U10s win their first silverwear
Rathfriland U10s 1
Rathfriland win 4-3 on penalties.
RATHFRILAND’S U10 team played Moneyslane on Saturday past in the final of the U10 league cup and came away with what they hope will be the first trophy of many.
The game started in the worst possible fashion for Rathfriland when, with the ball pinging around on the edge of the box the young Moneyslane forward smartly controlled the ball, rounded a defender and slotted past Snowden in nets to open the scoring for the ‘slane.
Credit to the Rathfriland lads, who did extremely well to keep their heads up after such a blow early on. After taking stock it was down to the task in hand – get back into the game.
The backline of Ingram and Monaghan led by the ever reliable captain John Dickson, was coping well with any sporadic attacks that Moneyslane tried to mount with Dickson smartly intervening on a couple of occasions. Ingram also made a few outstanding interventions to keep Rathfriland in touch with the opposition.
In midfield, Fitzpatrick and the increasingly impressive Copes were competing well for the ball and at times linked up well to cause the ‘slane some problems. In attack Kristian Annett was working tirelessly to try and link with midfield and also get on the end of any loose balls in and around the box.
The half finished with Moneyslane in front but, importantly for Rathfriland, they were still in a great position to mount a comeback.
The second half started with some changes for Rathfriland when McDowell replaced Monaghan in defence, Loughlin into midfield for Fitzpatrick and Davenport slotting in up front in place of Annett.
Rathfriland were still pushing for the equaliser and were beginning to throw caution to the wind at the back when attacking. This led to a few hairy moments for the fans but good goalkeeping and intelligent defending from Dickson and Ingram in particular answered any questions asked of them.
Rathfriland were now playing two at the back with McDowell thrown into attack alongside Davenport in an attempt to make the ball stick in the opposition area, thus allowing Rathfriland a chance to create some prolonged pressure.
The boys kept battling away and in what was probably their last attack of the game they were awarded a free kick outside the box just left of centre. As Copes placed the ball, aware that this was probably his team’s last chance to take anything from the game, the line were confidant of his dead ball ability. And much to the fans delight, he didn’t disappoint, firing the ball into the corner of the net to deservedly equalise for the town.
The final seconds of the game were played out with Rathfriland continuing to press for a winner but unfortunately time wouldn’t allow this. So it was to the dreaded penalty kicks.
Moneyslane went first, Snowden standing firm to make the save. Rathfriland’s Copes smartly dispatched his penalty into the corner to make it 1-0. Slane equalised before Fitzpatrick put Rathfriland back in front.
Dickson watched as his shot was saved with Slane pulling level at 2-2, then it was 3-3 when Annett slotted home
Moneyslane had their fifth saved leaving Loughlin with the chance to win it. Unluckily, his penalty was saved taking the game into sudden death.
Again Snowden it was who got down well to make the save and up stepped young Ingram to expertly dispatch his penalty low into the corner to win the cup for Rathfriland.
So, a first piece of silverware for the entire new youth setup at Rathfriland FC and a very great encouragement to all coaches, parents and club members who have worked tirelessly throughout the past year to improve the future of the club. Things are looking bright.
A special mention to Moneyslane FC U10 coach Alan Wilson who unfortunately had a pre-arranged holiday that could not be avoided and who subsequently missed the game. He was genuinely missed.
TEAM: Snowden, Monaghan, McDowell, Dickson, Ingram, Copes, Fitzpatrick, Davenport, Annett, Loughlin.