Integrated College Dungannon (ICD) joint coach Mark Patton heaped praise on his and Michael O’Connor’s players after they defeated holders St Columb’s 2-1 in Tuesday’s Danske Bank Northern Ireland Schools’ Cup Final at the National Stadium.
A goal in each half from Liam Corr and Kenny Ximenes proved enough for ICD to capture the prestigious trophy for the first time in the Tyrone school’s history
In truth, ICD were the superior team throughout and had they capitalised on a number of second half opportunities may have won by a more convincing margin.
But it mattered not and Patton was delighted how players from a number of different clubs had come together to win the greatest prize in schools football.
“It’s the first time the school had reached a major cup final and to it win was a great achievement for a school of that size and obviously for the programme (football scholarship). It shows what a group of young lads can achieve when they come together,” he said.
“These boys may not play every day or every weekend together but they have all come together and pushed on.
“Today the boys were superb; there were a few nerves in the first 20 minutes or so but once we got the first goal we settled.
“Then in the second half the boys were fantastic; we had three or four good opportunities to stretch our lead before we thanksfully got that second goal.
“To be fair St Columb’s came back and pulled a goal back but we held on.
“We’re proud of the boys, how they conducted themselves on the pitch; all credit to them.”
In truth, Dungannon got their tactics spot on. Patton said that the players had taken the information on board and executed the game plan.
Defensively ICD were rock solid throughout and in midfield and attack got the better of their opponents
Patton continued, “Michael takes all the credit for the tactical stuff, although I obviously help out.
“We worked on squeezing from the front and if they got past our squeeze then the plan was to go into a mid block and break on them.
“We have pace up front with Liam Corry, Jaydon (Morgan) and Kenny (Ximenes) and legs in Tommy (Taggert), Ethan (Nethery) and Lee (McMenemy) in midfield.
“Everyone worked their socks off and it worked. Fair play to the boys they took everything on board and it worked to a tee.”
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