North Down II 2 Cookstown II 3
(Matty Montgomery, Ryan Millar, Raymond Miller)
THE REDS made harder work of North Down than it really should have been on Saturday.
Winning 3-0 and cruising with just ten minutes to go, they somehow contrived to concede two goals and find themselves under severe pressure following the sin binning of Ryan Millar. Thankfully Ryan’s dad, Michael, was on hand to not twice take the ball off the line and save Cookstown’s and Millar Junior’s blushes.
The Reds started as they had finished their mid-week game with Annadale - passing the ball around and getting in the faces of ND when they had possession.
Matty Montgomery scored the first when Millar Senior lobbed the ND defence allowing the teenage winger to finish brilliantly from the acute angle.
Michael was called into action at the other end when a breakaway ND attack was awarded with a short corner and the defender took his first of three goal line stops throughout the day.
Soon afterwards, midfielder Ryan Millar took a quick free and barged his way into the circle, choosing to shoot from almost the baseline and beating the keeper with a great undercut.
The Twos continued to push North in the second half and another great goal was scored by Captain Raymond Miller after wonderful Quickdraw-like play from Butler set up Morton. The strong tackling midfielder played in Miller who smashed the ball low and hard into the bottom corner.
A moment of madness from Ryan Millar saw the Reds down to ten men and ND get back two goals, but hero Michael Millar saved the day and all the points for the Twos who take on Raphoe in Donegal on Tuesday night.
Cookstown: Adam Henry, Michael Millar, Mark Wilson, Andy McWhirter, Dan Crooks, Philip Morton, Ryan Millar, Michael Johnston, Paul Watt, Raymond Miller, Matty Montgomery and Gavin Butler
Millar, Shearer and Black Man of the Match: Michael Millar
Good luck to the Fours in the Junior Shield final and condolences to James Cowan and his family following the death of Jimmy.
Cookstown IV 1 Lisnagarvey IV 1
THE FOURS had their inspirational captain Ricky McGaw to thank after they came from behind to beat the league leaders at Coolnafranky on Saturday.
Having lost their best forward, Paul Watt, just before the game, the Fours had to make do with Quickdraw up top.
Their task was made all the more difficult when they fell behind to a sloppy deflected effort.
Nonetheless, the Reds stuck to their task and in the final moments, McGaw nutmegged the Lisnagarvey goalkeeper with a powerful drive from the set-piece to give his team a share of the spoils.
The Fours now go into the Ulster Junior Shield final at Stormont at 10.30am on Saturday.
Cookstown: J. Kirkpatrick, P. Morrow, S. Agnew, G. Donaldson, I. Millar, I. Johnston, T. Johnston, M. McWhirter, R. McGaw (c), C. Turkington, P. Cherry
Antrim III 3 Cookstown V 1
The Reds travelled to a strong Antrim III who needed all three points to secure their position in the league and the day did not start well for the Reds with Chris Burns pulling up in the warm up.
Cookstown started of the brighter of the two teams and had Antrim pinned down for most of the first half. Despite the Reds squandering chances they eventually won a short corner which Brian Thom stepped up and converted continuing his goal scoring form of late.
Keeper Ashley Gillis was on fine form and made some unbelievable saves with a diving finger tape save possibly the pick of the bunch but he was was finally beaten before the half time break leaving the score 1-1.
With Antrim desperate to get all three points Cookstown knew it would be a struggle to keep the fresh legs Antrim had available at bay. The Reds were caught for pace at the back and the Antrim forward made no mistake in scoring from close range.
The Fives pushed forward in seek of an equaliser and Mitchell Greer came close but with the Reds on the attack they were caught on the break and conceded putting the game out of reach.
Cookstown: A. Gillis, B. Thom, B. Simpson, R. Thom, R. Johnston, G. Thom, A. Thom, P. Johnston, M. Carson, M. Greer, C. Burns.
Millar, Shearer and Black Man of the Match: Ashley Gillis.
Cookstown VI 5 Portrush II 3
(Stevie Allen 3, Marc Crooks, Mitchell Greer)
For the Sixes, teetering on the edge of relegation, this game and all those remaining are must win.
To their surprise on Saturday a multinational Portrush squad showed up boasting Germans, Dutch, English and few indiscernible accents believed to originate from the Ballycastle area.
The game got of to a flier with Stevie Allen finding space in the circle and despatching his reverse shot low in the goal. The Ports pushed the Reds and came close on various occasions before a Stephen Cuddy shot was first blocked on the line by the body of defender - deserving a stroke - before Stevie Allen volleyed home.
Portrush went on the attack and their various nationalities combined to score two quick goals to complete a Barrys-like roller-coaster ride of a first half and leaving the scores 2-2 at the break.
The Reds decided to assign Alistair Thom the job of man marking the long-haired Dutch import which in turn took the sting out of the Ports attack. However they did score first putting the Reds behind for the first time in the game.
Realising the importance of all three points, the Reds upped it a level and with keeper Ashley Gillis continuing his fine form of making amazing saves on the pitch and according to the facebook scoring of it, the reds were safe at the back. The two Steve’s then combined for a spectacular stops, Stephen Cuddy sent and aerial high into the opposition circle which Stevie Allen let bounce once before catching the ball sweetly on the volley and put the Sixes level.
Marc Crooks was a constant threat throughout and got his reward for this hard work when he finished from close range. Finally, to secure the vital three points, Stephen Cuddy slipped the ball to Mitchell Greer who made no mistake in the finish to make the final score 5-3 to the men in red.
Cookstown: A. Gillis, B. Thom, R. Thom, C. Sanderson, G. Thom, A. Thom, M. McWhirter, C. Faulkner, J. McWhirter, S. Cuddy, S. Allen, M. Crooks, M. Greer, B. Simpson.
Millar, Shearer and Black Man of the Match: Stevie Allen.
Thanks to Paul Cherry for umpiring duties.