Southern Star Ltd. logo

Clonakilty Community College's trailblazing stars mix it with Italian soccer giants in inaugural Adriatic Cup

May 19th, 2023 9:00 AM

By Kieran McCarthy

Clonakilty Community College's trailblazing stars mix it with Italian soccer giants in inaugural Adriatic Cup Image
The Clonakilty Community College team that finished a brilliant third at the inaugural Adriatic Cup in Italy.

Share this article

THREE is the magic number for Clonakilty Community College’s trailblazing U14 soccer team following their incredible Italian adventure.

The West Cork school rubbed shoulders with Italian football giants Lazio and Bologna in the inaugural Adriatic Cup held in the coastal town of Giulianova over the May bank holiday weekend.

A trip they’ll never forget, Clonakilty CC’s talented team finished in third place after winning the third/fourth place play-off, to bring silverware home to West Cork.

‘It is wonderful that we finished third and we’re delighted with that, but the highlight for me is the confidence the lads have from this experience,’ explains Clon teacher/soccer coach Stewart Dollery, whose connections led to the school being invited to take part in the U14 competition.

‘They bonded so well during the trip, they were a tight-knit group anyway but this is something that will tie them together forever. They more than held their own there and that’s given them a big confidence boost, and it’s a great reflection on their clubs here in West Cork as well.’

Clonakilty Community College's Conrad Murphy in action.

Clonakilty Community College were drawn in a group that included Lazio and two local league teams, Maceratese and Nuova Antoniana. Nathan O'Sullivan and Ewan Knowles were on target in the opening game, as the Clon team defeated Nuova Antoniana 2-1, with coach Dollery delighted with the positive start.

The next morning the West Cork school took on the mighty Lazio, and again they looked comfortable. The game was level, 1-1, with Tom Whooley of Ardfield on target for Clon CC, before Lazio scored a late penalty to win 2-1. Dusting themselves down, the Clonakilty school – inspired by a Tom Whooley hat-trick – beat Maceratese 3-1 in their final group game to finish as runners-up in the group.

‘We played Bologna in the semi-final and they are a quality side. They kept the ball so well and passed it so well; they were very impressive. They won 2-0,’ Dollery explains.

‘Bologna were all about pass and move, always moving into better positions to create space, so good with their feet, and so comfortable on the ball all over the field; they were quality to watch. That’s a great lesson for our lads, to play teams like Bologna and Lazio, and see how they play.’

Clonakilty then went into their fifth game of the tournament: a play-off against Bonalis Teramo.

‘We went 1-0 up, thanks to a goal from Tom Whooley, and were well on top. They equalised through a penalty. Then we got a penalty, and Tom scored it, his sixth goal in five games. We held on to win 2-1 and finish third; it was a brilliant way to finish off,’ says Dollery, and the plan is to bring another Clonakilty Community College team back to the tournament in 2024.

For the players and their local clubs, it’s a hold-your-head-up-high experience, to go toe to toe with clubs like Lazio and Bologna, and to bring home silverware.

Share this article

Related content