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SuperCupNI: David Healy delight as baby Blues win Big Two clash to book semi spot

By Keith Bailie

Linfield's young guns impressed first team manager David Healy by booking their place in the semi-finals of the SuperCupNI Minor competition.

The Blues won the Baby Big Two against Glentoran thanks to a stunning first-half free-kick from Dylan Rhodes, with Northern Ireland’s record goalscorer watching from the sidelines.

The 1-0 win was enough to see Linfield top their group. The Blues will now face Coleraine side Bertie Peacock Academy at Anderson Park in today’s semi-final.

The other semi-final sees National League club Greenisland take on Portadown at Seahaven in Portstewart, guaranteeing an all-Ulster final at the Coleraine Showgrounds tomorrow.

Linfield assistant manager Darren Murphy, who has recently left his post at the Irish FA as a youth coach, is delighted that Irish League clubs have returned to the SuperCupNI after an absence of almost 30 years.

Murphy said: “Hopefully this is just the beginning of things to come at Minor level. There’s a really good buzz around the university campus with three games being played at the same time, and it gives these young local players the opportunity to shine at the SuperCupNI. 

“The Irish League clubs have competed really well against the likes of St Johnstone and West Ham United, which shows the ability we have here.

“It’s also great for these players to play in front of good crowds.

“You have the likes of David Healy, Roy Carroll, Oran Kearney and Rodney McAree all down watching the games, which will be a big boost to young players.

“I hope the SuperCupNI organisers stick with this new age group and even invite more teams for next season.”

Linfield have shown themselves to be defensively strong, winning all three group stage games 1-0.

Bertie Peacock Academy reached the last four by being the best-placed runners-up. Yesterday, they defeated Ballinamallard United 2-0 at Ulster University’s Coleraine campus.

In the same group, Greenisland progressed to the knock-out stage by hammering Indian side Reeds 16-0. In truth, the boys from Hyderabad have struggled to compete, shipping a mammoth 44 goals in their three group games.

Greenisland will have a more difficult game in the semi-finals, where they will play Portadown in Portstewart.

The Ports shocked hosts Coleraine with a 3-1 win, enough to see them top the group.

Premier League academy side West Ham United lost their Minor tie 3-1 to Dungannon Swifts,  and St Johnstone beat Glenavon 2-1.

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