So near yet so far for the Under 11 team on Saturday when they were beat in a penalty shoot out against Immaculata in the semi-final of the John Norris Cup at Strangford Avenue. Starting brightly Ballynahinch took the game to their opponents with Eoin Teggart looking sharp on the left as he ran at the Immaculata right back and put in some super crosses. With five minutes gone a super ball in by Daniel Hewitt found Luke Martin who’s quick shot came off the crossbar. Another great cross by Eoin Teggart across the six yard box just needed a touch but Luke Martin and then Harry Bell just failed to connect. Ballynahinch were having a good spell but Immaculata were not going to lie down and fought their way back into the game. Up front they had two speedy forwards who kept Sarah Crompton and Conor Graham on their toes and when they did break through Lauren Perry was quickly off her line to clear the danger. Matthew Jess had his work cut out at left back but tackled hard never giving up.The game then settled into a mid-field battle with Curtis Ross and Harry Bell working hard to match the work rate of their opponents. Chances were limited but just before half time Immaculata broke on the left and their winger cut in and hit a shot which Lauren Perry did well to save. The second half mirrored the first with both defences standing strong and not allowing any clear cut chances for either set of forwards. Midway into the half Immaculata put pressure on Ballynahinch with a few shots that went wide of the posts. Their best chance came on twenty minutes when the ball fell to their centre forward on the penalty spot. He struck his shot well but Lauren Perry positioning was first class and she gathered in the ball. At the other end Daniel Hewitt was running at the full back but no one was able to connect with his crosses. The game ended scoreless and went straight to a penalty shoot out. Curtis Ross, Eoin Teggart and Harry Bell all scored for Ballynahinch but Immaculata progressed to the final by scoring four of their penalities. Overall a hard fought game with little between the two teams. Ballynahinch’s player of the match was Lauren Perry.
The Under 16 team completed their league campaign with a game against Celtic Boys. They had a few chances to score with George Habgood hitting the crossbar and going close with a couple of shots. However Celtic Boys were the stronger team and ended up with the points. The season was hard for the players but they did improve on last year increasing the amount of goals they scored and also the number of games they won. The biggest plus was the debut of a number of players for the senior team’s third team Ballynahinch Albion towards the end of the season including John McMenamin,Greg Allision and Graeme McMullan ( all only 15 ). This is the first batch of players to come through the youth set up and augurs well for the future.
This Saturday 67 players/coaches/parents head to Newtownstewart in Scotland to take part in the Galloway Thistle FC Soccer Festival. This is the second year the club has attended the Festival with four teams entered ( two boys and two girls ) and everyone is looking forward to the day.
The Girls Section continues to go from strength to strength and is preparing for the league campaign which will start towards the end of May. If you are a girl interested in playing football for our club and were born on or after 1 January 1998 call at the Millbridge any Tuesday night after 6.30pm or contact Girls Co-ordinator Hannah Majury (m) 07896431342.