COOKSTOWN YOUTH U12 5
After a fine run of home games in the league Cookstown Youth U12 made the short journey up the road on Saturday morning to take on their rivals Coalisland U12s in Castlecaulfield.
Conditions were perfect for what was about to unfold. With previous matches in the league always being a close affair it seemed going into the semi-final it would be a case of which team wanted it more.
The first half kicked off and both sides were cagey about going forward and took a little time to settle in, maybe owing to the occasion and the fact that a place in the final was at stake.
Coalisland started the better of the two sides but unfortunately for them they were up against the defensive trio of Jeffers (soon to be replaced by Cathal through injury), Whitten and McCallion in front of the goalkeeper Monaghan. They made it clear that nobody was getting by them.
With the defenders on song it almost seemed to give Cookstown a boost as they started to get into the game and create chances of their own with breathtaking link up play between Donaghy, Larmour and Leek forcing Coalisland to abandon their tactics and revert to the long ball game.
Cookstown were now on top and it wasn’t a matter of if but when their first goal was going to come and almost on cue Larmour dinked it in from a corner where it was met by the head of Leek and Cookstown found themselves 1-0 up and heading into the break in front.
Determined not to throw away their lead Cookstown started the second half as they had ended the first and with their dominance left spectators and coaches seemingly waiting for the next goal.
With a deflected shot Cookstown were awarded a corner and with almost a carbon copy of the first goal saw Larmour deliver only for it this time to be met by the head of Donaghy and put Cookstown in full control of the tie with a 2-0 lead.
Cookstown however weren’t done there and were hungry for more and kept pressing seeing shots from Larmour hit the post and the crossbar. With a change up front seeing Drew come on for O’Neill it wasn’t long before he seen his name on the scoresheet as Murphy played a clever through ball to him which he neatly tucked past the opposing goalkeeper.
The tie was effectively over but it seemed someone forgot to tell the players as with relentless domination and pressure Cookstown continued to push forward and the rewards came as Murphy coming in from the left saw not one but two of his shots go past the Coalisland goalkeeper and give Cookstown a 5-0 lead and ultimately book their place in the final.
Although Coalisland kept going and managed to nick one back at the end this was Cookstown’s day as they wanted it more and delivered a performance that should mean, whoever they meet in the final, they will know that they need to be at their best to beat this very competent and polished side.
Man of the match could’ve gone to a number of players from Larmour with his two assists to Donaghy who ran the midfield, or to Leek who had his best game in a Cookstown shirt. The goalkeeper Monaghan kept the defence in check and cleared his lines whenever called upon, but all were outdone by the performance of McCallion at centre back who effectively stopped Coalisland from playing and won the balls in the air and the battles on the ground and was the impetus in Cookstown’s performance.
Cookstown: Monaghan, Jeffers, Cathal, Morrison, Whitten, McCallion, Larmour, Donaghy, Murphy, O’Neill, Leek, Drew