Updated: 01/05/17 : 07:16:54
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Dublin schoolboys win Sligo Super Cup

The inaugural Sligo Super Cup played over the Bank Holiday weekend at the Showgrounds certainly lived up to its name as eight talented young teams from soccer academies across Ireland and the UK served up a feast of football.

After 16 thrilling games, the superbly drilled Dublin District Schoolboys League (DDSL) emerged   triumphant, edging out a gallant Club NI team in a highly entertaining final on Sunday morning.

The highly-rated Dublin side had reached the final on the balance of a two goal goal difference over Celtic, after the sides had drawn one-all in what was probably the game of the tournament.

The Celtic youngsters, returning to the birthplace of their club’s founder, were massively impressive both in their performances on the field of play and in their impeccable behaviour and professionalism off it. Indeed, this was a trait of all the participating teams, who were a credit to their respective coaches and families.

And among the teams earning favourable reviews from the 500 fans who attended over the week-end was the local Sligo/Leitrim squad, who performed admirably in all their games in a very difficult group B. They were unlucky to lose their opening fixture against mighty Celtic by the only goal of the game, before going down narrowly to both DDSL and Linfield.

They got their well deserved victory in the play-offs, defeating the Mayo League by 3-0, with goals from skipper, Niall Holahan and two from Michael Clifford.

In a keenly competitive Group B, Club NI remained unbeaten to book their place in the final. The last game of the group was a real nail-biter as the Northerners faced Sheffield Wednesday. A draw would have been sufficient to guarantee a final place for the English side, but Club NI upset the oods with a terrific display which earned them a 1-0 win.

Sheffield Wednesday had earlier beaten Mayo League by the odd goal in five in another tournament high point, while the eagerly anticipated showdown between Celtic and Linfield ended in a 2-0 win for the Scots.

In a thrilling 3rd/4th place play-off, Celtic claimed the higher position with a one nil win over Sheffield Wednesday, and then in an action-packed final, DDSL had two goals to spare over Club NI to become the inaugural winners of the Sligo Super Cup, with the added bonus that their skipper, James Byrne was named Player of the Tournament.

But, really, everybody was a winner in this innovative competition, as compliments flowed in from all and sundry both for the amazing standard of football and for the meticulous planning of the organising committee, as well as glowing praise for the facilities at Sligo Showgrounds.

Tournament Director, Packie Lynch, was thrilled with the success of the tournament.

“On every level, the tournament worked a treat. The standard of football was exceptionally high, with all of the teams highly impressive. Off the pitch, our visitors were highly complimentary of the arrangements we had put in place and some expressed the view that it was the best tournament of its type they had ever experienced.

“None of that would have  been possible without the wholehearted work of our committee, the generous support of our sponsors, and a dedicated army of volunteers. Sligo Schoolboys League and Sligo Rovers played a blinder in what they brought to the tournament. All in all, it was a perfect example of Sligo’s football family pulling together to showcase what we have here, and everybody went away with memories to last a lifetime,” he said.

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