Winning the SuperCupNI’s first-ever Minor final was a dream come true for National League side Greenisland.
The new Under 13 age bracket has been a massive success story for tournament organisers, with large crowds watching the group games Coleraine’s university campus.
The final also attracted a bumper crowd, as Greenisland defeated the Bertie Peacock Academy in a dramatic penalty shoot-out to take the Minor crown.
Greenilsand coach Niall McGovern, “Our club was inspired by the Milk Cup. In 1995, a group of men from Greenisland went to watch County Antrim at the competition and decided they wanted to form their own youth club. Their ambition was to send boys from our part of the world to the Milk Cup.
“Over the years, lots of kids from our club have played here but this is the first time we have competed as Greenisland. To win this trophy is massive for our club.
“The committee members who formed the club are here today and I know how proud they are of the boys.
“The kids have been brilliant all week long.”
Bertie Peacock Academy coach Soren Stewart believes the new Minor tournament has been a huge success.
“We’re a boys club in Coleraine and playing in this final means the world to us.
“A lot of these boys support Coleraine and they watch their heroes here at The Showgrounds every Saturday. For them to get the chance to play on the Coleraine Showgrounds is massive.
“I hope the Minor section is kept on for next year and even expanded because its great for the kids here in Northern Ireland.”
While the Minor competition has been a fantastic addition to the SuperCupNI, the final itself provided little drama in normal time, finishing 0-0. Bradley Maguire almost won it for Greenisland in stoppage time with a rasping drive but Berties goalkeeper Harry Buckley produced a stunning game to ensure a penalty shoot-out.
Greenisland won the shoot-out 5-4, with Jaydyn Withers hitting the winning strike, sparking wild celebrations on the pitch and in the stands.
Bertie Peacock Academy: Buckley, Stewart, R. Moffatt, McBride, Boyd, McAleese, Doherty, J. Moffatt, Wynne, McCallion.
Subs: O’Neill, Elliott, O’Connor, Skeggs, McVicker, Fox, McToal, Brennan.
Greenisland: Hume, Cunningham, Black, Patterson, Withers, Higgins, Price, Given, McMullan, Morgan, McCart.
Subs: Woolsey, Small, Wallace, Andrews, Thompson, Maguire, Quinn.