North Antrim Schools' Cup Final
Cullybackey College 2 v 1 Dunclug
Cullybackey Year 8 team rounded off an excellent year with a 2-1 win over Dunclug in the North Antrim School's Cup Final. It was an end to end nail-biting encounter, which could have gone either way. Cameron McMullan gave Cullybackey a second half lead, with a thunderbolt of a strike from all of 35 yards. Dunclug made a strong comeback and got their deserved equaliser, 10 minutes before the end of normal time. As the game was closing to an end, both teams went in search of the winner and but for the heroics of Ben McCauley in the Cullybackey net, Dunclug would have left victorious. In the end it was a magnificent Kaeden Anderson strike that gave the Cullybackey boys the win. Ben Shaw worked hard to put pressure on the Dunclug defence and after a neat run Anderson was able to finish the game. Cullybackey again had keeper McCauley to thank as well as Jack Wilson for some last ditch defending to keep Dunclug out. A fine win that was epitomised by the hard work put in by all players on both sides.
Dunclug - Thursday 29th September
Cullybackey College 3 v 2 Dunclug
Cullybackey College's Year 8 team had a tough opening fixture against a strong Dunclug side, in tough weather conditions. It was the Pottinger Street men who started the brightest and after a number of squandered opportunities, they eventually broke the deadlock through a fine finish from the hardworking wide man Kaeden Anderson. It was soon 2-0, when a thunderbolt of a strike from Ashton Thompson fired into the top corner from 20 yards out, an early contender for Goal of the Season!! Storm Reynold made it 3-0, with another skilful finish, that was well deserved after some excellent play by the diminutive midfield dynamo.
At the back, the outstanding Charlie Glass, was keeping things tight alongside defensive partner Jack Wilson, however, Dunclug did pull a goal back against the run of play. As the wind got stronger and the rain heavier, conditions became tough for both sides but it was Dunclug who benefited from the weather conditions and netted a second to make it 3-2. It was nervous times for the Cullybackey boys' and but for an excellent diving save from Ben McAuley, they could have found themselves all square.
It was becoming a real battle and Lewis Tennant and Captain Cammy McMullan showed they were up for the battle, as they continued to dominate the middle of the park. In final seconds of the game however, Dunclug were awarded a penalty after a forward was brought down in the box. To the delight of the Cullybackey team, the Dunclug forward blasted the ball over the bar from the spot.To continue this good run the boys know they must to come to training on Tuesday after school 3:30-4:15pm to develop even further, as they push for the league crown.
Slemish - Monday 26th September
Cullybackey College 5 v 1 Slemish
Another excellent performance ensured the Year 8 team came out 5-1 winners against a hardworking Slemish College side. After a tight opening 10 minutes Lewis Tennant broke the dead lock with a superb strike from outside the box. Lewis was unlucky not to add to his tally as his rasping 25yard pile driver crashed off the inside of the post and ran to safety. Lewis wasn't to be denied a second of the game as his next effort glance off the underside of the bar before finding its way in. Gavin Arbuthnot finished off a neat move to grab a third goal for the Pottinger Street men just before the half time whistle.
The second half was a much closer affair and it wasn't until 10 minutes from time that Cammy McMullan added a fourth from distance after surging forward from midfield. At the other end Charlie Glass gave his consistent solid performance defending anything that came his way. Ben Mcaukey also had to stay on his toes and make two point blank saves to force corners for Slemish College. As the game was nearing the end McMullan grabbed a second goal which was a carbon copy of the first, a long driving run before a sweet strike. Slemish did manage a consolation although this was not enough to stop the Cullybackey boys going top of the league.
St Joseph's (Tuesday 15th October)
On Tuesday 15th October the Year 8 Football Team travelled to St Joseph's for their first competitive match. Goals came, one in each half, from Matthew Swan and Thomas McAuley to earn a 2-0 victory. Well done boys.
Ballycastle High School (Friday 16th November)
Ballycastle High School 4
Cullybackey High School 2
Limavady High School (Friday 9th November)
Under 12's defeated by Limavady HS
The Under 12 football team played their first Coleraine and District league game on Friday 9th November against Limavady High School. Despite missing a couple of players, the home team made a strong start but quickly found themselves two nil down after only seven minutes. Despite this set back the boys kept working hard and created some good chances of their own. Newly appointed captain Scott Marcus was at the heart of everything for Cullybackey and despite losing another goal after twenty minutes, the captain continued to rally his team as best he could. Dylan Arbuthnot made a number of crucial saves against an impressive Limavady side, whilst Matthew Kirk and Joshua Mitchell combined well in their central defensive roles. Cullybackey received a blow when Robbie McCaughey injured his hamstring, but the continued efforts of the team kept the team spirit high despite conceding further goals. The team can take consolation from the fact that they had a number of friendly games postponed before half term, and hopefully now the team can kick on, learn from this game and compete better away to Ballycastle this Friday. The man of the match was captain Scott Marcus.
Squad: Dylan Arbuthnot, Joshua Mitchell, Ryan Hillis, Richard McNabney, Matthew Kirk, Scott Marcus (c), Chris Jamison, Herbie Balmer, Ryan McConnell, Robbie McGaughey, James Henry, Neil McAllister, Peter Moore, Scott McFadden, Matthew da Mata.
Ballymoney High School (Friday 28th September)
Cullybackey High School 1
Ballymoney High School 4
This was the first time the full squad got together as a team and they were given a quick footballing lesson by a slick Ballymoney side in the first half. Cullybackey found themselves three goals down by halftime and only for the heroics of Dylan Arbuthnot in goals it could have been a wider margin.
A few half time positional and tactical changes allowed the home side to play better football and it wasn't before long that the boys started to create chances. Ryan McConnell excelled on the right wing and it was Ryan who found the net first in the second half, only to be denied through an off side decision. Matthew Kirk, Scott Marcus and Joshua Mitchell all performed admirably and the team soon found their reward when Matthew Da Mata latched on to a great pass from Chrissie Jamison to score Cullybackey's only goal of the game.
Despite being defeated 4-1, this was great preparation for the boys as they continue to prepare for their upcoming league games. Training continues for both Year 8 and 9 on Tuesdays after school.
McKinney Cup Final: Limavady High School (Tuesday 6th December)
Cullybackey High School 1
Limavady High School 1
(Limavady won 4-2 on penalties)
This was an excellent first season for the Under 12s. Coming from a wide range of different primary schools, the boys quickly became a very solid unit. Going into the last league game they had scored 23 goals, conceding only 3 and gaining maximum points.
However, an 'off-day' at Ballymena Showgrounds resulted in a 4-1 home defeat by Limavady High in the final league game of the season. This resulted in an opportunity to make amends as we were now in the McKinney Cup Final to be played at Dalriada Playing Fields in Ballymoney on 6th Dec.
Now that we knew Limavady High Schools' style of play it would be much easier to plan our strategy. On the day, everything was going to plan. Goalkeeper Mark Wilkinson had saved a penalty and the rest of the defence consisting of Jordan Savage, Ronnie Marshall, Matthew McAllister and Sam Hutchinson had managed to keep Limavady's chances to a minimum.
The midfield of Gareth Downey (standing in for the injured Lloyd Da Mata), Thomas Campbell and Jack McCracken were holding their own against strong opposition and forwards Bailie Young, Chris Moore and George Harpur were causing their opponents problems especially when Young used his pace down the right flank. Just after half-time Harpur sustained an injury and was replaced by Robbie Bamber
Going into the final minute we were leading 1-0 thanks to a Thomas Campbell goal. In fact we had failed to put the result beyond doubt when we missed several clear-cut chances in front of goal. Could we cause an upset?
With seconds left Limavady broke down the right and three tackles later they had still managed to keep possession. A shot then came in from an acute angle, took a deflection and, despite a valiant Wilkinson effort to keep it out, the ball nestled in the back of the net to take the game to penalties.
But fate was against us. The first fiercely hit spot-kick hit Mark in the face knocking him into the goal - along with the ball. Then the pressure told and we missed penalties of our own. The result? A 4-2 defeat.
However, in spite of the disappointment of losing the final I think all the boys would say that they enjoyed their football this year – and remember lads………. there's always next season.
Mr J Kelso
Limavady High School (Friday 2nd December)
Cullybackey High School 1
Limavady High School 4
St Joseph's (Tuesday 16th November)
Cullybackey High School 10
St Joseph's 0
North Coast Integrated College (Tuesday 25th October)
North Coast Integrated College 0
Cullybackey High School 5
Magherafelt High (Tuesday 18th October)
Magherafelt High 0
Cullybackey High School 4
Dominican College (Thursday 13th October)
Dominican College 3
Cullybackey High School 4
Ballymoney High School (Friday 30th September)
Ballymoney High School 3
Cullybackey High School 5
Magherafelt High School (Friday 19th November)
Magherafelt High School 2
Cullybackey High School 6
Coleraine College (Friday 12th November)
Cullybackey High School 5
Coleraine College 1
St. Joseph's (Wednesday 10th November)
Cullybackey High School 1
St Joseph's 5
UNDER 12s MAKE IT TWO OUT OF TWO AT THE SEASIDE
Cullybackey High School Under 12s had the pleasure of spending Wednesday afternoon (3rd Nov.) in Portstewart.
However, visiting the beach and sunbathing were the last things on the players' minds as they were in the seaside town to play Dominican College in their second match in the Coleraine and District Football League.
Having won their first match away to Ballymoney High (2-0) the trip home turned out to be a pleasant one as the local lads ran out narrow winners in a tense 11-goal thriller.
In a hard fought and evenly matched game, played at The Warren – a ground graced by many a Premiership player when they appeared in the Milk Cup – Cullybackey were the first to score when, midway through the first half. Jason Selfridge crossed for Camryn Millar to finish well from close range.
The home side then levelled the score following slack play in the Cullybackey defence, and took the lead when, following a corner, a home player poked the ball past Ricky Rae at the far post.
Cullybackey were only behind for five minutes. It was midfielder Ryan McMullan who surprised everyone, including himself, when he swung at a clearance twenty yards out and watched as his firmly struck low drive levelled the score. Before half-time however, Dominican struck again to give them a 3-2 advantage at the break.
The second half saw Dominican start strongly and their pressure paid off when they scored again to give them a 4-2 lead with 15 minutes left on the clock.
Even though most of the goals conceded had been the result of silly mistakes, the character of a team is often shown by how they react when their backs are against the wall. This was where Cullybackey showed their determination.
Mr. Kelso replaced Jason Selfridge with Andrew Milligan who broke from right midfield to supply Camryn Millar with several chances.
The back four of full-backs Matthew Michael and Jordan Henry along with centre-backs Ian Mills and Joe McAllister now settled to keep the home side at bay and within ten minutes the deficit had been wiped out.
It was Kyle Kenny who scored the goal of the game when he finished high into the top corner after outpacing three defenders on the left. Then, with his second goal of the game, Millar levelled the score again good work by Blair and Stirling to set the game up for a tight finish.
With only five minutes remaining Stirling scored from close in and then Millar completed his hat-trick to give his side a two-goal advantage in added time. The scoring wasn't over yet, however, as the home side scored in the dying seconds to end a high-scoring encounter between two determined teams.
Having taken maximum points from their two opening away games Cullybackey can now look forward to home matches against St. Joseph's (Nov. 10) and Coleraine College (Nov. 12) at Ballymena Showgrounds before travelling to Magherafelt for their final game on 19th November.
Cullybackey Team: R. Rae, M. Michael, J. McAllister, I. Mills , J. Henry, B. Stirling, C. Blair, R. McMullan, J. Selfridge, C. Millar, K. Kenny. Subs: A. Milligan, R. Mills.
Dominican College 5
Cullybackey High 6
UNDER 12s CONTINUE WINNING START
Cullybackey High Under 12 team travelled to North Coast Integrated on Tuesday 19th October and came away with a 2-0 victory in the Coleraine and District League McKinney Cup, Section 2.
The game began with the home side having the best of the play and, at this point, it looked like we could be in for a hard game. However, ten minutes later we had settled in, nerves were gone and we'd begun to play some attractive one-touch football.
Jordan Henry, Simon Evans and Ian Mills were proving solid in defence and Ryan Mills was coping with a lively right winger. But it was the home side that were first to create an opening, with the ball rolling just wide of the post as Goalkeeper Ricky Rae came off his line to force the striker into an early shot.
Cullybackey responded with Ben Stirling going one-on-one with the local 'Keeper. However, the home lad was in fine form, diving low to push Stirling's well-placed shot round the post. He did the same again a few minutes later when he foiled Camryn Millar whose pace was causing problems for the home side.
In spite of lots of hard work being put in by Kyle Kenny and Jason Selfridge who set up several chances from the flanks, they were not converted leaving the half-time score N. Coast Int. 0-0 Cullybackey.
The second period began where the first had left off with Cullybackey pressing hard on the N. Coast goal but failing to get the vital last touch to score. The home side could have made Cullybackey pay for their bad finishing but their forwards were having similar difficulties.
It was now that Andy Milligan and Charlie Blair started to take control in midfield and found the space to support the front men. From one of these forays forward - halfway through the second half - Milligan blasted the ball into the roof of the net from close range when the home defence was in turmoil, failing to clear after good work by Stirling and Millar.
A few minutes later the destination of the points was no longer in doubt when Millar pounced to score from inside the box with 10 minutes still to go. Mr. Kelso then brought on Matthew Michael and Joe McAllister for Ryan Mills and Charlie Blair to strengthen the defence in preparation for a final push from the home side.
In spite of creating one or two half-chances N. Coast failed to reduce the deficit leaving Cullybackey High to celebrate the school's second successive victory in their first season in the Coleraine and District League.
North Coast Integrated 0
Cullybackey High 2 (Milligan, Millar)