Photographs and report courtesy of Colm McDonald
On Saturday Antrim’s U16 footballers travelled to Tyrone’s Centre of Excellence in Garvaghey trying to capture the remaining place in this year’s semi-final of the Buncrana Cup.
This year’s competition began with a game against Derry in a cold and very wet Dunsilly but Antrim wouldn’t let that damped their spirits. Both teams had the same amount of scores but it was Antrim who got the more decisive scores running out winners 2-4 to 0-06 winners.
Next up was a game away to Cavan knowing that a point would be enough to give Antrim a semi-final spot. This proved to be a close affair but nothing seemed to fall Antrim’s way – missed chances, slipping on the wet 4G surface and with the scores close and game coming to an end Antrim pushed for that score that would give them their place in the semi-final but then came the sucker punch. Cavan broke forward and scored a goal on the break. Antrim tried to get the score they needed but fell short with the game finishing Cavan 1-7 to 0-7.
First up on Saturday was Armagh who were still hurting following a convincing defeat at the hands of Monaghan. Both teams started well testing each other but it was Antrim with the wind at their backs who took control. Antrim took a strong lead into the half time leading 1-05 to 0-1 but knowing they were playing into a strong wind in the second half nothing was guaranteed. The boys continued with the same intensity and pushed for more scores, and more scores did come. Antrim finishing the game with a convincing score line of 3-09 to 0-02.
Next up was Monaghan and after watching their game against Armagh this was going to be a far more difficult task and so it proved. Monaghan started the game with the wind and they pushed hard to try and put Antrim away early but if they thought they would cruise through to the next round then that wasn’t going to be the case. Antrim from 1 to 15 worked hard to make life as difficult as possible. Antrim kept the score to 0-04 to 0-01 at half time but it could have been much closer if their chances were taken. With a renewed confidence and playing with the wind Antrim came out in the second half believing they could take something from the game. Antrim pushed forward but their scores were hard to come by and Monaghan took theirs to finish the game 0-08 to 0-03.
This unfortunately ended Antrim’s run in this year’s competition.