It’s only July and Rathfriland Rangers have already bagged their first silverware of the season, thanks to a winning goal from new signing Stephen Hutchinson.
They won the Ironside Trophies Cup for Cancer Research UK, with, more importantly, £800 being raised for the charity. A huge well done to the clubs involved and supporters for their efforts.
On route to victory, Rathfriland negotiated their way past Banbridge Rangers in the semi-final and Seapatrick 1-0 in the final.
On Monday night, Rathfriland won their semi final 3-1 after two goals from the industrious Darren McGrath and the other from debutant Johnny Kernaghan, who has recently joined from Banbridge Town.
Rangers took the lead early on when McGrath scored from 10 yards with a neat finish. His other goal came via a penalty on the half hour mark, a spot-kick that was finished with an assured strike.
The Whites went a further goal ahead when Johnny Kernaghan stole in at the back post to finish off a great cross from the right back position to leave the half-time score at 3-0 and Rathfriland cruising through to the final.
Banbridge Rangers pulled a goal back as target man Kenny Gracey got rewarded for a great shift by getting on the score-sheet for Rangers after good work from Mallen and Frazer down the left flank.
However, that was to prove no more than a consolation as Rathfriland held on claim their place in the final against Seaptrick, who had seen off tournament debutants Banbridge Youth Club Old Boys 2-1 in the other semi.
Stephen Donaghy opened the scoring in Seapatrick’s semi-final victory after half an hour and Dee McParland doubled their advantage, netting the pick of the goals by smashing in a superb finish after a corner-kick had been pulled back.
YCOB got off the mark as Mark Rooney finished well from 20 yard but, in the remaining five minutes, the Old Boys couldn’t find the equaliser.
The tournament final was a closely-fought game with Rathfriland scoring in the first half through new signing Hutchinson.
That strike proved to be enough to seal the win as the scoreline remained 1-0 for the remainder of the game, leaving captain Kenny Kearns to lift the trophy to round off a great pre-season tournament for a great cause.
Congratulations to young James Pollock of Rathfriland Youth U17s.
He made his debut for Rathfriland’s first team in the final on Thursday evening. James, who is 15, came on a substitute for the last 15 minutes of the game and had an impressive debut in his first experience of senior football.