (O’Sullivan 65); Skieters.
Flinter (Kiernan 46); Pedro, Good (Clarke 46), Amusat; Garcia, Douglas (Edet 46), Rice, O’Kelly; Kearns, Obular (Malik 82), Mihutescu.