Rathfriland Youth finished their Mid Ulster season by entering the 16 team Festival Day tournament held at Kernan Playing Fields.
The youth progressed from the group stages with three wins out of three scoring seven goals without conceding in games against Banbridge Town Panthers, Lurgan Town and Oxford Sunnyside.
The goals came from Caolan Teer (3), Alex McKee, Thomas Ingram, Darcy Burns and a great header from Will Kelly, with the defence of Ethan Hamilton, Leon Shimmons and Conor McCumiskey in fine from and Liam Tumilty in goal outstanding.
The quarter final against Camlough was always going to be a tough encounter and although Rathfriland took the lead through Patrick Cowan a late equaliser meant penalties.
Cowan and Ingram scored for Rathfriland but two stunning saves from Tumilty ensured a semi-final place awaited.
The semi-final against St. Mary’s went the same way as the quarter final did with Teer scoring early and St Mary’s getting an equaliser late on to force penalties once again. Again it was Tumilty who saved another two spot kicks to guide Rathfriland into the final against Banbridge Town Tigers.
Rathfriland hit the ground running in the final with excellent work from Will Kelly creating another early goal for Teer before Cowan fired in from the edge of the box to send the lads into the half time break with a two goal lead. Banbridge Town had no intention of lying down, and hit back early in the second half to rattle the Rathfriland side as the game turned into an end to end encounter.
It was some excellent approach play from Ingram and Kelly again that created the space for Teer to score his sixth goal of the tournament and restore his teams two goal advantage. Although the spirited Tigers hit back again, Rathfriland held on for victory with the final whistle sparking scenes of delirious celebration from the whole squad.