As the feast of football at the Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup neared its end, Friday saw two finals take place in the Maiden City.
The rain was relentless at Nelson Drive for the U13 Shield Final but the football was still at a high standard between Hillsborough Boys and Carrick Rangers.
The opening minutes were tense as both teams tried to keep the ball and give nothing silly away. Tony McClean and Carson Elliot both had chances for Hillsborough but they couldn’t quite find the target in the early stages.
It was at the other end that the first real opportunity came though. Craig Elliot bustled his way through the defence and was chopped down to win a penalty. The number ten stepped up to try and convert it himself but his spot kick rattled back off the post and it remained level.
Carrick were left ruing the missed penalty seconds later as Hillsborough took the lead. Rhys Gregory won a corner and then the big number nine popped up with a bullet header to make it 1-0. Being a final though there was always going to be drama and it was 1-1 soon after, Elliot making up for his penalty miss as he went round the keeper and kept his head to equalise before the half.
The second period was more one-sided as Hillsborough started to dominate in the final third. Carson Elliot and Joel Bassett both had chances from free kicks but Aaron MacFarlane stayed strong in the Carrick goal, tipping one onto the post to keep it level.
Gregory and Elliot were linking up well for the Boys, the big men playing some intricate stuff and creating opportunities. The major chance of the half again though fell to Elliot at the other end. The big Carrick striker bullied the defence and had the whole goal to aim at but was too relaxed with his finish and dragged it wide.
The game tightened up in the remaining minutes and no one found the vital breakthrough. Penalties would decide it and it was Hillsborough who came out on top, taking the spot kicks 5-4 to claim victory and lift the Shield.
Meanwhile, it was finals day at Ardmore which saw Belfast side Crusaders take on Newry City in the U15 Rosebowl decider.
There was plenty of expectation before the game but it didn’t quite live up to the hype. That was because Crusaders were so dominant from the off, eventually running out comfortable 3-0 winners.
They had possession in all the right areas and Newry struggled to get out of their own half. Anything Newry did do didn’t threaten the Crues defence and they were limited to shots from distance.
The inevitable came just ten minutes in as the Belfast boys took the lead. Eoin Flynn was taken down and despite scoring the referee pulled it back for a penalty. Chad Cochrane converted the spot kick coolly.
The killer blow came just before the half and it really put the game to bed, this time Lundy worked his way into the box with a jinking run and slid the ball past the keeper.
The second half continued in the same vein as Crusaders kept their foot on the gas, playing free flowing and direct football. It wasn’t long before it 3-0, Crues making it look easy with another well worked goal. Sean Duffy got the ball back from Ben Steele and caressed the ball into the top corner from the edge of the area.
If Crusaders were comfortable before that, they relaxed even more then. They had chance after chance and could have had two or three more. In truth though, Newry didn’t pose any threat and Crusaders really did cruise to victory to lift the 2015 Rosebowl.
Foyle Harps FC 0-0 Donegal Sboys (Donegal Sboys won 5-4 on pens), Dergview FC 2-2 Limavady Utd (Dergview FC won 4-2 on pens), Oliver Pkt Colts 1-2 Coleraine F, Celtic FC 4-1 Derry Colts, Oxford FC v Bright Star, Finn Harps FC v Ballycastle Utd FC, Strabane Ath 0-5 Inishowen YL, Oliver Pkt FC 2-1 Roe Valley FC, St Mary 1-1 Maiden City Acad ) Maiden City Acad won 4-3 on pens), Ballymoor FC 0-0 Institute FC (Institute FC won 3-1 on pens), Glenavon FC 0-0 Strathroy Harps (Glenavon FC won 5-0 on pens), Ardstraw FC 2-2 B Peacock YL (Ardstraw FCwon 4-3 on pens)
B Peacock YL 2-2 Finn Harps (Finn Harps 5-3 pens), Newry City FC v Crusaders FC, Glenavon FC 2-2 Trojans FC ) Glenavon won 4-2 on pens), Institute FC v Draperstown Celtic, Oliver Pkt FC 1-2 Sion Swifts FC, Maiden City Acad 4-2 Limavady Utd, Norwich City v Coleraine FC
Inishowen YL 1-0 Ballymoor FC, Finn Harps FC v Willowbank FC, Ballycastle Y 5-0 Strabane Ath
Under 12: 13:15 Sligo/Leitrim YL v Donegal Sboys;
Unde 14: 12:00 Brandywell Stadium v Celtic FC
Under 16: 14:30 Teams playing semi finals Friday evening