McCracken fires first half hat trick for Cookstown Youth

Cookstown Youth FC U16
Cookstown Youth FC U16



Cookstown Youth U11s travelled to Portadown on Saturday past to take on Markethill Swifts for the first time this season.

The Cookstown lads came flying out of the traps from the first whistle and had the game out of sight within the first 15 minutes. Early goals from David Monaghan, Kai Lamont and Keegan Hampsey set the Cookstown boys on their way and the goals kept flying in.

Next on the score sheet was Michael McElhatton and Shea McCann and the Cookstown boys were playing some excellent football.

Just before the half time whistle Markethill managed to get on the score sheet. With all the Cookstown lads pushing forward Scott Gillis was left exposed in the Cookstown goal and the Markethill striker made no mistake.

The second half started much the same way as the first half had played out with Cookstown much the stronger team.

Good defensive performances from Harry Bownes, Ben McAdoo, Kristians Levsins and Charlie Hawker kept Markethill to limited chances and Cookstown pushed on with further goals from Luke Haycock, David Monaghan, Keegan Hampsey and Kai Lamont.

In the end Cookstown ran out very comfortable winners with the team playing some great football and taking their chances when they came their way.

CYFC: Scott Gillis, Ben McAdoo, Harry Bownes, Kristians Levsins, Shea McCann, Michael McElhatton, David Monaghan, Kai Lamont, Keegan Hampsey, Luke Haycock, Charlie Hawker



Cookstown welcomed St Marys to MUSA on Saturday in the Mid Ulster Youth League.

In a season that has been plagued with match cancellations due to adverse weather both teams had to be commended for going out there and giving it their all in the cold and wet conditions that ensued.

Cookstown started the first half and could have been forgiven if it took them a while to come out of the blocks due to lack of match practice but they started the stronger of the two teams and pushed forward from the off.

With all their good play and their ‘keep ball’ attitude Larmour drew a foul from the opposing player and with the usual free kick taker Donaghy handing the honours to Larmour he stepped up and rifled his shot past the wall and opposing keeper ultimately rewarding his teams efforts as they left for the break ahead.

St Marys were forced to sit back but their luck kicked in - not once but twice - as they managed to hit Cookstown on the counter and completely against the run of play found themselves ahead.

Cookstown were not done and forced St Marys to defend endless shots and corners. The leveller came as Monaghan played it to the left back Jeffers who carried it forward played it into space for Murphy to pick it up beat a few players and see his shot hit off the post and roll behind the opposing keeper.

Having been in this position before and walking away with a draw Cookstown ensured that lightning doesn’t strike twice and pushed on for the winner which ultimately came as Murphy delivered a sublime ball to the feet of Leek who coolly slot it past the opposing keeper sending Cookstown home victorious as they made a very good and competent side look very ordinary.

Although there could be case for any of the midfielders receiving the man of the match award as ultimately the two wingers found their names on the scoresheet the accolade went to Donaghy in centre midfield as he seamlessly spread the ball with ease as he got it out to the wingers, found the gaps through to the front men and brought a new meaning to the term going back to play forward with his continual use of defenders to switch the play.

Cookstown: Paddy Monaghan, David Jeffers, Charlie Whitten, Fintan O’Neill, Matthew McCallion, Matthew Larmour, Matthew Donaghy, Calum Murphy, Ben Leek



Cookstown Youth U13 played Rathfriland Youth in the Quarter Final of the MUYL KO Cup at Lurgan town 3G on Saturday.

Both teams were evenly matched in the early stages with both creating good chances to score. Rathfriland went ahead midway through the first half but Cookstown responded soon after with a great goal from Young whose effort went in off the crossbar.

Cookstown should have taken the lead before half time but were denied twice by the Rathfriland keeper.

The Down team took the lead in the second half scoring twice in quick succession, one of which from a very dubious penalty.

Cookstown kept working, creating chances and were rewarded with a goal when Young unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner. Not enough in the end but a great effort from all the guys.



Cookstown’s recent poor form continued against Warrenpoint last Saturday at Markehill Swifts 3G.

With a venue change, no referee and the absence of several players including long term injured player Dean Bigger, the management team knew this would be a tough fixture.

To their credit the young sizzlers started brightly with Tiernan Mackle stepping in between the posts in Morgan Moore’s absence. Good play by Piotr Gabrysiak on the left created good chances for Jake Fraser and Harry Wilson with captain Iarlaith Donaghy and Shane Murphy pulling the strings in the centre.

A great run on 15 minutes by Fraser gave Cookstown the opener with a fine finish from a narrow angle. Ten minutes before half time ‘Point equalised after a long clearance with Cookstown’s defence unable to deal with the quick forward.

Cookstown finished the stronger with some great possession football but could not convert.

Into the second half gaps in midfield began to form as Cookstown lost their shape and discipline leading to two quick fire goals despite Mackle’s best efforts in goal.

The ‘Point keeper pulled off several fine saves with Cookstown still creating but not taking the chances and a late ‘Point goal took all three points in a scoreline that didn’t reflect the game.

In a game well within their grasp self belief evaporated as soon as the boys went behind. Carryduff next week.



Dromara started better in this match at the Mid Ulster Sports Arena.

It was Cookstown who scored on their first meaningful attack with Martin McCracken slotting past the keeper. Soon it was 2-0 with Adam Scott crossing and again McCracken firing home.

McCracken then completed a stunning hat trick by slotting home with his left foot.

Matthew Scott and Tyler Anderson both came close to increasing the score. Dromara pulled one back just before the break with a brilliant free kick. Tyler Anderson had a ferocious effort brilliantly turned away from a keeper with loads of potential.

At the other end Dromara scored another good goal and for a few minutes Cookstown showed some vunerability. But order was restored in the final 10 minutes with Ryan Murphy scoring with a powerful back post header and then following an effort from Jake Crooks which was turned onto the post Erik Banas applied the finish.

Cookstown: Adam Scott, Jack Turkington, Tyler Anderson, Matthew Scott, Brendan Davey, Martin McCracken, Nathan Connolly, Jamie Campbell, Ryan Murphy, Philip Laverty, Jake Crooks, Erik Banas, Kaelum Irvine and Ryan McFarland



Cookstown travelled to Portadown to play their cup match at Brownstown 3G.

The boys knew the difficulty of the task given Portadown is in the league above but they can be feeling aggrieved and disappointed with the outcome.

Poor defending as a team and collective lapses in concentration cost the boys big time as Ben Young had very few saves to make throughout the game. The game started at blistering pace which didn’t suit Cookstown and they were one down early on.

To their credit they restored parity soon after when Larmour’s pace was too much for the Portadown defenders. At half time the boys knew the game was there to be won but as is habit nowadays, they started slowly and gifted Portadown two soft goals.

Oliver Diamond grabbed a goal back with a neat finish inside the post to give Cookstown hope but again slack defending meant the two goal cushion was restored within a minute.

Senior team coach, Jackie Carson, came with the boys and was impressed with their fighting spirit as they matched a very physical team for most of the game but a long ball caught out the defence to make it 5-2.

However, Cookstown really were unfortunate not to get a draw from this position as Arrell’s fine lobbed finish made it 5-3 with ten minutes to go. Larmour went close, as did Arrell and Keane and a series of corners and free kicks were well defended by Portadown.

The coaches could only think about what might have been again on a night of frustration for the Cookstown lads. They know they are a match for anyone on their day but just couldn’t score when they were on top and hold tight when they were being pressured.

A learning curve again but they showed a fighting spirit that the watching senior coach will be more than delighted to see as he prepares to take them over the next few years.

On a sour night the boys had a few injuries on the night. Ryan Dobson returned with a fractured ankle while Ryan Rocks suffered a suspected broken nose. We wish both boys a fast and speedy recovery and thank them for their efforts on the night.

Cookstown: Young, Thom, McCrum, Keane, Wilson (c), Dobson, Rocks, Arrell, Hughes, McConville, Devlin, Larmour, McMullan, Grimes, Diamond and Kelly.