Young Celts give Foyle Cup fans winning treat
Fantastic football and a festival atmosphere brightened a dull and overcast Derry on the second day of the Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup.
After the traditional Mayoral welcome parade of the 278 teams through the city, the stand out fixture saw Donegal outfit Inishowen YL take on Scottish giants Celtic in the U14 section. There was great anticipation at Ardmore and a strong following for both sides and, after a tight affair, the young Celts emerged 2-0 winners.
Both sides shared possession in the early exchanges. James Downey had a shot from distance for Inishowen but it was tipped over for a corner by Celtic keeper Ryan Mullen. The breakthrough came shortly after that as the Scottish boys who took the lead.
After a foul on what seemed to be the edge of the box, a penalty was eventually given and David McKay stepped up and dispatched coolly for the Glaswegian side.
Celtic had the ball in the net again two minutes later but it was ruled out for offside after Kieran McGrath tapped in at the back post. Another Celtic goal looked inevitable and it arrived five minutes before the break. This time McGrath was on target, sliding the ball beyond oncoming keeper Johnathan Toye after a clever run in behind the defence for a 2-0 half-time lead.
Inishowen needed to come out faster and made a real go of it in the early stages of the second half. The Donegal side piled on the pressure, winning a series of corners and free kicks in dangerous areas.
Mikey Friel made a couple of breaks but couldn't quite find the right pass in the final third. Jack McDowall kept the Celtic defence well organised and won a couple of important headers as the Hoops withstood further pressure. Inishowen were the better side in the second period but couldn't quite find the quality up front as the young Celts held on to their 2-0 lead.
The 5.00pm kick off in the U15 section saw local side Trojans FC valiantly overcome Belfast outfit Crusaders at Oakland Park. The game got off to a bright start with chances at either end. Dylan Sheerin's flicked header didn't quite find the target for Trojans and Ross Ferguson's volley flashed just wide at the other end.
A clear cut chance presented itself soon after for Trojans. Dean Campbell seemed to do everything right but after he rounded the keeper his shot was cleared off the line by Eoin Lundy, recovering brilliantly after his mistake had originally allowed Campbell in.
This seemed to spark Crusaders into life and it was their turn to have chances. Eoin Flynn and Sean Duffy both went close but John Brattin was on hand to make a couple of fine saves from close range.
There was no let-up in pressure as the half came to a close, Adam Doyle had a couple of opportunities as Crusaders turned the screw but it remained goalless at the break.
The second half started better for the Trojans as they enjoyed more of the ball. As they settled in. they came closer in front of goal and the Derry boys made the breakthrough to the delight of the home crowd.
A shot from distance could only be parried by the keeper and Tom Mullan took full advantage from six yards to put his team into a 1-0 lead.
The Belfast boys then cranked up the pressure once again as they tried to respond. Brattin, however, remained strong and pulled off some stunning saves to hold the lead and keep a clean sheet.
The Trojans boys worked extremely hard in the remaining minutes and held on for a deserved win and a second day Cup upset.
Matches continue today at venues across Derry, Strabane, Limavady, Buncrana, Dungiven, Letterkenny and Moville.