ALTHOUUGH Town U17s were up against a strong Hillsborough side, they were well aware that anything could happen in a Cup match.
Indeed, straight from the kick-off you could tell that Banbridge were ready for this encounter. Early chances from Eoin Monaghan and Sean Kelly gave the Town the belief that they were capable of making opportunities to win the game.
Aaron Heaney played with strength and confidence in midfield, helped by a hard working Sean Kelly. Both players were able to create chances for Michael Corden on the left wing but the Town were unable to find the back of the Hillsborough net in the first half.
At the other end, goalkeeper Chris Coleman kept Banbridge in the match on a number of occasions with some great saves and at half time, the game was still scoreless, with both teams still determined to try and get the upper hand.
The second half started similarly to the first with chances for both sides and most of the play in the midfield. As always, Ben McDowell was consistently solid at the heart of the Banbridge defence and towards the latter stages of the game, the Town were glad of a last ditch clearance from Ryan Finnegan.
As the game was nearing its closing stages, extra-time seemed more and more likely, however, a Michael Corden cross found the feet of Dominic Donnelly on the right wing. Dominic took the opportunity, turned his marker and rifled a shot into the bottom corner of the Hillsborough net to give Banbridge the lead.
The celebrations were short lived as just a few minutes later Banbridge were unlucky to concede a penalty. To the frustration of Chris Coleman and the home side, the ball ricocheted off the post into the Banbridge net.
Banbridge’s hopes of an upset were finally dashed in the closing minutes of the game when a goal-line scramble resulted in a second goal for the visitors.
Whilst this defeat was very disappointing for Banbridge, the management team of Bob Mulligan, Matthew and Kieran Byrne were pleased with a solid performance from an improving under 17 team.