To put this achievement in context, an estimated 50/60 schools from the Dublin region took part in the area qualifiers with 4 teams emerging from their separate qualifying days.
As winners of our qualifying day, we were entered into a group of 4 teams with the task of topping the group in order to progress to the Leinster Finals Day.
The Teams involved in our group were Hedgestown NS, Howth Road Mixed NS, St. Benedict’s and our very own St. Mary’s NS, Donnybrook.
Our day began with less than an ideal start. Josh and Glen created several chances in the game as they did throughout the day, hitting the post and crossbar on a few occasions.
Unfortunately, we came out losing the opening game 2-1 to Howth Road Mixed NS. Not the most ideal start, but perhaps the wake-up call that was needed.
Hedgestown NS were up next and the lack of a sufficient recovery break was reflected in our performance as we quickly went 2-0 down in the opening 5 minutes.
At this point, we were starting to think that today wasn't going to be our day. However, Max's contribution in the game was second to none, pulling off some David De Gea like saves to keep us in the game.
Our Captain Harry rallied the troops and we managed to bring the score back to 3-2 with a last minute penalty courtesy of Zach.
Ben also showed neat and tidy feet, rarely giving the ball away at a time we were looking to hang on in this game. He also came agonizingly close to scoring an amazing free kick.
Going into the final game, we were in a situation where we needed to win the game by 4 goals in order finish equal on top of the group with St. Benedicts NS, a side who played some fantastic football in their first two games.
The game from beginning to end was played at a frantic pace. The lads had achieved the unthinkable and were 6-2 up with 5 minutes to go.
In the final moments, we were under intense pressure with everyone almost out on their feet from the amount of effort and energy expended over 3 games.
Ali and Louis to their credit showed a fantastic work ethic and attitude in closing down the opposition, chasing down lost causes when required, and helped contribute to some fantastic goals at crucial times in the game.
After having played 3 games, we were now tied were St. Benedicts NS. Penalties awaited!
A penalty shoot-out is a lottery with success or failure defined by small margins. Our Boys showed fantastic support for one another in this pressure situation with each player slotting away their penalties with confidence.
At 5-4 ahead in sudden death, it was Goalkeeper Max who was the player with the final say, getting down low to save the 5th penalty and crowning Saint Mary’s “The Champions of Dublin”
The application of the Boys, their attitude and determination was to be admired and evident to all that were present.
Our next day out will be on May 10th at the MDL Grounds, Trim Road, Navan, Co. Meath. A huge “Thank “You” to all of the parents that made the effort to come and support and cheer on the boys today.
If any parents have pictures of the games, we would really appreciate if they would please send them in Josephine so we can get put them on the school website.