This tournament, which is in its third year, offers the opportunity of a one-day blitz competition for U14 teams.
Hosts Dromore HS, previous winners Banbridge Academy (2013), Shimna Integrated (2012) were joined by Banbridge HS, St. Patrick’s College (Banbridge), Kilkeel HS, Lisnagarvey HS and a Dromore B team.
The tournament was played at two different venues. Group A (played at Holm Park) included Banbridge Academy, St. Patrick’s, Shimna and Dromore ‘B’ with Group B (played at Ferris Park) involving Dromore A, Lisnagarvey, Kilkeel and Banbridge HS.
Group A had Banbridge Academy comfortably progressing to the semi-Finals with wins over Shimna (3-1), Dromore B (2-0) and St. Patrick’s (2-0) although in the battle of the two previous winners, Shimna did take an early lead before the Academy’s strength told. Shimna’s win over St. Patrick’s was probably the deciding factor in their quest to reach the SFs although Dromore did try to spoil the party with a hard-fought draw with Shimna. St. Patrick’s achieved a 1-0 over a spirited Dromore B side.
Group B had the feeling of a Group of Death about it. A total of five goals in six matches demonstrated how tight this group turned out. With Lisnagarvey defeated by all others in the group, the deciding match was most definitely the 1-0 win by Kilkeel over Dromore which secured group winner status.
Chances were limited in a titanic struggle with Kilkeel sealing the victory with one of their few chances. Banbridge HS came through the group without conceding a goal. Dromore’s undoing, despite playing some good football, was their inability to turn possession and opportunities into goals.
The semi-final line-up was Banbridge Academy v Banbridge HS (Holm Park) and Kilkeel HS v Shimna IC (Ferris Park). In a one-sided affair, a strong Kilkeel side prevailed against a tiring Shimna group by 5-0 thereby booking their place in the final, which was played at the Community Centre (Holm Park). The second semi was a closer tie although Banbridge Academy always had control of a game against the best defence in the competition. Banbridge High can count themselves unfortunate in the manner in which they conceded their first goal, a defensive mix-up and a lucky ricochet. The Academy then took control of the match and sealed victory with a second goal from the penalty spot.
The final was yet another close match although again, Barcelona-style, Academy had the lion’s share of both possession and attempts on goal. After conceding a first half goal, Kilkeel survived one penalty appeal before Banbridge deservedly scored after a second penalty shout was given. Academy captain Mark McCullough lifted the trophy as his school retained the trophy.