DERRY CITY Under-19s and Derry & District Colts secured a fantastic Foyle Cup ‘double’ for the city as this year’s competition drew to a close last weekend.
Both teams flew the flag for local footballers in the prestigious tournament when claiming the Under-19 and Under-11 titles on Friday evening, Derry City U19s securing an emphatic victory over Bonagee United at Ardmore while Derry & District Colts defeated Scottish representaives Hearts at the Vale Centre.
And this year’s highly successful competition was brought to a conclusion at Brandywell Stadium in glorious sunshine on Saturday with three fantastic finals in the Under-16, Under-14 and Under-12 age categories.
Past winners, Donegal Schools were crowned Under-16 champions followng a slender 2-1 victory over Waterford Schools in an entertaing finale while Glasgow Celtic retained their Under-14 trophy with a comfortable 2-0 win over fellow SPL outfit, Aberdeen. And Cavan Monaghan Youth League lifted the Under-12 trophy when defeating last year’s winners, NW Coleraine Youth League on penalties.
The Under-19 final was keenly contested until the latter stages when the young ‘Candy Stripes’ finally took complete control of proceedings and eventually secured a 6-1 victory to claim the honours.
Derry boasted a strong squad and had the luxury to field players of the calibre of former first team member, Thomas McBride and they proved too strong for their Donegal counterparts.
The Bonagee United goalkeeper performed heroics in the first half to keep the score at 1-0 going into the half-time interval, however, 15 minutes into the second half Derry increased their advantage following a penalty kick.
It was an uphill struggle from then on for the Inishowen men who did manage a consolation goal but they couldn’t contain a rampant City who ran out comfortable winners in the end.
Past winners, Donegal Schools took on Waterford Schools in the Under-16 final on Saturday. Donegal started brightest of the two teams and went ahead through an own goal from Jack Hale, however, Mark Walsh equalised within two minutes.
Waterford then had a header cleared off the line while Donegal were denied a last gasp winner on two occassions, once from a header and the other by yet another tremendous save by Sam O’Neill from a penalty.
Donegal then had a second penalty awarded which gave Conor Whittle the chance to atone for his earlier miss and he made no mistake, netting the winner for the Inishowen men.
In the Under-14 McDaid’s Football Special Foyle Cup competition, holders Celtic had progressed to the final at the expense of St Oliver Plunkett’s from Belfast where Aberdeen awaited having accounted for their fellow Scots in their semi-final.
Celtic went ahead 10 minutes after the kick-off when a long ball out of defence found striker Aiden Nesbitt who volleyed home the opening strike.
And then on 18 minutes Connor McLaren increased the ‘Hoops’ lead from the penalty spot to put the holders firmly in control. Aberdeen rallied in the second half but it wasn’t to be as the Glasgow ‘Bhoys’ retained their hold on the cup.
Cavan Monaghan Youth League, under the stewardship of former Derry City and Finn Harps player, Tom Mohan, had upset the odds to make it through to the Under-12 showpiece following victories over Linfield and Hearts and they took on last year’s champions, NW Coleraine YL in an entertaining final.
Mohan’s team took the lead from Lee Haughian’s penalty kick on 10 minutes and NW Coleraine YL had to be alert on 20 minutes when saving well from a shot by Lee Hannigan.
NW Coleraine YL did restore parity when Sean McBride was sent clear and he made no mistake. The reigning champions missed a glorious chance to regain the lead when, with the goalkeeper stranded, their forward under hit the shot with the empty net gaping, allowing the defender to get back and clear. The second half yielded no further scores, taking the tie to penalties and Cavan/Monaghan YL triumphed 4-3 to lift the cup.