It was very much a case of heartbreak for Derry’s Ballymoor F.C., who faced Under-17 Cup favourites, Linfield, in their first NIBFA Cup Final in Ballymena on Monday last.
Both teams started slowly but it was Linfield who created the first chance with a snap-shot but Ballymoor keeper, Ryan Rankin, pulled off a superb one-handed save to keep the scoresheet blank.
Paul Smith came closest for Ballymoor with a long range effort which was blocked by a totally committed Linfield defence and 10 minutes before the break, deadlock was broken by the “Blues.”
Having won a free-kick in a dangerous area, the Linfield centre-forward produced a superb strike and with the Ballymoor defence slow to react to the danger, the ball found its way into the net.
And Ballymoor’s hopes of getting back into the game took a nosedive when, just before half-time, Linfield were awarded a penalty much to the confusion of the Ballymoor Faithful on the sidelines. The ‘Blues’ took full advantage from the spot when doubling their lead, the striker guiding the ball low into the bottom corner.
After the break Ballymoor pushed hard to reduce the deficit with Ciaran Harkin, Paul Smith and Paddy McClean all coming close but it was to be Linfield’s day.
Ballymoor F.C. - Ryan Harkin, Patrick McClean, Ryan Doherty, Cathal McKane, Tiernan Canning, Ciaran Harkin, Justin Reinheimer, Paul Smith, Philip McCallion, Dylan McCallion, Dane McGilloway, Ethan Tyre, Jordan Doherty, Declan Harley, Jake Stitt and Sean O’Donnell.