ON Saturday past eight U-14 team from East Down served up a great day of football at the Gerry Curran Memorial Tournament.
The day started with two groups of four battling it out to make the Cup and shield semi-finals, In Group A, a fancied Carryduff made the earlier running with three victories while Saul looked equally impressive, leaving Ardglass and Kilcoo to battle it out for the Shield semi-final positions. While over in-group B, the RGU and Bryansford qualified for the Cup semi-finals leaving Kilclief and Castlewellan to enter the Shield.
The first Cup semi-final saw a shock as early favourites Carryduff where undone by a fantastic display of team work and point scoring by an improving the RGU side. The second semi final between Saul and Bryansford was a tense encounter with the Saul boys emerging victorious with a dramatic last minute goal to set up a Derby encounter with neighbours Saul.
The Shield semi-final were also to provide great drama as hosts Ardglass battled it out with Castlewellan, in an end to end game the lead changed hands on numerous occasions and it was no surprise it ended in a draw at full time, the drama continued into extra time as again each time a team took a lead it was immediately levelled by the opposition, however, in the second period of extra time Castlewellan pipped Ardglass to the post with a one point victory. The other semi-final saw Kilclief turned on the style and ran out winners against Kilcoo
The shield final was won by Kilclief who had been steadily improving with each game throughout the tournament and served up a fine display of attacking football mixed with resolute defending to overcome a Castlewellan side who seemed to have tired considerably after their semi final efforts
The cup final was a thrilling encounter and encapsulated everything that is good about U-14 football; there was fast paced skilful attacking aligned to dogged defending. Both sets of players gave their all with RGU dominating the first half. Saul clawed their way back into contention in the second period to claim a draw. Extra time was a tense affair with Saul coming from behind again to clinch victory with two goals in the second period of extra time.
Thanks to Councillor Dermot Curran who presented the new Gerry Curran Cup and Shield to the Saul and Kilclief captains, in memory of his late brother. And a special thanks also to referees, Mickey Curran and Aidy Sharvin and those committee members who helped out on the day.