Scottish Youth FA 1 - 1 Mid Ulster Youth FA
Mourneview Park, Lurgan
Saturday 10 April 2010
Last Friday a combined squad of Under 19 players from the Scottish Youth FA West and South East Regions travelled to Ireland to play a match against Mid Ulster Youth FA.
This fixture has been taking place for the past 28 years and each year the venue alternates between Scotland and Northern Ireland. Last year the game was played at Tynecastle and the SYFA won 3-0 on the day to retain the trophy.
This year's game took place at Mourneview Park, Lurgan, home of Glenavon FC.
The players left Hampden Park at 5am the day before the match to travel by coach to Stranraer and then over on the ferry to Belfast. The players were on a tight schedule, but had time to meet Councillor George Savage at the Parliament Buildings in Belfast for lunch and a tour.
On match day the players were welcomed to Mournview Park by the officials of Mid Ulster Youth FA, Glenavon FC, and the Mayor of Craigavon, Councillor Mrs Meta Crozier.
The game was tight right from the start. SYFA created some early chances with Steven McGinn seeing his shot saved in the 5th minute. A few minutes later a point-blank save from keeper Daniel McLeay kept SYFA in the game.
A corner in the 18th minute saw Josh Duncan head just past the post, and despite some continued pressure SYFA were not able to take their chances. At the other end Mid Ulster proved quite pacey, but were stopped by some well-timed tackles from Richard Gow in the SYFA defence.
The break came in the 28th minute when a ball was played through to Jack Combe, he lost his marker, turned into the box and sent in a low drive past the 'keeper.
This seemed to inspire the Scottish players as they upped the pace and pressed for a second. They did have the ball in the net in the 34th minute only for it to be ruled offside.
With this continued pressure there was always the chance that SYFA could get caught out. SYFA were pressing on goal in the 41st minute when they were dispossessed in midfield. Young striker Sean Devlin controlled the ball from a chip into the box, and slid in to level score.
In the second half both teams made changes but SYFA struggled to beat 'keeper Daniel Rowney, who won man of the match for his performance.
When they did beat the keeper again there was another offside call. Scott McIntosh and Marc Storrie both came on in the midfield and although they were able to regain control of the midfield, it was going to be one of those days for the SYFA squad and the game ended level
After the match the players were taken to a Civic Reception. Councilor Crozier expressed how much she had enjoyed the game and how important it was that frienships were made through sport.