Ballymoney High School take the honours after extra time

The victorious Ballymoney High School team. (s)

The victorious Ballymoney High School team. (s)

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The final of the U16 Coleraine and District League, between Ballymoney High School and North Coast Integrated, was played last week at Mullaghacall, home of Portstewart FC.

North Coast had been ruthless in their qualifying matches winning all games relatively comfortably, drawing only one against Ballymoney.

It was a game which the Ballymoney boys had to get at least a draw to qualify for the final.

North Coast are a very talented side and started the game strongly.

They controlled a lot of possession in the first 20 minutes and created a few chances.

The Ballymoney team dug deep and were made to work really hard while at the same time created a few half chances of their own.

On the stroke of half-time North Coast scored from a header at the back post , the result of an inswinging corner to give them a deserved half-time lead.

Into the second half and Ballymoney gradually started to keep the ball better.

Their passing was more accurate and confidence was beginning to grow.

They started to believe in their own ability and eventually were rewarded with a goal mid way through the half with a goal from Kenny Kane. He received the ball outside the penalty area and took on two defenders before calmly slotting the ball past the North Coast keeper.

Ballymoney now knew they could win this and midfielders Neil Shaw and Kyle Madison were beginning to make powerful runs into the opposition box.

Both sides created further chances, especially North Coast but a great save from Ballymoney keeper Jamie McIntrye meant the game was going to extra time.

It was agreed that 10 minutes each way be played rather than penalties. Confidence and self belief had somewhat turned and Ballymoney now seemed more in control of the ball.

Midway through the second period Ceelan Stewart rose high at the back post to head home from a corner.

Both teams battled hard for possession are the game entered the final few minutes, but it was Neil Shaw who rounded off a brilliant afternoon with a solo effect to make the final score 3-1 to Ballymoney.

The match was played in an mature sporting manner and both teams thanked the referee and Portstewart FC for the use of their excellent facilities for the afternoon.

BALLYMONEY HS: C Bolton, J Smyth, J Holmes, C Getty, J McIntyre, A Dunlop, C Blair, A McGregor, J McCrellis, D Laverty, A King, K Kane, G Stewart, C Stewart, K Madison, N Shaw.