TOWN Juniors Under-14s were celebrating at the weekend after they successfully defended the Mid-Ulster Youth League Shield beating Lurgan Town at the Gordon Playing Fields on Saturday morning.
The Juniors went into the game as underdogs, however were in no mood to go home second best. The game started at a very high tempo, with the Juniors going toe to toe with Lurgan not giving them an inch of space to play their football.
Chances were hard to come by for both teams as the game ebbed and flowed and wasn’t until the 20th minute when the first chance of the game came through substitute Michael Rafferty, who replaced the injured Frank McCartan - played the ball over to Jake Dennison who rounded the keeper and slotted into an empty net.
The Juniors pushed on from this, and put in an inspired performance as they battled hard and getting their reward with a second goal four minutes later with a carbon copy of the first. Michael Rafferty released Jake Dennison who rounded the keeper and finished into the empty net.
Lurgan were rattled and the Juniors were rampant and they punished them yet again when they scored a trhird goal after man of the moment Jake Dennison squared for Owen Byrne to fire home.
The second half started with Lurgan coming at the Juniors hard and fast, throwing everything except the kitchen sink at the Juniors back line.
This pressure paid of just minutes into the half as they found a breakthrough after a goal mouth scramble fell to a Lurgan player who poked the ball into the net.
The Juniors were unphased - spurred on by their support from the sidelines and didn’t stop fighting. Lurgan however found a second goal on 24 minutes after their striker squared for his team mate who finished well.
Banbridge were in no mood to surrender their lead, and pushed for a cushion which they got on 27 minutes when Jake Dennison completed his hat-trick when his effort took a deflection and found the back of the net.
Lurgan fought back instantly, and on 30 minutes set up a nervy ending for the Juniors when they broke and scored to make it 4-3. The Juniors kept a level head, drawing on their experience from previous finals, to see out the match and retain their trophy.
This week’s man of the match was Caleb Schiess for a relentless display in the centre of midfield. Congratulations to all the players, and a big thanks to all the supporters who turned out to cheer on their team.