Coláiste Rís reached the First Year Leinster Cup final last Wednesday by beating Clonkeen College, Blackrock, 2-1 in a hard-fought match played in McKelvey Celtic Park, Finglas.
Playing with a very strong wind, it was the Dublin school who came close to scoring early in the game when two low crosses were driven across the Coláiste Rís six-yard box before Coláiste Rís goalkeeper Ciaran McGlynn had to dive to tip away a vicious 20 yard shot.
Ten minutes into the game, Clonkeen College took a deserved lead with a shot from outside the penalty box which was helped on its way by the strong wind.
This was a wake-up call for Coláiste Rís who started to put their own neat passing game together and they soon created two excellent chances with through balls from midfield.
First, Matthew Kirwan showed terrific pace to break through the Clonkeen defence and fired a rising shot from the edge of the box which went a foot wide while moments later, Conor Mackin raced onto another through ball in the inside-left channel and hit a low shot which was only inches wide of the far post.
Five minutes from the end of the first half Colaiste Rís scored a well-deserved equaliser – and what a goal it was. Clonkeen College conceded a direct free kick about 18 yards out and up stepped Peter McStravick to place a curling shot over the wall and into the far top corner.
As the second half got underway, Coláiste Rís started with the greater intensity and this remained the pattern for the remainder of the game as the Dundalk team out-fought and outplayed their opponents in every area of the field.
Six minutes from time came the winning goal. Matthew Kirwan received a pass from midfield and turned his marker before racing into the right-hand side of the penalty area and shooting. The Clonkeen College goalkeeper could only parry his shot and Conor Mackin was on hand to tap in the rebound.
The final whistle brought scenes of wild delight from this young team who will now meet either Grennan College, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny or Salesian College, Cellbridge, Co Kildare in the Leinster final.
Coláiste Rís: Ciaran McGlynn, Jay O’Hagan, Gavin Farrell, Conor Soraghan, Kieran Murtagh, Liam O’Callaghan, Abdul Abubakar, Luke Gorham, Matthew Kirwan, Conor Mackin, Peter McStravick. Subs: Sean Hill, William Opoku, Jason Cullen, David Hayes.