Ballymoney United Youth Academy round-up


THE Under-8’s played their first league game of the North West Mini Soccer league against a strong Dungiven side and found it tough going early on. Composed defending from Aaron Archibald and Noah Black enabled the boys to weather the early pressure and this built the platform for the boys as they started to find their feet.

Logan Holmes had to come off with an injury and the boys took time to readjust and then found themselves going a goal down when a shot was well saved by ‘keeper Kelly only for the alert striker to bundle the ball home.

Despite going a goal down the boys came out in the second half and with the introduction of Christie and Boggs the boys started to put constant pressure on the Dungiven defence, the equaliser wasn’t long in coming when Rhys Keys fired home and this gave the team the momentum to push on.

The boys laid siege to the Dungiven goal and rightly went ahead when Tegan McMaster ended a mazy run with a sublime finish, which was matched by his customary celebration.

Tricky wing play by Blair and Faulkner meant the Dungiven team continued to be on the back foot and the pressure finally told when Rhys Keys was rewarded for his direct running when he again finished impressively high into the net to make the score 3-1.

A very determined display by the boys in their first league game, which sets a platform for them to develop over the next few months.

Man of Match: Aaron Archibald.


THIS was a very closely contested, competitive game which took a few minutes to settle into a pattern as both teams found their feet after the Christmas break.

Ballymoney then started to get into their stride and play the exciting, attacking football for which they have become known. This was rewarded on 9 minutes when a fine long range shot from Patton gave the impressive Academy keeper no chance.

This spurred Ballymoney on but a mixture of great goalkeeping, bad luck and poor finishing saw the score remain the same at halftime.

The second half was a different affair with Coleraine starting on the front foot. This time it was Ballymoney’s  keeper  White to excel with two outstanding saves.

Ballymoney started to compete again and their hard work paid off when two goals in the 34th and 35th minutes from Kelly and new boy Larkin finished the game as a contest.

This was the best all-round performance that the 9s have put together all season. Kirk was his usual solid self at the back, Patton’s hard work and industry as the sole striker was rewarded with a goal.

Kelly and McLaughlin are forming a formidable partnership in centre midfield and with the work rate and power of Orr and Stinson in particular out wide on their day they are hard to beat. Larkin will be a good addition to the squad and another clean sheet and a man of the match performance can only do White’s confidence the world of good.

This result puts them on top of the Premiership Group and gives the boys something to hold onto and if they continue to perform like this there is no reason they won’t be there at the end of the season.

Man of Match: Jake White.


BALLYMONEY Athletic 9s made their debut in Ballysally on Saturday morning with Berties being their more experienced opponents.

Ballymoney took the lead midway through the first half against the run of play when Larkin scored with a fine free kick. This only inspired Berties who scored twice to lead 2-1 at half time. They went 3-1 up early in the second half but Ballymoney fought back straight away when Larkin’s saved shot was turned in by Wright.

Berties, who played in the league before Christmas, used this experience as they scored twice more before the end. This was a difficult game for the new boys to start with and there was some encouraging moments during the game and the more they play together the better they will adapt.

Man of Match: Pierce Larkin.


AFTER several weeks away from the Ballysally League, the boys took an early lead through PJ McAleese, and it was continuous one way traffic throughout the first half as more goals followed through Matthew Knight, Conal Doherty and the goal of the game from Padraig McGilligan, a twenty yard screamer into the roof of the net.

Half time the boys were six up, an impressive scoreline, but the football didn’t match, it was very scrappy.
Second half, and a few changes to the team, the boys looked sharper and they got their passing game together, and the goals continued to flow, with Doherty, Groocock and McAleese adding to the tally.

Jackson McDaid was making his debut for Ballymoney and he had an excellent game, and was probably disappointed he didn’t score with a couple of great long distance pile drivers, which are his trademark.

Man of Match: Conal Doherty.

* A tougher tasks awaits the boys this week when they travel to take on Glentoran in the N.I Boys Cup.


THE under-13s were hoping to build on their recent good performances and get another good result but they came up against a Stranocum side that proved hard to break down.

Ballymoney started poorly in this game and allowed Stranocum to score easily from a corner inside the first few minutes before slowly getting into their stride and playing some good passing football, creating numerous chances but to no avail as the first half ended one nil. 
They continued to press in the second half and were rewarded when Reece Hegarty scored from a Scott Douglas free kick to make it one all.

Stranocum came back strongly after conceding and scored after 43 and 49 minutes before Ballymoney’s Andrew McGregor and Conal Doherty combined to set up Josh Stinson for a great finish on 55 minutes to make it 3-2.

A draw looked possible at this point but they conceded a penalty late on to the end the game 4-2 down 

Men of Match: Reece Hegarty, Patrick Carson.


A short jaunt up to Ballymena Showgrounds and it turned into a case of deja vue when just as the Braidmen came to Ballymoney in October and were denied at least the draw they deserved after the hosts sneaked a 2-1 win and the away team missing a penalty, this turned out to be a replica of that game as the “wee toon” started well.

Despite the early dominance Ballymoney created very little in scoring chances and paid the price when Syzman Adamski took advantage racing clear from halfway onto Matthew Logan’s long ball and fired past Blair from edge of the box for 1-0.

Minutes later Kai Smyth was brought down when about to shoot inside the area and Liam McCann took the penalty with the same outcome as the team’s four previous attempts from the spot, with the ball ending up safely in the keepers hands.

Both teams battled on till half time with Calvin Purse and Owen McLauglin looking strong in defence just as Deaglan Smith and stand in defender Timmy Hanna did for ballymoney with no more real chances for either created before the break.

Ballymoney again pushed on relentlessly after the break in search of an equalliser with solid defending and battling midfielders keeping them at distance only for the large pitch to eventually take its toll on the young lads as large gaps started to appear.

The visitors started to dominate as Conleth O’Neill and Liam McCann started stroking the ball around with Harry Kirkpatrick’s final pass slipping Callum Howard in to shoot past home keeper for his third in three games from midfield to make it 1-1.

A couple of mazy runs by Bolton on the left kept home defenders busy but on 60 minutes one run ended with him skinning three defenders but he shot wide from a very narrow angle with two players waiting inside for a tap in.

This was to prove costly as up the other end sub Cameron Neilly wriggled free in the box to fire in off the far post and late on the tiny striker got loose again only for his shot being turned onto the post and Chrissy Moore cleared the danger.

Ballymoney manager Gary Lyttle was far from disappointed by the efforts of his players as they played some fantastic football on the road despite several players being out injured.

Ref’s Man of Match - Liam McCann.

* On Wednesday February 6 home to Carniny in the league and on Saturday February 9 home to Willowbank in the N.I. Boys’ Cup.