It was a case of ‘Wham Bam, thank-you ‘Man’ at the SuperCupNI Junior Final as a double from Emmanuel Bam helped African side Right To Dream to their second Junior title on the trot.
The Ghanian side defeated brave local lads County Londonderry 3-0 in an entertaining final at the Ballymena Showgrounds.
Last year, Bam was part of the Right to Dream side that beat Southampton 7-0 in the final.
Despite the 3-0 defeat, Londonderry manager Ollie Mullan had plenty to be proud of.
He said: “The boys did incredibly well to get this far. No one thought we would get this far – I think some people didn’t want us to get this far, I don’t know why – maybe we don’t fill enough seats.
“Come the final, our boys were tired, they have been on their feet for five days.
“They were excellent in the first half, shutting out Right To Dream, but our game plan went out the window when we conceded a penalty 30 seconds into the second half.
“We executed our game plan to perfection in the first half.
“I’m not sure if the penalty was a foul or an error by the referee, but it was always going to be difficult to comeback from that.
“You have to say fair play to Right To Dream, they are a fantastic team. They were deserved winners.”
Mullan believes the five-day tournament was an invaluable experience for his team.
“The boys will gain a lot from this experience. They now know that they can compete with anyone,” he added.
“They only train six hours a week but they were able to compete with players who train for that length of time everyday.
“We are still behind teams like Right To Dream, but we held our own. The boys have been tremendous all week, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Despite the African side’s pressure and possession, County Londonderry held their own in the first half, shutting out the reigning champions.
Unfortunately, Londonderry’s resistance lasted for less than a minute of the second half.
The local side conceded a penalty 22 seconds into the new half when Jack McClean made a foul inside the six-yard box.
Forward Emmanuel Bam dispatched the penalty into the top right corner of Palmer’s goal, to give the Ghanaians a 1-0 lead.
The second Right To Dream arrived in the 12th minute of the second half, despite the best efforts of Palmer and his defence.
With the African side piling on the pressure, Palmer made a fine save, while the Derry defence made two blocks. Unfortunately for the locals the last block fell to the feet of Bam, who took his time before slotting home from inside the six-yard box.
Right To Dream added a third goal in the second minute of stoppage time when Kelvin Ofori slotted the ball past Londonderry’s substitute goalkeeper Lewis Vance, to seal a 3-0 win.
County Londonderry: Palmer, McClelland, Devaney, McKendry, McClean, Wilson, Whiteside, McLaughlin, Barr, Crooks, Woods
Subs: Bradley, Taggart, Hawe, McGarvey, Duffy, Callaghan, Vance
Right To Dream: Tollbel, Adomako, Woledzi, Deen, Diomande, Oteng, Villadsen, Basit, Ofori, Aziz, Bam
Subs: Terp, Leaon, Coulibaly, Christianson. Kingson
Referee: Tony Clarke