Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

SuperCupNI: Londonderry boys daring to dream

Mullan's young guns stun Blades to earn final against defending champions from Ghana

By Keith Bailie

County Londonderry's Juniors were in dreamland last night as they booked their place in tonight's SuperCup NI final, thanks to a heroic display on home territory.

A second-half goal from Ben Wilson at the Coleraine Showgrounds handed Ollie Mullan's boys an impressive 1-0 win over Sheffield United. They are the first County Londonderry side to reach the final and face Ghanaian team Right to Dream at the Ballymena Showgrounds (6pm) in the final.

It will be a tough game as Right to Dream lifted the Junior trophy last year after they hammered Southampton 7-0 in the final. Last night, they beat Mexican side Chivas 2-1 at Scroggy Road in Limavady.

But Londonderry manager Mullan believes his lads can give the Africans a few problems. The former Limavady boss said: "The boys have put a lot of work in, they're very difficult to beat and have a great team spirit.

More: SuperCupNI: No repeat of 2015 heroics as Antrim and Down taste defeat

"There are a lot of boys there for the future. Right To Dream are a quality team, as everyone knows, but we will give everything."

The winning goal was scored by substitute Wilson. Mullan opted to leave the Sunderland-bound forward on the bench, and explained: "We rested Ben. The gameplan was to hold on for 30 minutes and we knew he'd be our most prolific striker when he came on.

"We knew their legs could be gone so he came on and did his job."

It could have been very different. United's Harrison Neal had a great chance to give the Blades the lead in the sixth minute, only for Londonderry keeper Rory Palmer to make a fine save.

The deadlock was broken after the arrival of Wilson. In the eighth minute of the second-half, he latched onto a ball on the right flank, cut inside and drilled past keeper Marchus Dewhurst. It was a fine finish.

United forward Angelo Cappello had a golden opportunity to equalise with 10 minutes left, but he was denied by some brave defending from Derry's Adam Taggart. The young defender collided with a post and was stretchered off with his left leg in a brace. However, initial signs suggested the injury may not be as bad as first feared.

After a five-minute stoppage, the game restarted. With four minutes left, Cappello steamed through on goal, only to be denied by Palmer.

The young Blades threw everything at Mullan's boys in stoppage time, but the County side held on for a famous and deserved victory.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph