UK Junior 5-a-Side 2018/19 – Round 1
2nd Ahoghill dropped out of the national Junior 5-a-side football competition after a tough set of matches in this year's opening round.
We travelled to Ards Leisure Centre where we met our opponents 1st Greenisland and 3rd Kilkeel. Our hosts 2nd Saintfield were unable to field a team, and it was agreed that the remaining teams would play each other twice to accommodate their absense.
Match 1 – 1st Greenisland
The first half was closely contested, with a fine goalkeeping display by Matthew Cahoon thwarting several Greenisland attacks. The deadlock was broken when a misplaced pass gave Greenisland possession, which they capitalised on to take a 1-0 lead.
However, the boys responded quickly, with Daniel Hayburn drilling home an equaliser after some good build-up play. Ahoghill dominated the next few minutes as they pushed for a second, but a long ball behind our defence and another clinical finish returned the lead to Greenisland.
The boys’ concentration dropped a little as the game went on, leading to a flurry of late goals as Greenisland claimed a 5-1 victory.
Match 2 – 3rd Kilkeel
Matthew headed outfield for our second match, as Sam Gault replaced him in nets. It wasn’t long before Sam was called into action, as Ahoghill relied on a succession of diving saves during an end to end first half. The first goal came via the penalty spot, after the referee judged our defender had entered the box illegally. Kilkeel slotted home the penalty to take the lead.
The boys responded well with a series of good attacks, as they began to threaten an equalizer. However, an intercepted freekick gave Kilkeel a one on one with our keeper late in the match. Their striker just managing to squeeze the ball past the onrushing Sam, to seal a 2-0 for Kilkeel.
Match 3 – 1st Greenisland
The boys started well, with John Watterson and James McFetridge continuing to press the opposition tirelessly. However, a clinical strike into the far corner gave Greenisland the lead, followed by a second shortly after.
Despite the two-goal deficit, the boys remained positive. Battling for the ball in the middle of the park, and creating chances when they could. But a moment of deja vu halted our progress, as we conceded another penalty for having a defender in the box. This time Sam stood firm to save as he anticipated the strike down the middle.
The game became stretched as the boys pushed forward in search of a goal, allowing Greenisland time and space to clinch a third goal and 3-0 victory.
Match 4 – 3rd Kilkeel
Matthew returned to nets for our final match and was unfortunate to concede an early first goal, which crept agonisingly over the line despite his quick reflexes.
Kilkeel opted to defend their early lead and catch us on the counter-attack, with their midfield overturning several of our attacks. This forced our boys to rely on long-range shots, with efforts from Daniel and Sam coming frustratingly close.
Kilkeel capitalised on our growing frustration, as they steadily increased their lead throughout the match to register a 4-0 victory.
The results meant that 1st Greenisland and 3rd Kilkeel will progress to the second round of matches.
Special thanks to Peter Cahoon, one of our senior boys, who travelled with the team and coached the boys during the competition.