The first semifinal of the Dublin Schools' Penalty King competition was completed this week.
It took place at half-time as the Saints took on Drogheda in an exciting 2-2 encounter on Monday night's league fixture.
The competitors faced Saints U19 star goalkeeper Lee Doyle who admirably agreed to face all penalties on the night.
There were three schools involved, Our Lady of Mercy (Mourne Road) Drimnagh Castle (Longmile Road) and St Kevin's College (Crumlin).
Good support from all three schools filled one end of the Patrons Stand on a perfect spring night for the game.
In the junior semifinal, 15 penalties were taken in total with an 80% conversion rate in a fantastic display of skill and coolness under pressure by the young students.
After the initial 3 rounds, Jack Johnston of St Kevin's College had a 100% record, leaving Jason Whelan and Taylor Hall to battle it out in sudden death to see who would be the second qualifier for the final.
In the end, it was Taylor Hall from Our Lady of Mercy who was unfortunate to be knocked out of the competition.
Special praise must go to Taylor as he was the youngest competitor in the competition at 13 years old and a first year student.
He may be back next year, be warned!
Taylor received a consolation prize of a football signed by Saints penalty taker Killian Brennan.
The senior competition took place next, with the two qualifiers being decided directly following the three rounds of penalites.
With only one missed penalty, the unlucky player was Anthony Curedale from St Kevin's College, who also received a consolation prize of a signed ball by Saints penalty taker Killian Brennan.
Colm Dunne from Our Lady of Mercy and Kevin O'Grady from Drimnagh Castle qualified for the senior final both with 100% records.
Kevin O'Grady's cheeky chip straight down the middle will be remembered as the most entertaining penalty of the night which surprised the keeper after so many aimed at the corners.
The second semifinal will take place on Friday night as Saints face Sligo in the league.
The Junior final is on May 8th at Saints home game to Shamrock Rovers, while the Seniors face off on May 22nd at the Saints home game to Dundalk, both promising electric atmospheres for the young penalty takers involved.
We wish them all best of luck in the competition!
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