Ulster’s under 16 Boys produced an excellent performance to lift the Inter Provincial title in Cork last Sunday and prevented Leinster making a hat-trick of titles.
Starting as underdogs, Ulster, with just four boys returning from last year’s team, who narrowly missed out on silverware as a result of goal difference.
Ulster opened their account with a tentative 0-0 draw against Munster. However, the team saw off Leinster in emphatic style, with a 3-0 win in their next game.
A Leinster own goal, in addition to a fine effort from Callum Robson and a superb reverse strike from Aaron Martin, gave Ulster a comfortable win.
Next up was the second game against Munster and Ulster made no mistake this time, comfortably winning 2-0 with both goals coming from Aaron Martin, the first of which was scored in the first 30 seconds.
Going into their final game, Ulster needed a draw to win the tournament and despite going two goals up from Tim Watt and Martin, Ulster let Leinster back into the game to score two goals of their own. But indiscipline saw Leinster play most of the 2nd half with 10 men. But even with the one man advantage, the winning goal eluded Ulster but they had done enough and the trophy was theirs.
The team was selected from nine different schools from all over the province. It was particularly good to see so many of the parents travel to Cork and the support from the side-lines was like a twelfth man to the boys on the pitch.
“We have been delighted with the effort and improvement the players have made over the preparation stage and this resulted in a very enjoyable weekend. We had players from clubs all over Ulster and it was a credit to them how they created such a fantastic experience for parents, players and coaches alike,” said Ulster coach Scott McCandless.
“Yes it was fantastic to win the tournament against a talented Leinster and a resolute Munster side but the progression in team and player performance from game one to game four was the most satisfying for me.
“The Under 16 team is the first step of the representative ladder, I hope this experience gives these talented young players a real thirst to continue to work very hard to develop their game with their schools and clubs and make many more Ulster and Irish squads”
Regent House pupil and Irish under 16 player Peter McKibbin captained the team. Head Coach was Scott McCandless, Manager Carl Allen, Assistant Coach David Smyth, GK Coach Stuart Chisholm and Physio Claire McCracken.
Under 16 squad from: James Milliken (Friends); Matthew Buchanan (Royal & Prior); Peter McKibben (Regent); Adam McCallister (Sullivan); Callum Robson (Sullivan); Ryan Getty (Wallace); Aaron Martin (Friends); Mark McNellis (Wallace); Kyle Marshall (Markethill); Sam Farson (Banbridge Acad.); Peter Rolston (Campbell); David Rae (Kilkeel); Sean Murray (Wallace); Zach McClelland (Portadown); Timothy Watt (Banbridge Acad.); Matthew Hurst (Banbridge Acad); Thomas Mathewson (Friends); Ryan Donaldson (Friends).