1970 - 1975
The 1970s began with a degree of success for the new club. The younger team, in the SBBL, reached the cup final in the 1970/1971 season but, unfortunately, were well beaten by Immaculata 7-2. In the same year, the Under 16s won the Down and Connor league, beating Rosario 3-0 in a play off match, bringing the club its first silverware in only its second year of existence. The goals that day were scored by Jim Nellins (2) and Sean McKay. The full Under 16 squad was: Kieron O’Hagan, Ray Brennan, Raymond Beattie, Peter Shields, Jimmy Roberts, Des Brennan, David Corry, Terry McQuillan, Nino Crawford, Brendan Wright, Michael Doyle, Barry Kennedy, Jim Nellins, Sean McKay and Ashley Reid.
The following year is one of almost but not quite for the club. The Under 16s again contest for the league. With only one point separating Aquinas from St. Paul’s Swifts, local difficulties prevent the league from reaching its conclusion. Similarly, in the cup, the team beat Star of the Sea 2-1 in the semi final, only to fall foul of a transfer mix-up, which saw the match awarded to Star. For the record the scorer of both goals that day was Barry Kennedy.
More silverware was won in the 1973/1974 season, when our under 14s defeated 1st Magheragall BB 3-2 in the Holden Cup, donated by the league President, Mrs Holden. Given the disappointments in the previous couple of seasons this was a welcome climax to a hard fought campaign. The goals were scored by Niall McLaughlin, Conor Gilligan and J Piggott from the penalty spot. The rest of the cup winning squad was: Tim McLaughlin, Paddy McCollum, Michael Meenagh, Hugh O’Neill, Michael Hume, Tommy Killen, Willie McGann, Joe Dolan, Ian Morgan and Steve Clayton.
1974/1975 proved to be the most successful year to date for the young club. The Under 14s did the double, collecting the SBBL league and cup. On top of that the Holden Cup was retained with an emphatic, and perhaps record, win over Warren Boys in the final with a score of 11-2. The names of that record making squad are Tim McLaughlin, James Martin, Niall McLaughlin, James Sweeney, Brendan McKeogh, Michael Hume, Conor Gilligan, Kevin Killen, Eamon Bradley, Jim Harty, Willie McGann, Joe Dolan and Steve Clayton.
So far so good! The first six years have proved quite successful, with two league trophies and two cups, and have set an ambitious standard for future teams which would don the Aquinas colours.