Marr College travelled to Dam Park in Ayr tonight to face a strong Belmont Academy side in the final of the All-Ayrshire Schools Cup. It had been a fantastic season for the boys to date in their first year as Marr College students, finishing second in the league and reaching the semi-final of the South Ayrshire cup. Expectations were high, and the nerves and adrenaline were clearly evident as the boys, nicknamed ‘The Wasps’ due to their black and yellow strips, boarded the team bus to head to the stadium.
The team arrived 45 minutes before kick-off, allowing for a squad photo and an opportunity for the boys to walk round the pitch and soak up the occasion. The Wasps then entered the away team dressing room where the strips had been set up by a number of S1 helpers from the school. The boys received instructions from coaches Mr McLaughlin and Mr Moncrieff, before returning to the pitch to work through their warm-up. By this time, the tall stand overlooking the park was starting to fill with parents, teachers and fellow students, creating an electric atmosphere that the boys would go on to soak up for the duration of the game.
The match itself started in dramatic fashion, with the Wasps taking the lead after only one minute. Archie Munro found himself in possession of the ball to the left hand side of the box and worked himself some space to get his shot away, firing past the helpless Belmont keeper at his near post. Munro raced off to the touchline to celebrate, followed by the entire outfield contribution of the Marr team. Marr had several opportunties to double their lead, with both Ryan McCarthur and Keir O’Neil coming very close with two terrific solo efforts. It was Belmont however who were to strike next with a sensational effort from the edge of the Marr box finding its way into the roof of Andrew Rowan’s net ten minutes from half time.
The Wasps entered the dressing room disappointed to be level at the half way mark, but content with the performance, and thorougly enjoying the occasion of the cup final. This positive attitude seen the team dominate the opening period of the second half, and looked very likely to take the lead again. Belmont weathered the storm however, and it was the Ayr side that found themselves taking the lead after a long clearance from defence resulted in Rowan in goals for Marr facing two Belmont strikers. Rowan did well in reducing the angle for a shot from one striker, but the Belmont number 9 was able to pick out a pass leaving an open net for his strike partner. Belmont doubled their lead one minute later with a bullet shot from 25 yards out, creating a real uphill battle for the Wasps. Marr used all three substitutes after this and the passion and commitment from the team was outstanding. Unfortunately however, Belmont went on to take control of the game and the match finished with Marr conceding another two late goals to make the final score 5-1.
The scoreline was very harsh on the boys from Troon, but spirits remained high with the team receiving an enormous round of applause as they walked to the main stand to collect their runners up medals. The boys are looking forward to next season, and have established a fantastic relationship and team spirit which will serve them well throughout their careers at Marr College. The celebration of the season’s success on the bus back to school was fantastic, with the full team taking part in a sing-song the whole way back.
A fantastic night out, which despite the result, showcased the tremendous talent of Marr’s U-13 footballers. In addition to the performance, the team were an absolute credit to the school and the boys should feel extremely proud. Well done Marr!
Player’s Man of the Match: Kinlay Bilham
Mr McLaughlin’s Man of the Match: Kinlay Bilham
Ms Strachan’s Man of the Match: Kinlay Bilham
Mr Moncrieff’s Man of the Match: Konor Brennan