On Saturday, the Paisley and District Schools Football Association league playoffs took place at St James Park, Paisley.
Three finals took place in the U14, U16 and U18 age brackets. All participants had finished top of their league section over the course of the season, but these were a one-off finals for the chance to get bragging rights for another year.
In the U14s match St Ninians triumphed over Notre Dame 6-3. Coach Paul Marshall said: "I thought it was a really good game, we started well with a goal in the first minute and we thought we'd stroll it to be honest from that start but credit to Notre Dame who came back in it. 2-2 at half-time, I thought our boys came into the second half with the right attitude and played some lovely football. But I've got to say Notre Dame is the best team we've played this season, it was a great final as the two best teams were here."
Just as my interview with Mr Marshall concluded, the full time whistle went on the pitch adjacent. St Ninians had completed the double; their U16s beat Gleniffer 4-2. Kevin O'Hagan, the St Ninians coach, drew some parallels with the two games: "I'm really pleased the boys performed really well, had a good start and got an early goal. We showed great perseverance and I'm just really pleased and proud of the boys."
And in the U18s final it was Renfrew who were victorious over Notre Dame 3-1. Jacob Spence, the Renfrew coach, had this to say: "The boys played really well. I knew they could play football like that, we'd been playing a bit of long ball in other games but we got the ball down today and they deserve it after playing well all year, so I'm happy for them."
Before each team received their medals there was a well-respected round of applause for the match officials, who keep schools football alive by lending their time, without pay, to referee the games. It was noted that one referee in particular would have picked up £30,000 over the years by the Paisley and District Schools FA had he been paid for his matches!
All-in-all it was a great day of football. Congratulations to St Ninians & Renfrew and commiserations to Notre Dame and Gleniffer who, despite not winning the cup, are victors of their league section.
Photos from Renfrew v Notre Dame (Seniors): http://youthfootballscotland.zenfolio.com/p699011788
Photos from St Ninians v Gleniffer (U16): http://youthfootballscotland.zenfolio.com/p938384581
Photos from St Ninians v Notre Dame (U14): http://youthfootballscotland.zenfolio.com/p850421921