Lurgan Town U17s met Newry Town in the final if the Mud Ulster Plate yesterday. A sunny day with Newry winning the toss and Lurgan playing with the sun in their eyes for the first half.
Lurgan settled quickly and were soon on the attack. The ball was played out from the back into the middle if the park were it was passed out to Niall who slipped it into Jamie who sent a low hard cross across the six yard line and Denver running in at the back post slotted the ball home. An unbelievable start and a great team goal. Newry tried to press for an equaliser but didn’t cause any of our back four any real problems and Lurgan always broke quickly to try and search for a second.
On one such occasion Niall broke free on the left and shot across goal shaving the post. Jamie also had an opportunity as the ball came out to the edge of the box he swung at it with an on rushing defender closing him down only to miss hit but an opportunity none the less. Newry’s ploy seemed to be lump the ball over the top as quickly as possible to put the two full backs under pressure but Lurgan were resolute and mistakes were few and far between. Half time 1 nil.
A few positional changes at half time but still playing the same formation saw Ollie move into the middle of park along with Travis and Jay moving to left back and centre half. As usual Lurgan started the second half slowly where as Newry raised the intensity and began to probe the defence with balls played between the centre halves and full backs. Fortunately Rivaldo swept these up.
Lurgan’s slow lethargic start was causing problems and led to Newry being awarded a penalty after Rivaldo was judged to have fouled Newry’s centre forward who “fell” and rolled a few times calling for a penalty and the referee duely obliged. It looked very harsh because it looked as though Rivaldo won the ball; but it is what it is he wasn’t changing his mind. Newry’s number 6 stepped up sent the ball high over the bar.
This focused Lurgan minds but it also galvanised Newry who again were searching for that equaliser. It nearly came from a corner kick for Newry, the corner taken from the right and Lurgan not tracking their runners a free header from Newry in the centre if the goal struck Rivaldo on the chest and bounced over the bar. Rivaldo knew nothing about it but he was in the right place at the right time, used up all his birthday wishes by now!!.
Newry pressed and pressed but Lurgan were also resolute and stubborn in defence, refusing to let anyone get by them. Eventually the ref blew up and Lurgan had won. Phew!!!
On behalf of the coaches we would like to thank each and every lad today who played, performed and dug in when it got tough to win this trophy. It is nothing less than you all deserve. we are proud with each and every one of you and you are all a credit to the club and especially to your parents. Let’s go on from here and hopefully it is the first of many trophies for you all.
MOTM: Morgan Smyth followed closely by JLo and Niall who both worked extremely hard today.
Team: Rivaldo, Matthew, Alex, Morgan, Simon, Travis, Jay, Adam, JLo, Joshua, Ollie, Jamie, Niall and Denver.