Cookstown Youth made the journey to Carrick to play Redstar in the first round of the Canada Trophy.
With no game the previous week, the Youth were eager to stamp their authority on the game.
As early as the first minute Drew Kelly blazed a shot wide of the post. Cookstown stepped up the pressure and young Aiden Doyle was upended and the referee had no choice but to produce the first yellow card of the game. From the resulting free kick Kelly hit the side netting of the Redstar goal.
Kelly and Doyle conjured up several chances between but both were guilty of wasting them. Doyle had a splendid chance to open the scoring only for the Redstar ‘keeper to be on top form. Phil McGarvey saw his chance from a corner hit the cross bar and in amongst the panic the back four of Redstar cleared their lines.
Dardis and McEllhatton were keeping a tight ship in defence for Cookstown and were containing Redstar to the odd long range shot. James Leslie - who has been on a purple patch of late - went on one of his virtuoso runs, flying down the left wing where, with the goal at his mercy, Johnny O’Neill managed to put the ball over the bar to leave it 0-0 at half time.
Cookstown continued to squander goal scoring opportunities. McMenemy and Doyle were starting to be a force and they created more chances for themselves only for the Redstar ‘keeper to prevent them from the goalthey deserved.
A Redstar freekick was awarded on the left hand side. A ball was put high into the Cookstown box and for some reason the back four were caught sleeping. A centre forward rose above Scott and Dardis and headed the ball goalward bought. A Redstar player was on hand to head into an empty net, much to the delight of their support.
Managers Hunter and Carson breathed a huge sigh of relief as they saw the referee blow for offside.
With the clock ticking down Cookstown had a free kick and McEllhatton swung in a peach of a ball which met the head of midfielder Johnny McKenna. His header looked to be goal bound but for the out-stretched hand of the keeper to touch the ball onto the bar.
With 90 minutes up it was time to play extra time.
Redstar were now starting to look ragged at the back but Cookstown remained their own worst enemy, squandering chance after chance.
John Scott made a darting run down the line and put the ball into the feet of McMenemy who spun on a sixpence and pulled the trigger on his right foot to fire a thunderbolt of a shot that rattled the back of the Redstar net, much to the relief of the Cookstown side line.
Ryan Glasgow was upended in the box and the ref pointed to the spot. Drew Kelly stepped up and blasted the penalty four feet past the post.
With only seconds remaining McGarvey had a shot saved and that proved to be the last significant chance of the game.
Cookstown Youth will now face the winner of Ballyclare Comrades and Desertmartin in the next round.
Cookstown: L Donaghy, J Scott, J Leslie,
G Dardis, S McElhatton, R Glasgow, J McKenna, A Doyle, D Kelly, J O’Neill, P McGarvey, S O’Hare, D Hodgett, R McMenemy and K McMullan