BELFAST ROYAL ACADEMY 1
BALLYCASTLE HIGH 5
Ballycastle HS travelled to Mossley HC last Wednesday to play BRA in the Prior Shield.
Having lost their first game to Antrim Grammar, Ballycastle needed to find the winning formula in their second game and did so by defeating Friends’ School Lisburn by 3-2.
The third game of the group would have a big say on Ballycastle’s chances of qualifying for the quarter final of the competition and they passed with flying colours.
The game started being a very tight affair with Ballycastle’s young and inexperienced team struggling to get to grips with the water based playing surface. In the first fifteen minutes, shots on goal were few and far between and it was a midfield battle with Jeff Purdy, Owen Farrell and Jack Calderwood all winning their individual battles. After this, the game burst into life in spectacular fashion at both ends of the pitch. Firstly, B.R.A won a short corner which was superbly executed and destined for the bottom corner but for a great save from Chris Boyd, the new Ballycastle keeper. Ballycastle broke with pace and Andy Christie set up Barry McMullan who fired home the opening goal.
Minutes later and it was two when Barry McMullan scored again, making it six goals in three outings for the in-form centre forward. Buoyed by the two quick goals, Ballycastle pushed on and Graeme Christie finished off a fine solo run by smashing the ball past the B.R.A keeper into the roof of the net to make it three just before half time.
B.R.A came out fired up for the second half and won three short corners in a row with Ballycastle’s defence of James Orr, Adam Quinn and Adam Brogan all saving what would have been certain goals. The pressure finally told when the B.R.A captain nipped in at the back post to pull one back for the hosts.
Many teams would have crumbled after this pressure but Ballycastle freshened things up by introducing their very young substitute bench, which paid off as the visitors soon were back on the front. One of the new additions soon restored the three goal cushion after Barry McMullan beat two B.R.A defenders before playing in Owen McLaughlin who scored his first goal for the school as he fired in from a tight angle.
This ended B.R.A’s resurgence in the game and it was one way traffic from here on with the final goal of the game coming in the final minutes of the game from captain Andy Christie, who smashed a short corner into the net to cap off an excellent team performance.
Next up in the final game of the group, Methodist College travel to the Quay Road on Wednesday with a win securing Ballycastle qualification to the quarter finals.
The game is a 12.30pm push back.