County Antrim make history as they claim Milk Cup trophy

County Antrim's Ryan Nimick celebrates after giving his side the lead
County Antrim's Ryan Nimick celebrates after giving his side the lead

County Antrim rewrote the history books on Friday night as thay became the first team from Northern Ireland to lift the Premier Section Cup at the Dale Farm Milk Cup.

Andy Hunter’s side beating Club America 3-2 on penalties after the game had ended 1-1 at the final whistle.

The result means the boys are the first local team team to get their hands on the trophy after years of trying.

And they had the lead after just 27 seconds as they attacked from the first whistle, throwing a ball into the box.

Brandon Doyle aimed a firm header at goal which Club America goalkeeper Rafael tipped onto the cross bar, only for young Ryan Nimick to turn the ball into the back of the net after a goal-line scramble. It was the perfect start.

Crusaders youngster Nimick had a chance to score his second goal of the game just two minutes later. The teenager found himself in a yard of space just inside the Club America penalty box, but his low drive hit the foot of the post.

Club America almost equalised in the 19th minute of the second half when Ricardo fired the ball just past the post with a low shot.

The game’s most controversial moment arrived with 16 minutes left on the clock. Ballymena wonderkid Matthew Shevlin was fouled just outside the area. The forward made sure it was he who took the free-kick, and his 20-yard effort cannoned off the underside of the bar and bounced on Rafael’s line. Shevlin thought the ball had crossed the line, but the officials said no.

Within two minutes, it was 1-1. Club America as Ricardo latched onto the ball to scorein the bottom corner. That goal eventually forced the game into a penalty shoot-out.

Club America’s Juan and Liam McKenna both found the net in the first round of kicks, before Jerey and Shevlin exchanged misses. Jerey’s was well-saved by the magnficent Ferguson, while Shevlin went straight down the middle, allowing Rafael to save.

Ferguson made another save from Ricardo, before Cormac Lawlor gave Antrim a 2-1 lead. Johan levelled scores before Joe Tully made it 3-2 to Antrim with cool spot-kick.

Club America star Jared needed to score to keep the Mexicans in the game, but he hit the foot of the post. It was enough to secure County Antrim the 2015 Milk Cup.

Club America: Rafael, Johan, Alejandro, Juan, Daniel Alejandro, Ricardo, Armando, Aluair, Jared, Ulises, Jerey

Subs: Javier, Enrique, Antonio, Cabriel, Andres, Enrique, Ruben

County Antrim: Ferguson, Lawlor, Fyfe, McAuley, McCracken, Henry, Doyle, McCourt, McKenna, McCreery, Nimick

Subs: Corry, McAllister, Roscoe, Patterson, Shevlin, Tully, Moore