Brave Ballycastle Academy U10s crash out of cup semi
This had been a much anticipated match by the Ballycastle Academy U10s team who had spent much time training in preperation for the fixture against Coleraine U10s in thye North West District Youth League Cup semi. Excitement had been high in the weeks prior to the fixture so there was a sense of relief within the Ballycastle camp by kick off time on Saturday.
Ballycastle played a three two one formation and held Coleraine initially, indeed, the first corner being awarded to Ballycastle. The Academy thwarted initial attempts from Coleraine, the defensive trio of Danny Connor, Aaron Faloona and Eoin Maybin working hard, closing down well and holding their own. Coleraine played long, accurate passes, frequently switching play but the ‘Castle lads held their own and bravely battled in defence, feeding the ball whenever possible to midfielders Jack Eagen and Jack Kane. A few chances did fall to Academy striker Ryan Watt who clearly could outpace the defender chosen to mark him out, but unfortunately, was unable to capitilise on the few chances that came his way. To be fair, he often found himself battling two defenders.
‘Castle goalkeeper Fergal McKiernan pulled some great saves but couldn’t prevent Coleraines first goal which was a great strike deservedly finding the net. 1 – 0 to Coleraine which remained the scoreline at half time.
There was no doubt that Ballycastle had matched Coleraine in the first half but the scoreline was a fair one. The early part of the second half saw Ryan Watt have two chances but good defending prevented Ryan having a clear shot on goal, Coleraine hitting ‘Castle on the break, 2 – 0 Coleraine. Briefly losing concentration, a defensive error by the Academy, the ball being passed across the box, gifted Coleraine a third.
Despite playing with heart and passion, the Academy conceded a further two goals, eventually losing 5 – 0, a scoreline which flattered Coleraine and doesn’t reflect the standard of football displayed by the ‘Castle team.
The Academy had needed a bit of fortune in this match, favourites clearly being Coleraine prior to kick off, however, lady luck hadn’t smiled upon the Academy today. However, to reach the semis can be seen as an achievement in itself and the good number of people from Ballycastle who turned up to support the Academy did see a team who has improved much in their first season in competitive football.