Football: Awesome Arrell hits hat trick for Cookstown Youth U15

CYFC U15 player Stevie Arrell bagged a hat trick against Glenavon.
CYFC U15 player Stevie Arrell bagged a hat trick against Glenavon.


The U15s took on old friends Glenavon at MUSA last Friday night and were under no illusions that even though they had already defeated the Lurgan Blues on two previous occasions this season, this was going to be no push-over !

Cookstown got of to a lively start and after only five minutes were awarded a free kick on the edge of the Glenavon box which Arrell lined up and duly distributed into the top right hand corner.

Literally two minutes later the Glens went on the attack and, after the Cookstown defence hesitated to clear, scored a soft equaliser.

The game ebbed and flowed and Arrell, O’Hare, Keane and McMullan all went close. At the other end Young had to be on his toes to keep the visitors from taking the lead. Just as the half was drawing to a close , Arrell picked the ball up from a McMullan pass and his wicked shot beat the keeper to give the home team a 2-1 lead at the break.

Matthew Kelly made way for Ryan Rocks for the second half and he slotted into the back four, pushing O’Hare into the centre mid position. After only seconds of the half, a high ball into the box caused confusion in the home defence and the unfortunate Rocks headed into his own net to draw the score back level.

The Cookstown lads seemed to let their heads drop after this and over a period of ten minutes or so Glenavon scored two more, and it was only after the fourth goal went in that the Cookstown boys shook themselves and came back into the game.

Conor Donnelly, Cameron Thom and Michael Grimes were all introduced , and the most of the play was in the Glenavon half , however, Cookstown were unable to break the away defence down.

With five minutes to go Hughes was brought down in the Glenavon box and Arrell stepped up to score his hat trick which signalled an onslaught on the Glenavon goal. However, the game finished with the points heading back down the M1 to Lurgan. Apologies to Ciaran Monaghan who didn’t get on and also Ryan Dobson, Jack Dingley and Jamie who were rested and didn’t feature.

A great seven goal thriller for the sizable crowd to enjoy , and credit has to go the two teams who put on an exhibition in terrible weather conditions.

Manager Andy Kelly commented, “I thought our boys put in a good performance, bearing in mind they haven’t kicked a ball since 14th December.

“A few silly mistakes and a couple of dubious refereeing decisions that didn’t go our way and should have was the difference in getting a point if not all three and nothing , but that’s football.”


Cookstown started the brighter of the two teams in the opening 10 minutes with Abell and Hull linking only to shoot over the bar.

Abell then went close a few minutes later. The home team started to get on top and forced a number of corners and on 15 minutes took the lead when a corner was not cleared and the striker scored from 12 yards out.

They went 2-0 up when a long ball caught the CYFC defence napping which left the forward with an easy finish.

The locals found themselves 3 down minutes later after Kelly at right back was pushed off the ball and this left the winger a free run in to score past a helpless Gordon.

Cookstown pulled one back just before half time when Abell robbed the home defender of the ball on the half way line and ran clear to round the keeper and score to leave the score 3-1 at half time.

Cookstown again started the better in the second half and started to create chance after chance. Ferson’s cross from the right found Wilson free at the back post but he shot just wide. McIvor then broke through but again the his shot was over the bar.

Abell, Kirkpatrick and Hull all had good efforts but could not find the back of the net. The home team scored their fourth from their only break away of the half when the winger was left free to lob Gordon.

Again Cookstown took the game to the home team and put the under great pressure and on 75 minutes pulled one back when Abell beat four players to score his second of the game. Hull then pulled another after a well taken goal to make it 4 3.

Abell then had a great effort but the keeper made a good save in the last few minutes Hull and McIvor had half chances to draw level before the home team broke to score with what was the last kick of the match.

CYFC: Gordon, Kelly, Glasgow, Hopper, Sheilds, Mcivor, Hull, Kirkpatrick, Ferson, Wilson, Abell, McMullen,

The U18s are away this Saturday when the take on Lurgan Town in the next round of the Mid Ulster youth cup. To be played at the Gordon Lurgan, 10am kick off.


The young sizzlers had to make the long trip to Enniskillen last Saturday in their opening National League fixture of 2014 at the Lakeland Forum 3G against Ballinamallard Youth.

On a crisp sunny day Cookstown started the brighter of the two sides on a slow pitch with Harry Wilson going close just inside the eighteen yard box.

Cookstown’s Jamie Campbell then had to pull off a fantastic save ten minutes into the game as Ballinamallard threatened to run riot with their sheer pace up front.

Captain Iarlaith Donaghy pinged a great shot 25 yards out with striker Lee Glasgow testing the home keeper from just outside the box as Cookstown went for the opener.

This sustained period of possession and pressure was rewarded when midfielder Eoin Gallagher unleashed an unstoppable toe poked rocket straight into the roof of the Ballinamallard net from nearly 30 yards out on 18 minutes.

He nearly replicated his attempt five minutes later with this attempt searing over the bar by inches. Just before half time central defenders William Kenning and Robert McLean had to make two last ditch tackles as Ballimallard pushed for the equaliser.

Into the second half Robert McLean somehow managed to clear his line in what looked almost a certain goal from Ballimallard’s striker on 35 minutes.

Substitutes Shane Murphy and Craig Bigger both came on to help tiring Cookstown legs as Ballinamallard started to take control of midfield. Jamie Campbell made a superb double save before Murphy went close with a free kick and two long range efforts which screamed just wide of the post.

Donaghy had another attempt before Tiernan Mackle sustained what looked like a serious knee injury.

Keeper Campbell was in the wars as he also was injured in a tackle in the dying minutes of the game.

Cookstown held on for a fantastic opening away victory in 2014 with special mention to the back five who were unbelievable throughout.

A big thank you goes out to Barbara, a parent of one of the Ballinamallard players, who was brilliant in helping give first aid to Tiernan and also a big thank you to their players and staff who showed kind concern after the game. Thanks also to James and his new Fermanagh ambulance service and we all hope for ‘the beast’s’ quick and full recovery.

CYFC: J. Campbell, B. Patterson, R. McLean, W. Kenning, D. Bigger, I. Donaghy, Tiernan Mackle, E. Gallagher, Thomas Mackle, L. Glasgow, H. Wilson, L. Patterson, S. Murphy, C. Bigger.


Neither team were at their best with a catalogue of errors throughout.

Nathan Connolly made space but finished poorly but then Tyler Anderson put Ryan McFarland clear and he held off the challenge before shooting past the keeper.

A mistimed tackle gave Craigavon the chance to level from the resulting penalty. Back came Cookstown with Erik Banas driving a low effort past the keeper at his near post.

Craigavon hit back in the second half and in the final 15 minutes both teams had chances to win it.

Afonso Tereso made a good low save to deny Craigavon whilst Ryan McFarland came close twice and Jordan Ferguson and Joseph Wilson also had chances. It ended 2-2, a fair result. Adam Montgomery had some good rund down the right wing but man of the match was right back Mark Espie with a very versatile display.

CYFC: Afonso Tereso, Mark Espie, Jordan Scott, Jack Turkington, Erik Banas, Ryan McFarland, Jordan Ferguson, Jake Egan, Curtis Hay, Adam Montgomery, Stephen Kennedy, Tyler Anderson, Nathan Connolly, Joseph Wilson, Ryan Murphy.

Congratulations from everyone at CYFC to coach Niall Hunter and his wife Gillian on the birth of their baby daughter on Monday.