Classy Rathfriland Youth U13s cruise to Shield victory in Lurgan

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Rathfriland Youth U13s won Mid-Ulster Shield on Saturday morning, beating Lurgan Town 4-2 at the Gordon Playing Fields.

The Lurgan team looked strong in the early stages but this did not seem to faze the ever-improving Rathfriland team.

Captain Adam Bronte controlled the ball well in midfield and picked out Jordan Davis who had a go from long range but his effort was pushed wide for a corner. Max Wilson took the corner and could not have placed it any better as the towering Krystian Celmierowski headed home to open the scoring.

This early goal gave the Rathfriland team confidence and they started to boss the game with Joshua Ingram and Donal Clarke showing good touches and energy up the flanks.

Lurgan did occasionally threaten but Cashel Haughey was sharp off his line and cleared well. One of these clearances found Davis who nodded onto Celmierowski. He used his strength and skill to round the last defender and calmly slot home his second.

In the opening stages of the second half, Rathfriland were well on top and the full-backs of Eli Baxter and Steven Moorehead were taking no chances and made some crunching tackles.

The next goal was always going to be crucial and it went to Rathfriland as a quick throw on the left from Moorehead found Wilson who volleyed from 25 yarrds to score a sensational goal much to the joy of his team-mates and coaches.

The Lurgan team pressed forward trying to get something out of the game but the ever improving partnership at the heart of the defence of Joel Henning and Mark Buller looked solid and never lost their concentration, snuffing out every attack with confidence.

More good work from Bronte, who battled tirelessly throughout, slid Celmierowski through and he capped off a fine performance by hammering home for his hat-trick to put the result beyond doubt.

This relaxed the coaches and they freshened up the hard working team with Michael Clydesdale, Oren Simmons and Ethan Malcomson taking over defensive duties while Brooke Chambers and Johnny Martin played up front and kept up the high tempo until the final whistle.

Coach Craig Baxter said: “Overall this was a superb team display in our first season in the Mid Ulster League and we are delighted to have brought the first piece of Mid Ulster silverware to Iveagh Park. Hopefully it will be the first of many.”

To celebrate their victory, the U13s finished the morning off with a well-deserved visit to McDonalds before the journey home. Massive thanks to all the support on the sidelines who cheered the team on.

Team: Cashal Haughey, Joel Henning, Mark Buller, Eli Baxter, Stephen Moorhead, Adam Bronte, Joshua Ingram, Donal Clarke, Jordan Davis, Krystian Celmierowski, Max Wilson, Brooke Chambers, Ethan Malcolmson, Oren Shimmons, Johnny Martin.