Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran and Linfield whizzkids bring back silverware on the double

By Stuart McKinley

There were two Big Two doubles at the Northern Ireland Boys FA Cup finals day in Cookstown as both Glentoran and Linfield lifted a brace of trophies.

And it was a memorable day for Lurgan Town, too, as they also celebrated winning a pair of prizes in two of the nine-a-side events.

Linfield's Under-11 team got the ball rolling when they won the first trophy of the day, the NIBFA Plate.

A neat chip from Liam McStravick put the seal on their 2-0 win over St Oliver Plunkett.

Lurgan Town tasted victory for the first time in their history at this level with a thrilling 2-1 win over Portadown Youth in the Under-11 Cup, with extra time needed to decide the winners. Spencer Collie and Harry Norton got the Lurgan goals.

And their success was emulated by the club's Under-12s immediately after as they claimed a 2-1 victory in the Plate final against St Oliver Plunkett, Jamie Gillis and Michael McConville scoring, making it a double disappointment for the west-Belfast club.

There was to be no repeat of the wonderful 2014 victory for Lurgan Town's local rivals Oxford Sunnyside in the Under-12 Cup.

They had beaten Windmill Stars in the Under-11 final last season, but the tables were turned as the Newry club made up for the disappointment of 12 months ago with a 2-0 win.

There was going to be a new name on the Under-13 Cup, with Portadown Youth and Lisburn Rangers reaching the decider for the first time.

The Ports youngsters took the victory, with Alberto Balde scoring twice in a 4-1 win.

The Under-14 decider between Glentoran and Cliftonville was a real ding-dong battle.

The lead changed hands a couple of times before the Glens won 4-3 in extra time.

With Glentoran and Linfield meeting in the Under-15 final, one of them was guaranteed to clinch a double for their club.

The young Glens had success in the Under-14 Cup last year and they repeated that winning feeling with a 4-2 triumph over the Blues. To make matters worse for Linfield, they lost centre-half Gerard Maguire to injury to take the shine off a thrilling encounter.

The Blues still had a chance to win two more prizes as their teams prepared for two more Belfast derby battles in the Under-16 and Under-17 finals.

Despite Cliftonville taking an early lead in the first of those deciders, Linfield won the game 4-2, with goalkeeper Matty Davidson impressing.

Crusaders denied them a treble though as they lifted the Under-17 Cup.

Linfield had led, but they were pegged back by the Crues' Under-18 schoolboy international Ronan Hale, who hit an acrobatic overhead kick.

An own goal put Crusaders in front and after Linfield levelled it was Hale who struck the winner when he curled a sweet 25-yard free-kick into the bottom corner of the net.

Belfast Telegraph


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