Lurgan Town U14s were beaten 4-3 today in the final of the Mid Ulster Shield. Town started the game slowly, standing off the opposition and allowing them room to run with the ball. Despite this Soufian Mouhsine was unfortunate not put put Lurgan into the lead early on, but it wasn’t long before Cookstown took the lead themselves leaving the Lurgan players feeling a bit deflated to be behind early in the game. Cookstown doubled their score when an opposition midfielder ran unchecked to pick up a lose ball from a corner and drilled it into the heart of the 6 yard box and was subsequently turned into the town net past Jake Edgar. The match was in danger of running away from Lurgan at this stage with Cookstown confidence on a high. Town however held on to keep the score down to 2-0 at half time.
A wake up call at half time was needed and a couple of changes with the introduction of Jake Turner and Cameron Mackay to try and instill some fight and urgency into the team. Town started the second half much better but unfortunately found themselves falling further behind early on. The hill had just gotten much steeper and it certainly looked as though the match was all wrapped up for Cookstown. The Lurgan boys however dug in and pulled a goal back with a well taken penalty from Josh Johnston, and this spurred the boys on especially when Josh Johnston secured his brace to bring the score back to 3-2 and it was game on and Town were really beginning to insert their presence on the game but were very unfortunate to have a penalty decision go against them when Adam Vennard was judged to have upended an opposition striker in the box. Cookstown dispatched the penalty well to again stretch their lead but it didn’t last long before Ronan Watkins again closed the gap to 4-3 with a well taken goal. Town went all out pushing for the equaliser with the opposition keeper pulling off a number of saves to deny Town. With only minutes left on the clock Town won another penalty when Josh Johnston had his shirt pulled in the box to deny him a shot on goal, he stepped up confidently hoping to complete his hattrick for the day only to see his shot sail over the bar. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be for the boys and they simply run out of time.
It was a great game of football played in the spirit of the game by both teams which was encouraging to see, and well supported by both sets of fans. All credit to the Lurgan Town boys who fought gallantly to get themselves back into the match and really made a game of it in the second half. Unfortunately someone has to win and someone has to lose and we pass on our congratulations to Cookstown Youth on winning the shield and thank them for making it such a good game.
Team: Jake Edgar, Adam Vennard, Ben Cuthbert, Luke Hammond, Ronan McCann, James Maguire, Ricardo Arujo, Soufian Mouhsine, Kyle White, Josh Johnston x2, Ronan Watkins x1, Jake Turner, Bobby Jones, Cameron Mackay, Aidan Cassidy