United U-11s aim for NIBFA Cup glory on Monday

BALLYMENA United will become the first team from the borough to compete in the prestigious NIBFA Cup finals next Monday, May 6.

Ballymena United youth team who are through to the finals of the NIBFA cup. INBT16-202AC
Ballymena United youth team who are through to the finals of the NIBFA cup. INBT16-202AC
Ballymena United youth team who are through to the finals of the NIBFA cup. INBT16-202AC

The Sky Blues face Glentoran at the Showgrounds 3G on Bank Holiday Monday in the Northern Ireland final for this age group (11.30 am).

United have showed fine form in recent weeks with a string of victories and their path to the final has involved some dramatic games.

Victories over Carrick Rangers Colts and Oak Athletic was followed by a nail-biting last gasp win over St Patricks in Belfast.

United then faced derby rivals Carniny in the semi finals,both sides have a number of talented young players and for Ballymena to have two sides in the last four of the National Cup bodes well for the future.

There was nothing in the game but United roared back from two goals down and snatched the victory with a last minute winner, epitomising the spirit in this young group.

Some excellent coaching from the knowledgeable Jonny Hume, Colin Lorimer and Alan McCausland have pointed the boys in the right direction all season and they now face Glentoran in the final.

Both league games have finished 3-3 this season against the boys from the East, although the Skies will fancy their chances, playing at the Showgrounds and with their loyal band of parents and friends cheering them on.

Here. Times Sport profiles the Ballymena United squad:

William Crockard (goalkeeper): From Kells. Has improved since the start of the season, putting in some great performances. Came through mini soccer school.

Connor Marron (goalkeeper): From Portglenone. First season with the club, as improved with every match and training session. Hero in the quarter-final with the winning penalty save.

Trai Hume (defence/midfield): From Ballymena. Team captain who has been an influential part of the team’s success this season. Very good at reading the game and has also chipped in with a few goals. Came through mini soccer school.

Matthew Shaw (central defender): From Randalstown. Very good in the air, comfortable with the ball at his feet and has scored some crucial long range goal’s this season. Came through BUYA mini soccer.

David Heaney (right/left back): From Ballymena. Hard working defender who can play with both feet. One of the best passers in the team and loves to help the wide men in attack. Came through BUYA mini soccer.

Ruairi Hagan (right back): From Portglenone: Determined defender who chases down every ball. His skill and pace on the ball has been superb this season. Came through BUYA min soccer.

Josh Kirkwood (left back): From Antrim. Defender who uses his strength and height to his advantage. Second season with the club.

Lukas Holba (midfield): From Ballymena. Hard working midfielder whose ability on the ball has allowed him to break through opposition defences.

Cameron Bailes (defence/midfield): From Ballymena. Versatile player who has played in a number of positions this season. Quick player who has an eye for goal. Came through BUYA

Sean McAllister (midfield): From Randalstown : An important part of the team in his first season. Great determination in the tackle and creates and scores a lot of goals.

Charlie McCurdy (defence/midfield): From Broughshane. Versatile player who has played in nearly every position this season. Hard-working and determined to win the ball when not in possession. Came through BUYA.

Rian Lennon (midfield/forward): From Cargan. Talented player who is good in the air and likes to link the play between midfield and attack. Strong player who has an eye for goal.

Matthew Lorimer (left wing/forward): From Ahoghill: Skilful player who has a great left foot. Leading marksman this season. Scored some important and wonderful goals. Came through BUYA soccer school.

Mark Butler (forward): From Ballymena. Strong and fast player. Also very determined to close the opposition down when not in possession. He has set up and scored some great goals this season. Came through BUYA.

Bradley McCartney (forward): From Kells: Great first touch and has ability to take players on. Still under-10, he is one of the younger members of the squad but that has not held him back. Came through BUYA soccer school.

Ross McCausland (midfield): From Antrim. Another under-10, his ability on the ball makes it hard to shake him off. Chosen for the IFA development squad in Belfast.