The North Coast Integrated College U16 football team enjoyed an emphatic 5 – 1 win against old adversaries, Ballymoney High School, in the Final of the Under 16 Shield. This result is a testament to the hard work from the boys whose season had started with less than favourable results.
The Match, at Riada Stadium, was played in reasonable conditions and on a damp surface which favoured a team who enjoys playing the ball in the ground.
North Coast’s players played to their strengths keeping the ball on the ground and moving it quickly, stretching the other team on the flanks and at the back. Ryan McCloy and Jordan Duffy worked hard on the wings, making unselfish runs and creating much needed width.
The first goal came from a set piece early in the game. Josh McKendry’s corner had Ballymoney’s defence in disarray and Steven Ramsey capitalised on a poor piece of defending, heading the ball home from close range.
Once in front, North Coast took charge of a well fought match. Much hard work was done in the middle of the pitch with Louis McAlary and Josh McKendry marshalling the threats from Ballymoney and being equally creative in opening up the Ballymoney defence.
Brandon McCreadie played as a target man up front holding the ball up allowing the mid-field to join in with the attacks. The pressure mounted and culminated in a beautifully crafted goal from Louise McAlary. One for the archives!!!!
The North Coast defence was solid, snuffing out any opportunities presented by Ballymoney. Stephen Ramsey put on a man of the match display with two good goals and was ably supported in the back line by, Jordan Brown, Kai Friel and Adam McMullan. Bailey Smith had a quiet game in goal. However one of the few opportunities presented to Ballymoney saw a great strike kept out by a top-class save with Bailey at full stretch to his bottom right.
Brandon McCreadie was rewarded for his hard work up front when he turned his defender and held off a late challenge to slot the ball home for a 3 – 0 lead before the half time whistle.
Further goals in the second half from Steven Ramsey and Ryan McCloy put the finishing touches to a professional display against a team who had beaten North Coast 2 -1 at home earlier in the season. When substitutes were made mid-way through the second half all players slotted into their roles seamlessly. Late in the second half, Ballymoney grabbed a consolation goal when one of their players was brought down in the area and the subsequent penalty was successfully converted.
Ballymoney were magnanimous in defeat. Their coach, Mr Dunlop, conceded that Ballymoney had been beaten by the superior side on the day and kindly presented the Shield to North Coast’s Captain, Brandon MCCreadie. The celebrations were enjoyed by both players and the travelling fans who were a credit to the school through their levels of sportsmanship from the sidelines. Well done to all!!!!!!