Carryduff Colts upset the odds when they defeated Comber Rec from two divisions higher in the final of the under-18 Keith Hamilton Cup in a thrilling penalty shoot-out.
The teams had fought out a tough 0-0 over 90 minutes but it was the Colts who held their nerve to score all five of their penalties while goalkeeper Patrick McFarlane was the hero saving the first Comber effort to secure a 5-4 victory.
It was the second cup success for the Colts in the space of a week with the under-19s claiming their cup last week - and it augurs well for the club with so many talented young players coming through the ranks.
Colts started slowly and Comber dominated the opening exchanges but with skipper Lorcan Swail, Samir O’Hare, Rory Maguire and Eoghan O’Connor in dominant mood at the back so that goalkeeper McFarlane wasn’t tested until just before half time when he saved smartly from a Rec player who had broken through towards his goal.
It looked like Carryduff had suffered a blow when O’Hare pulled up injured but O,Connor moved into centre back and Ryan Sherry came on at right back and it was testament to the players that the change was seamless and didn’t effect their defensive performance.
Colts upped the tempo in the second half with Declan McArdle and Louis Napier prominent and they helped create chances with both Jack Toner and Lewis McGrogan going close with a number of good efforts and Comber defending desperately to keep them at bay.
Comber’s only two chances came from corners but even though it appeared the superior fitness of Carryduff on the big pitch at H&W Wolff Welders ground would tell they ran out of time and were unable to make the breakthrough despite complete dominance in the final 15 minutes.
It came down to who could hold their nerve in the shoot-out and goalkeeper McFarlane set the tone with a great save low to his right to give his team the edge.
Niall McGivern then stepped up and capped a great personal display by putting his side in front and his team mates all followed up successfully before Lorcan Swail cooly slotting home the decisive kick.
Colts squad: McFarlane, Swail, McReynolds, Maguire, O’Hare, O’Connor, Toner, McGrogan, McGivern, Napier, McArdle, Teague, Kelly, McCann, Casey, Sherry, McNicholl, Conway