Plate victory for Banbridge Rangers U9s

Banbridge Rangers U9s, sponsored by The Downshire Arms Hotel, travelled to the Dublin Cup this weekend and returned home with the Plate when they defeated Finnish side Trombi White in the final!

Banbridge Rangers 0-3 Banbridge Town: The Rangers boys got down to Dublin early on Saturday morning and started slowly against their derby rivals from the Town Juniors and found themselves behind from two early goals. A couple of chances for Thompson and Rice in the second half went a miss with the Town securing the win with a third goal.

Banbridge Rangers 2-1 Trombi White B: Banbridge Rangers pulled up there socks and got stuck in against a very good side from Finland. The opening chance saw Joshua Rice through a 1 on 1 only for keeper to save well and Trombi edged in front within minutes.

At 1-0 down the Gers were up against it but gradually got on top of the game with Llwyd Jones bringing the game level with a composed finish. Dylan Gilchrist started dictating play in the middle along with Heslip and Jones whilst keeper Aaron Knox kept it at 1-1 with a superb save. In the dying minutes of the match a Rangers free kick was blocked and the irrepressible Jones scored from the rebound to secure three points for Banbridge Rangers.

Shamrock Rovers 0-4 Banbridge Rangers: After a well earned rest Banbrige Rangers started very quickly against local side Shamrock Rovers in their final group game knowing a win would see them finish in the top two and a final appearance in the Cup or Plate. Midfield supremo Matthew Hampton got the Gers in front firing home a quick goal and settled any nerves despite coming up against a more physical team.

The goal of the game followed soon with the skilful Isaac Heslip and Dylan Gilchrist combining well to slip Joshua Thompson through and he calmly slotted home. Joshua Rice added a third as the Gers looked sure to be making an extension to their stay.

Banbridge Rangers goalkeeper Aaron Knox was alert as ever late on and came rushing off his line early to clear a long ball only to surprise everyone and control the ball before beating two players and running three-quarters of the field to slot Joshua Thompson through to get his second of the game. This was one of the highlights of the competition with the parents going mad laughing at Aaron’s move.

Plate Final: Trombi White 1-2 Banbridge Rangers - Banbridge Rangers finished second in their group and went on to play Trombi Whites other team who had finished second in their group. The Finland boys were out to make their trip a success and within ninety seconds they had taken a 1-0 lead.

Joshua Thompson got hurt soon after and a sub was made with Joshua Rice coming on. Rices first touch of the ball saw him turn the Trombi centre back and make a bursting run then he slipped a neat pass through to Dylan Gilchrist who showed his nifty footwork to round the keeper and make it 1-1 going into half time.

In the second half Banbridge Rangers were up against it with Isaac Heslip and Llwyd jones on the back foot and Aaron Knox pulled off save after save to keep the Gers in the game. With not much left on the clock Banbridge Rangers got a corner but it was only cleared by the Finnish team as far as Llwyd Jones.

Jones feinted to shoot then dropped the shoulder to beat an onrushing player before firing a thunderbolt shot into the top of the net - and the rest, as they say, is history!

Well done to coaches Mark Rice and Geordie Rice who are quickly turning a group of talented youngsters into a winning team. Thanks to the parents for their support and assistance and especially to the players who put everything into doing their best whilst wearing the blue of Banbridge Rangers and were the youngest side there with only our keeper being over the age of seven.

Congratulations to Aaron Knox, Joshua Rice, Matthew Hampton, Issac Heslip, Joshua Thompson, Dylan Gilchrist and Llwyd Jones. Thanks also to John Woods from the Bridge Bar who sponsored the U9s trip to Dublin.