The U19s played Cookstown at the Mid Ulster Sports Arena on Saturday in the quarter final of the Mid Ulster Cup.
Lurgan almost went behind after 3 minutes when Cookstown hit the crossbar but after 5 minutes Lurgan took the lead. A long ball from the back was headed on by Lewis McKinley to Alex Woods who then passed to Andrew McIvor which Andy crossed into Callum Watkins to score his 11th goal of the season. Andrew McIvor had a half chance to double Lurgans lead but his shot was blocked. Cookstown were a threat but Lurgans defence of Blacoe, Wilson, Russell, O’Neill and Millen along with Adam Craig in goal were playing well. Alex Woods then struck the post with a free kick and Lewis McKinley hit a shot wide. Lurgan were playing good football with Watkins and Woods putting in a great shift up front and were well supported by midfielders McIvor, Evans and McKinley. However Cookstown got an equaliser after 30 minutes. The remainder of the half was end to end but it finished all square.
Cookstown started strong in the second half and went close on a few occasions. Lurgan were having some luck go their way but we’re still a threat on the break. Cookstown were awarded a penalty that was possibly a little harsh on Ryan Blacoe as it was more of a coming together as the players just ran across each other’s path. The penalty was hit with power but hit the crossbar and as it dropped down Adam Craig was quick to react and collect the ball. Then Cookstown had another chance to equalise but Adam Craig saved from close range and from the save Cookstown had another shot cleared of the line by Simon Wilson. Lurgan almost took the lead when a Jonny Russell cross just needed the slightest of touches from the incoming of Callum Watkins but it wasn’t to be. Mark Boyd got clear down the right which he crossed but it was cleared by Cookstown. Then the sucker blow arrived with approx 12 minutes left when Cookstown took the lead. Lurgan went all out for the equaliser and a couple of through passes from Lewis McKinley found the attackers but they were stopped by the Cookstown defenders. Cookstown almost got a third but more good defending by Simon Wilson and Morgan Smyth kept the score at 2-1 to Cookstown.
It was a pleasing performance by Lurgan even though they did ride their luck at times in the second half but overall the team played with commitment plus some good phases of play. There were a number of good performances but the standout player was Callum Watkins. Callum went on to play a further 90 minutes in the afternoon which he scored two more goals and another player of the match performance for the senior reserves. Well done Callum.