DERRY’S Oxford United were considered unlucky at Stangmore Park on Sunday, the local lads narrowly losing out in the prestigious Tesco’s Under-13 Cup Final against Belfast representatives, Dungoyne.
Oxford travelled to the Dungannon venue in a confident mood having already defeated their opponents in the National League.
And with both teams having battled hard to reach this prestigious final - with over 70 teams having taken part in the competition - it was always going to be a nervous occasion.
Indeed, those nerves were clearly noticable from the kick-off with Oxford conceding an early corner and following a quality delivery from Dungoyne’s David Molloy, the ball was met by Mark Lowry to put the Belfast side into the driving seat.
The goal clearly sparked Oxford into action and when Gareth Doherty saw Ciaran Deeney’s run in behind the Dungoyne defence, he played in the perfect ball and Deeney made no mistake when restoring equality.
The game began to ebb and flow and it was Oxford who created a glorious opportunity to take the lead when Deeney cruised through the Dungoyne defence but his shot sailed agonisingly wide of the upright.
And Oxford maintained the pressure during the closing stages of the first half before they were awarded a free-kick 30 yards from goal. Up stepped Gareth Doherty who drove the ball into the Dungoyne danger area but the Belfast side’s young keeper, Reece Hinds, did well when rising majestically to collect the ball.
Following the change of ends, Oxford continued to press with scoring opportunties falling to Deeney and Doherty but the failed to hit the target.
But it was then Dungoyne’s turn to exert pressure and following a penetrating run by Lowry, he finished well to put his side back in control.
And as the Derry lads pressed hard for the equaliser they were caught on the counter-attack. A long ball ‘over the top’ saw Lowry gain possession and he punished the Derry lads when recording what was a superb hat-trick.
Oxford introduced substitutes Oran McConnell, Conal Fagan and Seamus Quinn and that move had a significant impact on the game with Fagan winning a ball in the middle of the park before feeding Quinn who forced Dungoyne to concede a corner.
From that set-piece situation, Deeney’s centre was met by McConnell whose accurate header found the net to bring Oxford back into the game.
But try as they did over the final five minutes, with Dungoyne flooding their defence, Oxford failed to net a vital third goal.
Deeney had a shot cleared off the goal-line as Oxford poured forward before another goalbound effort from Quinn was diverted over the bye-line at the expense of a corner. And from that corner Doherty’s header narrowly missed the post.
Disappointment for Oxford but taking nothing away from the effort put in by both the team and coaches.
The panel which represented Oxford in the Under-13 Tesco’s Cup Final was - Anthony O’Hagan, Caoimhin McCallion, Jake Francis, Owen Gibbons, Jon Doherty, Caolin O’Donnell (capt.), Seamus Quinn, Darren Harkin, Matty Doherty, Oran McConnell, Ciaran Deeney, Jordan Hale, Ethan Canning, Conal Fegan and Gareth Doherty.
N. Ireland Boys’ U-11 Cup
Culmore Youth . . . . . . . . .. . . .4
Ardoyne Youth . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Culmore Youth advanced to the NIBFA’s Under-11 Cup Final after a closely fought match against a physically strong and pacey Ardoyne Youth team.
Ardoyne took the lead with their first attack but Culmore equalised almost immediately with a shot into the roof of the net from Rachael Barnaby. A second Culmore goal soon followed when Jude Mullan headed in from a corner with only 10 minutes gone.
The battle continued in the second half but Culmore took 3-1 lead when James Lynch raced behind the Ardoyne defence when put through by half-time substitute, Eugene Burns, and scored at the near post.
Ardoyne remained in touch with their second goal. However, this only seemed to spur Culmore on and while Eugene Burns and Jude Mullan both missed chances, James Lynch again received a pass from Burns bofore he beat the Ardoyne keeper with a low shot to make it 4-2.
Ardoyne never gave up and after a free-kick was played into the Culmore six yard box, Ardoyne scored their third goal to create an exciting end to the match.
Culmore will play the final on May 2nd at the Riada Stadium in Ballymoney against eitherf Carniny Youth or Ridgeway Rovers.
Foyle Harps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
Clooney Schools . . . . . . . . . . .1
The first half was fairly close with Clooney pegging Harps back on numerous occasions but they failed to breach their opponents defence.
Declan Foley rifled home a 15 yards volley to open the scoring for Harps but within a minute Hynds lobbed Brady from 20 yards to level matters. But on the stroke of half-time Conor Boyle hit a beautiful left footed strike into the top corner to give Harps the lead again.
Harps upped the tempo and they went on the rampage after the break with Foley again scoring; a brace from Adam and a neat McClintock goal to give Harps the three points.
Culmore . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Ballymoor , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
Ballymoor opened the scoring after 15 minutes when Aaron Jarvis netted from the edge of the box. But Culmore equalised just before half-time when Dylan Doherty blasted home from 20 yards.
Culmore struck the crossbar twice in the second half but Ballymoor continued to battle and scored what turned out to be the winner with 10 minutes to go, Shane Doherty chipping the ball over
the keeper after a mistake by the Culmore defence.