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All2gether Cup: Plunkett boys enjoy Austrian adventure

It's not just Irish FA Premiership clubs who are enjoying success in Europe this summer.

The boys from St Oliver Plunkett Youth Club under-13 team in Lenadoon came within touching distance of European glory in a tournament that is the youth equivalent to the Champions League.

The west Belfast youngsters went all the way to the final of the All2gether Cup in Linz, Austria after seeing off teams from footballing powerhouses such as Germany and Portugal.

Despite losing 4-0 to Turkish side Bursaspor — whose senior team are the current champions of Turkey — in the final, the Plunkett players still returned home with an impressive trophy and wonderful memories of their week-long adventure.

“When I saw the group and we were up against the Germans, Romanians and Portuguese I thought it was going to be very tough,” said coach Stephen Lynch.

“We won two of the games, beat Kazakhstan in the next round and then lost 8-7 on penalties in the quarter-final to a Latvian team.”

That wasn’t the end of the story though.

“It was pointed out to us that the Latvian goalkeeper had taken two penalties in the first 11 and we were told to protest,” said Lynch.

“We were told the shootout would be retaken, but the Latvians refused and we went through.”

The excitement didn’t end there. Matthew Lynch, son of the coach and younger brother of captain Joshua, was bitten by a rat during the trip, but recovered and went to the Foyle Cup last week and was named player of the tournament as his team lost to Scottish side Hearts in the semi-final.

Belfast Telegraph