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Fab Flanagan delivers in Foyle Cup final thriller

By Brendan Hagan

Published 25/07/2015

Earning their stripes: Derry City's under-19s celebrate their victory over Finn Harps in the Foyle Cup final, one half of a double for the club, whose under-17s also won their final 1-0, against Kildrum
Earning their stripes: Derry City's under-19s celebrate their victory over Finn Harps in the Foyle Cup final, one half of a double for the club, whose under-17s also won their final 1-0, against Kildrum

Derry City celebrated victory in the under-19 section of the Foyle Cup after a pulsating local derby battle.

The Candystripes kids beat Finn Harps by the narrowest of margins, thanks to Chris Flanagan's winner after 20 minutes.

There were a few nervy moments in a classic game of two halves though, with Finn Harps piling on the pressure as they came pushed for an equaliser in a thrilling second half, but Derry held on and with the under-17's also beating Kildrum 1-0 in their final the club toasted a double success.

Derry were on the front foot from the start of the game and they were close to going ahead after just two minutes when Flanagan hit a rasping volley just wide from the edge of the 18-yard box.

Stephen Mills then got onto the end of a Patrick McClean cross after 10 minutes, but he couldn't find the target with his header.

It wasn't until 15 minutes in that Finn Harps had their first sniff at goal. BJ Banda stretched for a header at the back post, but it was easily gathered by Michael Lynch in the Derry City goal.

Derry entertained the large crowd with an exciting brand of sharp passing football lacked a finishing touch and at times Harps struggled to live with them, but for all the nice play they lacked a finishing touch.

That changed on 20 minutes when after some well worked passing Derry were awarded a corner and a move that looked like it was straight off the training ground was executed to perfection as the ball was rolled to Flanagan on the edge of the box and the midfielder fired it into the opposite corner with the inside of his right foot.

It was a different looking Finn Harps team that came out for the second half and whatever words of wisdom their coach had for them during the break clearly had an impact.

The boys in blue had more of the ball and grew in confidence in the final third and with that it started to feel more and more like a cup final.

Derry didn't have the same time or space they had in the first period as Harps closed down well and won some free kicks in dangerous areas to put the pressure on.

The tackles also began to fly in as the intensity increased, with Harps feeling that they needed to create more opportunities if there were to get the equaliser.

Their best chance fell for Simon McGlynn, but he was closed down well by McClean and his shot was deflected wide.

Harps really put the pressure on City as the match drew to an end.

There were a couple of scary moments at the back in the closing moments and the tension was palpable amongst the supporters, but Derry saw the game out to seal their status as 2015 Foyle Cup winners.

Roe Valley were the winners in the under-9 section, while it took penalty shoot-outs to decide the winners at under-10 and under-11.

Bertie Peacock Youth won 4-2 against Ballinamallard United after a 1-1 draw in the under-10 final and Glentoran took the under-11 honours, beating Magherafelt Sky Blues 6-5 in a thriller, following a tense 0-0 draw in normal time.

Belfast Telegraph

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