Savage Cup Preview

The clubs U19s will take on favourites Cookstown Youth in the Savage Cup Final at Holme Park, Armagh on Friday 29th December 11am KO. The team have had to come through 3 games to reach the final with wins against Fivemiletown, Bourneview and Markethill Swifts. Cookstown will be tough opponents as they will have a squad that consists of players that will be in their second year in the MUJL whereas Lurgan go with a squad in their first year with just one player in his second. However, the 2 teams have faced each other this season on two occasions already. It was Cookstown collecting a convincing 5-1 win in Cookstown and then Lurgan became the only team to beat them this season with a 2-1 win a few weeks later.

Coach Phil McKinley knows his squad will have play to their potential to win the game, but he knows that this squad have the capabilities to upset the favourites. Despite missing regular defenders Jonathan Russell and Jack O’Neill there will be a chance for 2 players to step in and do a similar job.

Goalkeeper – Adam Craig has been a revelation since he became the team’s goalkeeper in season 2015-16. Adam previously played outfield but since he took over between the posts he has on numerous occasions performed to levels that most Irish League keepers would be proud of. Adam is now a regular for the Senior reserve team and was voted young player of the year last season.

Defender – Timothy Millen is a machine and his MR CONSISTENT also equally capable on right or left foot. Tim is quick to recover and strong in the tackle and very rarely goes below a 7 out of 10 each match.

Defender – Brett Smyth has been a regular all season in the centre of defence. His strength is his pace and is probably the quickest outfield player in the squad. Brett is like Tim by giving 100% week in week out and with his pace he can recover quickly.

Defender – Morgan Smyth gets a chance to show his growth as a player as he comes into the squad to provide cover for the missing Jack O’Neill. Morgan has played twice for theU19s this season already and performed with composure and excellent reading of the game.

Defender – Ryan Upton comes back into the squad despite missing numerous games due to other commitments. Ryan brings strength to the backline and great aerial ability along with improvement in his ability on the ball.

Defender – Odhran Crozier returned to the club this season and has brought non-stop commitment to the squad as well as electric pace down the right-hand side. Odhran would go through a brick wall with his desire to give his best.

Goalkeeper/Defender/Midfielder – Tyler Boyce comes into the squad due the Jonathan Russell being unavailable. Tyler can fill in many positions from Goalkeeper to Midfielder. As an outfield player Tyler is strong in the air and in the tackle. Tyler has become established as the senior team keeper.

Midfielder – Andrew McIvor has been in goalscoring form this season from midfield as he can boast a return of seven goals which has him joint top scorer. Andy has loads of ability on the ball but likes a tackle as well. Andy has been a regular for the reserves.

Midfielder – Jack Evans may not have got on the scoresheet this season but Jack offers a lot to the team. Jack wins tackle after tackle and is always giving options to receive a pass from a team-mate. Jack can do the hard work along with playing with knowledge. Jack will feel a goal is coming as he his scoring regular for the reserves.

Midfielder – Lewis McKinley brings different attributes to what Andy and Jack bring. Lewis is the teams set piece expert along with leading the way with assists this season by reaching 10 already as well as adding 5 goals of his own. Lewis will hope he can be a match winner again in a final after scoring twice in a previous final.

Midfielder/Attacker – Callum Watkins is the only player in the squad born in 1999 with the rest 2000 or 2001s. Callum has been a massive asset to the squad this season and his more than capable of playing in numerous positions. He is another player with pace and has bagged 7 goals this season.

Midfielder/Attacker – Mark Boyd is technically very good with bags of skill and can tie defenders in knots at times with his close skill on the ball. Mark loves a rabona.

Midfielder/Attacker – Alex Woods is the youngest player in the team this season and has another two seasons left in this league. Alex brings amazing ability on the ball and loves to take players on as well as get in a tackle or two. Alex AKA Woodsy has knocked in five goals.

Attacker – Aaron Winters has been the club’s main striker for a few seasons now. Aaron brings an amazing work-rate and desire to be the best. Aaron has pace to get at defenders to make life difficult. Aaron has also scored 7 goals this season as well as scoring for the reserves this season.

Coach – Phil McKinley has coached this team for 11 seasons in which he has seen a change in personnel over those years. In the eight years of 11 aside football this will be the squads 5th final in that time. The record stands at 2 final wins from 4.