Cup glory rewarded for United youngsters

Sports Performance of the Year Award

Sponsored by Stirling Trophies

THE SPORTS Performance of the year award went to one of the biggest cup upsets seen in youth football for many years.

For the first time in the club’s history, Ballymena United 3XI won the Harry Cavan Youth Cup which is the premier Knockout event at U18 level, defeating Belfast bigwigs Linfield.

Incredibly, six of Linfield’s players who started the final had already senior experience, compared to United’s players who had a combined total of two minutes of senior experience between them. Ballymena suffered a further blow when they lost key player Alan Telford to injury in the warm-up, meaning a late reshuffle and only four substitutes on the bench.

Coach Colin Sewell said injuries didn’t help the already tough task ahead, he said: “We had already lost key players in the warm up. We had used all our subs and Lee McCoughren was injured, but he refused to come off.

“Despite this they were all 1st class”

Courageous Lee was at the ceremony and described it as an unbelievable achievement.

Long serving United man, Kenny Whitbread described the cup win as one of the club’s greatest moments, he said: “I tried for 13 years to win that cup, and Colin did it in his first year against a top club. It is the greatest of achievements.”

Also Short-listed:

St Mary’s Gaelic Football team (GAA); Aaron Swan (cycling); Colin Miller (radical extreme sportscars)