Dromore High School’s U16 team have won the Banbridge District Council Cup for the third successive season, this time seeing off New-Bridge Integrated College 4-2 in extra-time in the final at Crystal Park, with a particularly sporting gesture from New-Bridge along the way.
Dromore were 2-1 ahead with second remaining but New-Bridge levelled in the last two minutes in confusing circumstances after a mix-up in communication saw a goal scored from a bounce ball with no opposition.
As the match went into extra-time, New-Bridge sportingly scored an own goal to redress the injustice of their equaliser – a truly magnanimous gesture from the New-Bridge players and coaching staff. Dromore then sealed the win.
These two sides had previously met the year before, in the U15 semi-final and it was New-Bridge who came out victorious that time, perhaps placing them as slight favourites going into this year’s final.
Dromore, however, soon put paid to that theory as they made a good start to the match, scoring in the first 10 minutes after a floated free-kick by Louis Simpson was volleyed into the net by Chris Treacy.
A second goal followed a few minutes before half-time after Curtis Beck was brought down inside the box, Philip Kerr calmly converting the penalty.
Then came the mix-up as New-Bridge righted any wrongs at the start of extra-time.
In the second period of extra-time, a Kyle Thompson cross set up a fourth goal as Christian Kennedy slotted home the opportunity. This effectively killed-off any comeback as Dromore eased to a 4-2 victory.
It was a well-deserved victory for a team that worked incredibly hard allied to some super skill in the final.
Louis Simpson captained the team from centre-back with Ben Martin, Adam Bingham and Jonathan Gamble his defensive team. The midfield of Kennedy, Bothwell, William Morrow and particularly Philip Kerr worked tirelessly throughout.
Treacy and Beck proved more than a handful up front as they tormented the New-Bridge defence. All the reserves came on in what was an energy-sapping afternoon, David Maze, Johnny Millar, Kyle Thompson, Ryan Corbett and Gareth Ney.
Their win followed a nail-biting semi-final victory against The High School, Ballynahinch at Ferris Park.
A Sam Bothwell strike was cancelled out and the tie went into extra-time. Both teams gave their all to find a winner, but the match was clearly destined for the dreaded penalties.
This was not a massive surprise as the last two finals have been Dromore/Ballynahinch affairs. Dromore sealed their place in the final with a 5-4 win, keeper Andrew Rowan with some heroics!
Best wishes go to Curtis Beck, who sustained a double leg break in the final. He was undoubtedly Dromore’s man of the match.