Monthly Archives: July 2018

Jake Corbett – County player of the tournament

Jake Corbett present with the County player of the tournament award. Pic: Brian Lyttle/Presseye

Congratulations to Premier team player Jake Corbett who was named the 2018 SuperCupNI County player of the tournament.

The midfielder was presented with his award following Friday night’s Premier final. Jake also picked up the Bertie Peacock Bursery for his contribution to the tournament.

By virtue of reaching the final, the Down Premier team claimed the award of most successful Irish team, an award that was collected by captain Dylan Stewart.

Dylan Stewart receives the award for Best Irish Team 2018 Pic: Brian Lyttle/Presseye

Jake Corbett win the Bertie Peacock Bursery award Pic: Brian Lyttle/Presseye

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SuperCupNI Final: Premiers 0-2 B Italia

The 2018 Premier squad with their runners up medals

There was no fairytale ending for the Down Premier team’s first ever appearance in the SuperCupNI final, as John Bailie’s boys succumbed to a very strong B Italia side.

The Down side were unable to emulate what the Antrim Juniors had done just hours before on finals night at Ballymena Showgrounds and so leave the north coast with no trophy but a lot of memories and a lot of new admirers.

A tense start to the game soon gave way to a period of sustained pressure from B Italia. On 11 minutes Dylan Stewart had to be quick off his line to block the advances of Iannone Carmine.

A minute later and Stewart was called on to make an even better stop when Carmine slammed in a shot from close range.

The Down lines were then breached fully on 17 minutes when Kevin Salvatore nipped through a gap in the defence to poke the ball into the top corner.

Down had been getting little respite but with 32 minutes gone they finally carved an opening at the other end. Sub Ben Cushnie raced into the area and as the goalkeeper committed, the chance was on but a heavy touch took the ball away from Cushnie and the opening was gone.

Down rang the changes early in the second half in an attempt to getting a footing in the game, but in truth this wasn’t the county’s best performance of the week and the Italians’ composure never looked like faltering.

A couple of half chances did eventually come for Down but on neither occasion could Eoin Rooney get on the end of inviting crosses.

B Italia doubled their lead with a memorable strike on 61 minutes. There looked little in the offing when Bingo Marco stepped into the ball 30 or so yards out but his connection on the half volley sent the ball soaring over keeper Stewart to kill off any hopes Down might have had of a comeback.

DOWN: Stewart (Carry 64), Smith, Conlon, Gemmell (Rooney 47), O’Hare, Weatherup, Corbett, Carroll (Curran 63), Dinu (Teggart 53), Glover (McVeigh 63), Wynne (Cushnie 25)

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Juniors heading home

Junior presentations finished at The Lodge and 18 boys heading for home. Thanks to every one for their professionalism, dedication and togetherness, and to all their families for their support during this week and from the start of the campaign.

We hope you leave here with memories that will last a lifetime. This was your #DownDream18

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Juniors 3-0 Charlton Athletic

Joshua Archer leads the team on the last day

The Junior team claimed third place in the Vase competition as they got the better of Charlton for the second time this week.

The week ended on a high for Gary McAllister’s team as goals from Jay Boyd, Reece Doyle and Ben Hollinger earned the 3-0 win.

The game had that Friday feeling about it for much of the first half as the players enjoyed the Portrush sunshine but the crowd were treated to little in the way of goalmouth action. A 7th minute shot from Charlton’s Jeremiah Medine that Ryan Dalzell saved comfortably was about the best of the early action.

On 29 minutes Charlton were awarded a penalty when a free kick struck the arm of Jamie McDarby. Dylan Gavin failed to make the keeper work however when he rolled the spot kick by the left post.

Down took full advantage a minute later to go in ahead at the break. A shot from Jay Boyd may not have been on target until the Charlton keeper parried the ball into the air and then failed to stop it carrying on into the net.

Five changes from Down at the break injected fresh legs and the side doubled the lead on 43 minutes. A corner from the right wasn’t dealt with in the Charlton area and when the ball broke loose Reece Doyle was on hand to thump it in.

Both teams were reduced to ten men on ’47 following an off the ball altercation. Down’s James Clarke and Charlton’s Jeremy Santos were the players to go.

The game’s third goal came on 52 minutes. A great pass from Bailey Locke wide on the right round Ben Hollinger and he stepped around a defender before dispatching the ball high into the net.

So the competition comes to an end for the juniors, who can be proud of their record of three wins, a draw and a defeat from their five games.

DOWN: Dalzell (Pauley h/t), Hopes, Rolleston, Archer, MacDonald (Davidson h/t), Madine (Hollinger h/t), Doyle (Magee 48), Clarke, McDarby (Locke h/t), Heron (McKibbin 54), Boyd (Lusty h/t)

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John Bailie looks ahead to final

Following Thursday’s win over Club America to reach the final of the SuperCupNI, we caught up with Premier manager John Bailie. These are his thought ahead of Friday night’s game.

“We’d played Club America in the past and they’re a very good side. But we’d also noticed that for some reason they’ve always fallen short. That said, I never expected the game to be as comfortable in the first half. We went in at half time one up, had looked threatening from set pieces and they hadn’t had a shot on goal.

“Now we knew that it wasn’t going to stay that way and of course they threw bodies forward in the second half and had us pinned back for long periods. They missed some chances, and we rode our luck too at times.

“I have to give full credit to our lads, because they have worked so hard over the last six or seven weeks to come from where they started to here is phenomenal. The energy levels they showed tonight on this big pitch were fantastic, after already playing three games.

“We haven’t changed our team a lot, which is sometimes the nature of tournament football. I know there are two or three kids who didn’t take part tonight, but they have played a huge part as well up to now and contributed to where we are.

“I was asked after Monday’s draw [with Newcastle] if we were delighted and I said that it was the opposite, because we were winning the game right until the end. There was a real feeling of disappointment in the changing room and we had a hard job to pick the players up from that.

“So from that game and from being 2-0 down at half time on Tuesday to where we are now, it’s been a phenomenal two and half games.

“The kids needed no motivation today and it’ll be same on Friday. We’ve had to say very little this week. The staff have taken themselves away from the boys, left them to themselves to rest and prepare in their own way. Their attitude and behaviour has been fantastic and they’ve all looked after themselves. We name the team and go through the set pieces but after that it’s all been down to them.

“They knew what the game against Newcastle on Wednesday meant in terms of qualification. It’s almost been like a quarter final and semi-final these last two days. They’ve been very aware of the occasion and the chance to make history and become the first County Down team to get to a final and they’ve done that. So full credit to them.”

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Friday fixture (Premier) – SuperCupNI final

The Premier team will play B Italia in the final of the SuperCupNI on Friday evening at Ballymena Showgrounds (kick-off 7.00pm).

The match will be streamed live from the Showgrounds at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/irish

We’d love you to come along and support us, but there are some important changes to this year’s final. PLEASE READ ALL OF THE FOLLOWING VERY CAREFULLY.

As a new pitch is being laid in the main stadium, a temporary arena at the rear of the Showgrounds complex is being used to facilitate SuperCupNI fixtures this year.

Important information re: access to new arena

The SuperCupNI matches at the Showgrounds are 100% ticketed, and spectators are advised to get there early to purchase tickets on site. Admission will be £10 and £5.

Tickets must be purchased for respective arena seated and standing areas from Slemish Drive turnstiles or the ticket booths in the Showground’s rear car park.

Holders of multi-match tickets still need a seated/standing numbered ticket from the Showgrounds ticket booth beforehand. This will not come at any additional cost.

Entrance to the Showgrounds by car or on foot is via Warden Street and the Slemish Drive turnstiles (parking in Slemish Drive car park), or via the Ecos roundabout to the Showground’s rear car park.

For Finals night on Friday 27th July to be sure of getting in to see the second match at 7pm attendees will need to arrive for the first game at 5pm. As these 2 matches are back to back they are being treating as one event.

There will be plenty of stewards on hand at the site to assist you should you have any queries on arrival. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

For any queries regarding Showgrounds entrance arrangements, please email: showgrounds.reception@midandeastantrim.gov.uk or telephone: 028 2563 3290

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Premiers 2-0 Club America

Jake Corbett celebrates at the final whistle

For the first time a County Down side will contest the final of the SuperCupNI after John Bailie’s premier team defeated Club America in Thursday night’s semi-final.

The 2-0 win at Riada Stadium sets up a meeting with B Italia at Ballymena Showgrounds on Friday, where Down will look to follow County Antrim’s success of 2017, when they won the junior competition.

In a surprisingly comfortable first half, Down contained Club America to their own half for long periods and first threatened on four minutes when keeper Giovanni had to push a header from Jack Conlon over the crossbar.

Adam Carroll briefly posed a threat, when he beat the America offside trap to direct a header goal-wards, but again the goalkeeper was good for the save.

The opening goal came from the penalty spot, following a needless foul on Ethan Wynne right at the edge of the area. The Bangor man picked himself up to clip the ball in off the post and give his side the advantage at half time.

The expected Club America fightback duly commenced in the second half. Juarez Ramon fired a shot from close to 40 yards not far wide of goal on 43 minutes and then missed a golden chance to level two minutes after when he burst through a gap in the Down defence but again put wide of the goal.

Down’s Adam Carroll got sight the Club America goal on ’55 but his first time effort was off target, while at the other end keeper Dylan Stewart was quickly out to the edge of his area to block the advances of Murillo Paul.

Having survived the onslaught, Down doubled their advantage on 61 minutes. Ruari O’Hare, who had been inspirational at the back, got the goal, putting his head to Mal Smith’s out-swinging free kick to dash the hopes of the Mexicans and seal his team’s spot in the Friday night showpiece.

DOWN: Stewart, Smith, O’Hare, Conlon, Glover, Wynne (Teggart 68), Weatherup, Corbett, Gemmell (McVeigh 70), Dinu (Cushnie 68), Carroll (Ferris 58)

Skipper Jake Corbett prepares for kick-off against Club America

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Friday fixture news (Junior team)

The Junior team will play for 3rd place in the Vase competition on Friday when they meet Charlton Athletic at Parker Avenue, Portrush at 11.00am.

Charlton were beaten 4-0 by Plymouth Argyle in Thursday’s semi-final and suffered a 3-1 loss to Down when the teams met on Monday.

Admission to the match is free, so come along and cheer on our boys in their last outing.

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Juniors 1-2 Chivas Guadalajara

Joshua Archer prepares for the pre match coin toss

There was heartbreak for the Down Juniors in the semi-final of the Vase as Chivas Guadalajara scored deep in injury time to record a 2-1 comeback win.

As the game got underway it was Mexicans Chivas threatened first, when on seven minutes, Bernal got to bye-line and cut the ball back to Sebastian Perez but despite time on his side he couldn’t direct his shot.

A couple of minutes later and an attack from Down saw Owen Madine play in Reece Doyle and the forward opened his body well only to see his shot hit the base of the far post.

Down would take the lead in the last minute of the half. Good work from Bailey Locke played in Matty Lusty and from the left side of the area he skipped inside a defender to place the ball neatly inside the far post.

Gary McAlister’s county team had a great chance to double their lead on 50 minutes when Lusty went clear through the middle. He unselfishly picked out Ben Hollinger but the substitute couldn’t take the shot on first time and the eventual effort hit the side netting.

Six minutes later and Chivas were level when Fernando Virgen got on the end of a ball cut back from the bye-line to tap home from a yard or so in front of goal.

Things got worse for Down when three minutes into stoppage time Chivas grabbed their winner. No-one moved to close down Andrew Puertos and he was able to stretch his legs into the Down area and place a low shot by Ryan Dalzell.

Later still and Down had a glorious chance to send the game to penalties when a free kick into the area from Archer found its way to Oran Magee but he had to watch on as the keeper clawed the ball back just as it was about to cross the goal line.

DOWN: Dalzell, Hopes, Rolleston, Archer, Locke (McDarby 41), Madine, Doyle (Hollinger 49), Lusty (Boyd 53), Magee, Heron, Davidson

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