Ulster Junior Shield
Cookstown IV 4 North Down IV 3
In one of the most anticipated matches all season, Cookstown IV got the better of North Down in the Junior Shield final and in front of a massive crowd on a sunny day at Stormont.
The match started at a high tempo with Cookstown looking dangerous as they attacked the North Down goal. With 15 minutes gone the Cookstown defender Morrow broke up a North Down attack before sending Ian Johnston down the left alongside brother Tony. The Johnstons found Philip Kee who squared to McGaw to fire home through the crowd on the reverse.
The pressure really began to build on the Reds defence after this early goal but they fought tooth and nail to keep the lead intact. With 10 minutes of the half remaining McGaw popped up from a McWhirter free outside the 25 yard line to hammer home his 37th of the season.
On the stroke of half time North Down where awarded a short Corner for what could only be deemed as ‘assault’ by Mark Wilson. However, the tackle prevented a definite goal. From the resulting corner North Down pulled one back.
The Reds went in at half time realising that the job was only half done and the word from Captain McGaw and coaching staff, Ian Hagan and Ian Cheevers, was to keep it tight and score first in the second half.
Needless to say Cookstown found themselves 3-2 down after about seven minutes of the second period. But the famed will, desire and want of the Reds kicked in and every player in a Cookstown shirt found a new gear. The defence tackled harder, the mid field sharper and the forwards turning the North Down players in knots.
The equaliser came from some great defending, before the ball was worked into old-timer Malcolm McWhirter in the mid field, who turned and unleashed a ball into the circle where gutsy Kee scored while on his knees at the backpost.
At 3-3 the Cookstown Reds could smell the win and, with the move of the match, Cookstown turned defence into attack to get the winner. Driving out of defence on left side of midfield, Donaldson slipped the ball to Nelson and Ian Johnston who in turn found Miller. The winger then took off on a run from outside the 25 to beat three defenders and squared from the baseline where Tony Johnston thumped home the winner with a very cool head.
In the final five minutes North Down threw the kitchen sink at the Reds and received eight short corners that Cookstown’s keeper, Ashley “Spud” Gillis, was equal to.
On the Final whistle the Red Army and fans where ecstatic! McGaw had captained his side to another famous Junior Shield win.
Quickdraw would like to thank his team, his friends, family and all supporters - on the day you where our 12th man!
Junior Shield Champions 2011: Ashley Gillis, Mark Wilson, Gav Donaldson, Michael Millar, Paul Morrow, Tony Johnston, Ian Johnston, Andy McWhirter, Malcolm McWhirter, Philip Kee, Paul Watt, Raymond Miller, Ricky Nelson , Jamsie Cowan, Richard McGaw (c)