McAllister and Laffin fire Town to another Shield victory

Banbridge U16, winners of the Mid Ulster Shield with Manager Wylie Dickson and Coaches Leslie Dennison and Simon Roberts  �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1517-250EB
Banbridge U16, winners of the Mid Ulster Shield with Manager Wylie Dickson and Coaches Leslie Dennison and Simon Roberts �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1517-250EB

Banbridge Town Juniors U16s faced Rathfriland U16s in the final of the Mid Ulster Shield and returned home with the trophy after a very impressive performance.

A minute’s silence was held before the game in the memory of the young Rathfriland player Stephen McElroy who passed away recently.

Jake Laffin and Sam McAllister tormented the Rathfriland defence from the off while Ryan Angus, Jack Hamilton and Ryan Sloan were dominating the midfield.

Rathfriland forced the first chance of the game, when they played through their striker but keeper Conor Ward was lightening fast off his line to meet him with a fantastic save.

With 15 minutes played, Jake Laffin played a magnificent pass into the path of Sam McAllister who, not for the first time, got the better of his marker before rolling the ball past the keeper to make it 1-0.

Rathfriland tried to rally themselves, however the defensive pairing of Jordan Walker and Ryan Jones, aided by the safe hands of keeper Conor Ward the door remained firmly shut.

The Juniors were the better side, and on 30 minutes they doubled their lead with a free kick which Jake Laffin rifled in from 25 yards giving the keeper no hope.

The second half began and the Juniors had the same agenda as the first half, give nothing away. Rathfriland threw caution to the wind and push more men forward, and searched hard for a way back into the game.

Conor Ward made an outstanding stop from a free kick, and dominated his box well. Jack Hamilton and Ryan Angus fought hard in the midfield and were getting the better of their opposite numbers as they dictated the play.

The Juniors could have been further ahead when Jake Dennison rolled his man, only for his effort to go over the bar.

The local lads could have been four up, however it was not needed as they comfortably saw out the game to lift the Shield for a third time, ensuring victory in four of the six finals they have played in.

The MOTM was keeper Conor Ward, for three spectacular saves aided by his professional approach and domineering attitude throughout to help his team lift another trophy.