Football: Cookstown U16s exit cup to high-flying Armagh

Cookstown Youth FC coaches who completed their IFA Level One coaching badge at the weekend
Cookstown Youth FC coaches who completed their IFA Level One coaching badge at the weekend

Cookstown Under 16s had the difficult task of facing high flying Armagh City in the knock-out cup at MUSA on Friday night.

Their opponents are in Section A of the National League and are sitting in second place so the boys knew it would be an uphill task.

However it was clear that Cookstown were right up for the challenge and as soon as the game started Armagh knew they were in a game of real competitiveness.

Cookstown had Ben Young to thank for some key saves but could also have been ahead themselves when Mark Larmour and then Jack Dingley had chances to give them the lead.

It was 0-0 at the break but the players had given everything they had to the cause.

Rocks, Dobson, Hughes and Dingley were working their socks off in the middle, while Arrell was combining well with the tireless Larmour as Cookstown settled into the game.

Thom and Keane were outstanding in their positions while Donnelly and Wilson kept crosses to a minimum.

The second half started in much the same way as the first ended; Cookstown applied lots of pressure when Armagh had the ball and were disciplined and resolute.

Watson and Devlin came on to liven up the Cookstown side however the sucker punch was landed on the hour mark when a free kick was dispatched into the top corner of the net.

As Cookstown pushed forward they were left exposed and only for two terrific saves from Young, the scoreline would have been even more unfair.

A tough defeat to take but plenty of positives and a superb showing against a team who are close to being the best in the country at that age group.

Unfortunately some players didn’t get on but their support was gratefully received and appreciated.

Squad: B Young, C Donnelly, J Wilson (c), C Thom, A Keane, R Rocks, R Dobson, R Hughes, J Dingley, S Arrell, M Larmour, K Devlin, C McMullan, A Watson, C Buchanon

Craigavon City U15 3

Cookstown Youth U15 2

Cookstown played well in the first half as Kaelum Irvine hit the post and several other chances were wasted.

Craigavon took the lead as Cookstown didn`t deal with a cross but Cookstown hit back with Kaelum Irvine finishing from close range.

Martin McCracken missed a glorious chance from close range and the game went to extra time.

Craigavon took the lead and towards the end Nathan Connolly hit a free kick which the keeper brilliantly saved.

From the corner Tyler Anderson crossed to the back post for Martin McCracken to equalise.

With penalties looming Cookstown threw the game away as they were caught sleeping from a half cleared free kick and Craigavon’s striker made no mistake with the finish.

Disappointing for the Cookstown lads to exit the Cup competition.

Squad: Afonso Tereso, Erik Bannis, Adam Scott, Ryan Murphy, Martin McCracken, Philip Laverty, Matthew Scott, Tyler Anderson, Nathan Connolly, Matty Glendinning, Jack turkington, Kaelum Irvine, Curtis Hay.

Cookstown Youth are holding a Table Quiz on Saturday 28th March in The Royal Hotel Cookstown at 8pm. £5 per person and a maximum of 6 to a team.

The craic will be mighty and all proceeds will go to helping maintain our great wee club for the near future and help us to continue delivering soccer for local kids from the Mid Ulster area.

So put March 28th in your diary and come and support CYFC and at the same time have a great nights fun and you never know you and your team could go away with a prize.

For further details contact Cookstown Youth PRO Andy Kelly on 07872901473.

The ever popular CYFC Development Centre continues this Friday 6th March at the Mid Ulster Sports Arena.

Coaching takes place from 6.30pm until 7.45pm and caters for players born in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.