Big win for Draperstown starlets

Coagh 3 Draperstown U16 6

Draperstown Celtic’s U16 side kept their recent winning run intact with a very hard earned win in what was a tough, uncompromising game against their Coagh counterparts.

Coagh, newcomers to the league this season, had themselves put together some fine performances and Draperstown knew that this was going to be a serious test of any league ambitions they may have had and the importance of the game was reflected in the good crowd who watched what was to be a roller coaster of a game.

It was Celtic who came out all guns blazing. After 2 minutes Connor Small saw a crisp shot just go wide while a minute later Peter Lagan’s shot was cleared off the line. This let off for the Coagh defence was only temporary. On 5 minutes Mark Doole produced a fine run and cross from the left wing which was put away at the second attempt by Lagan.

Coagh did attempt to come back into the game mainly through some fine mid-field work from Jamie Holmes but the Draperstown defence was holding strong, marshalled well by McCloskey and Mullin. It was McCloskey who set up Celtic’s second goal on 17 minutes when his clearance from a Coagh corner saw Small brush his marker aside, coolly round the Coagh keeper and finish with ease.

To their credit, Coagh really upped their game and were awarded a rather dubious penalty on 25 minutes which Holmes scored. Seven minutes later and the game was all square when some hesitant defending from Celtic allowed Coagh to equalise and only some excellent keeping from Gallagher kept the home side from adding to their tally. But Celtic did find their form again. Strong claims for a penalty were turned down after a clear hand ball by a Coagh defender and Lagan had a header cleared off the line as the first half ended on a higher level of intensity.

With some strong words spoken by the Celtic management at half time, and with all to play for, it was Draperstown who started the stronger and they were rewarded on 45 minutes when Burke’s fine pass picked out Connor Small who cut inside his marker and fired a great shot past the keeper to restore the lead. But back came Coagh, and yet another dubious penalty was awarded and again Holmes scored to level the game.

But the young Celtic heads did not drop, and it was at this stage they produced their best spell of football in the game. Their passing became crisper and more accurate, stretching the Coagh defence and 3 goals in 5 minutes meant there was no coming back by the home side. On the hour, Small burst into the box but was impeded with a penalty being awarded. Scullion fired the ball home to put Celtic into the lead for the third time. Two minutes later, captain Odhran McGuigan’s perfect free kick from 20 yards into the top corner saw Draperstown restore a two goal cushion. Coagh’s fate was sealed when Connor Small scored his third and Celtic’s sixth with a sublime finish from a tight angle to round off another excellent individual performance.

Celtic were able to see out the final few minutes and gain a very valuable and hard earned win. Connor Small was Player of the Week, but this was very much a team effort and great credit goes to all involved.

Squad: Conor Gallagher, Pearse Grant, Michael Burke, Roddy Mullin, Roghan McCloskey, Mark Doole, Conn McElhone, Ciaran Scullion, Conor Small, Odhran McGuigan (C) , Peter Lagan, Ronan Devlin, Franny Doherty, Niall McAuley

Man of the Match: Conor Small

Next game is on Saturday at 10.30am against Dromore Amateurs at Gordon Playing Fields, Lurgan

The focus of the Skills Development Centre is on developing skilled, confident and creative footballers while making the game fun to practice and play. We will teach the importance of good sportsmanship, respect for all and the value of winning but not at the expense of player character or performance development. The Centre embraces the concept of fun and enjoyment, which is important if children are to develop a lifelong love of football. It is designed for P6, P7 & Year 8 children of all abilities, to develop skills, understanding and most importantly make the game FUN and ENJOYABLE. The Centre is located at Back Row 3G and runs from 8pm – 9pm every Friday. Cost is £2.00 per week. Any queries please contact the Youth Development Officer (Paul) on 07841344253