The final balls have now been kicked in the 2019 STATSport SuperCup NI tournament and what a week it was for County Down, with the highs of fantastic wins, to the lows of losing on kicks from the penalty mark.
In the opening fixtures on the Monday, John Bailie’s Premier boys impressed many with their determination to hold out for a scoreless draw against Right to Dream, who were to go on to finish third in the overall tournament. There was less joy for the Juniors, who suffered a 2-0 defeat to O’Higgins at Coleraine Showgrounds.
There was further elation for the Premiers against Atlante on the Tuesday, with a penalty enough to separate them from Mexican side in a 1-0 win, however there was disbelief for the Juniors, as they fell to a 4-1 loss against Global Premier Soccer, despite having the better of the play.
In the final qualifying games the Premiers were able to hold off late pressure from Japanese side Riseisha HS to hang on for a 2-1 victory, while there was finally jubilation for Gary McAlister’s squad, as they demolished Strikers 3-0.
A record of two wins and one draw saw the Premiers compete for the Globe, only to experience agony as NC Elite held their nerve to win on kicks from the penalty mark, following a 1-1 draw after normal time. With only a 3rd/4th position to play for on the Friday, tiredness began to take its toll, with the boys falling to a 3-2 defeat against County Tyrone.
The Juniors were offered the opportunity to overturn their earlier defeat against Global Premier Soccer, with the sides again facing each other in the semi-final of the Bowl. With the scores level at full time, there were further kicks from the penalty mark, with Down going on to win 5-3.
Unfortunately the kicks from the penalty mark were to be their downfall in the final, with Manchester United lifting the trophy after a 2-2 draw at the end of normal time.
Everyone at County Down expressed their wish to thank all those who took part in the trials and the parents who gave up their spare time to attend, as well as offer their encouragement.
In addition, they offered a massive thank you to all their sponsors, as without their support the boys simply would not have been able to compete in the tournament.
Individual Down Awards
Down Junior Players of the Tournament – Scott Rolleston and Dylan Sloan
Down Junior Top Goalscorers – Aaron Wightman and Patrick Shearer-
Nevin Spence Cup – Harry Wilson
Down Premier Player of the Tournament – Kristopher Cowan
Down Premier Goal of the Tournament – Conall Murray
McCloskey Cup – Ryan Dalzell