Wilson thrilled with victory

LISNEAL College are one game away from creating history next month.

The Lisneal College under-14's side which met St. Columb's College in the semi-finals of the Vauxhall Northern Ireland Cup at The Brandywell on Thursday. INLS1213-101KM

The Waterside school caused a massive upset in the Northern Ireland Vauxhall Schools Cup Intermediate section when their Under 14 side defeated St Columb’s College 2-0, at the semi-final stage, at the Brandywell, last Thursday.

The youngsters now face either Monkstown or St Mary’s CBGS in next month’s final, at Ballymena Showgrounds and coach Chris Wilson is hoping his side can go all the way.

“It was a fantastic win for us and to be honest we have a great group of players this year,” stated Wilson.

“They certainly did the school proud and although they were under pressure from St Columb’s, they did fantastically well to get to the final, but now that we are there we want to go on and win it.

“We were under no illusions going into the semi-final that we had a massive task on our hands if we wanted to beat St Columb’s, they have quite a lot of pupils to choose from compared to us, but as I have said we have a good footballing side of players this year.

“The boys are on cloud nine after the win and it’s myself and Mr Johnson’s task to get their feet back on the ground.”

Lisneal have already had a tough campaign and Mr Wilson feels those games will help his side in the final and he believes the big support, which cheered them on at the Brandywell, will help them in Ballymena.

“Against St Columb’s because they like to get the ball down and play some football that benefited us, because we too like to play football, but physically we may not be the strongest team and some times that is the case with Belfast schools,” he added.

“However in saying that we played St Malachy’s College in the quarter-finals and after drawing we beat them on penalties, our second penalty shoot-out win, so we know that we beat the Belfast schools.

“All the boys not just play for the school team, but they to are playing for a host of D&D teams, so they have played in other big games before, but some of them were a wee bit nervous in the early stages of the semi-final, at the end of the day they were also playing at the Brandywell and that is something which they certainly aren’t use too.

“But when things settled down particularly in the second half we started to play well and scored two great goals.

“We also had tremendous support from both parents and fellow pupils, I think we had around 100 or so supporters all cheering the boys on and I know that we’ll have another good support for the final next month.”

Another incentive for Wilson’s young side is that they have a chance to carry on their success in Scotland in May.

If they are successful on Wednesday, April 24, they will represent Northern Ireland in the ‘British Isle Championships’, which takes place, in Glasgow, in May and they will come up against the best

English, Scottish and Welsh sides.

“We are one game away from obviously winning the Northern Ireland Cup but we are also one game away from representing Northern Ireland at the British Isle Championships and that really would be something extra special,” he added.

“To be playing against the top schools from England, Scotland and Wales would be another great achievement for just not the boys but the entire school.”

Mr Wilson who has been a teacher at Lisneal for a number of years was just like his players over the moon to have defeated neighbours St Columb’s College, in fact over his years managing the team his side came up against a former Premier League star.

“I can remember taking the then Clondermott school team against St Columb’s when Darron Gibson was playing for St Columb’s, that has been how long I have been taking the school team, so to manage the team to beat St Columb’s was great.”