Encouraging early season signs for table-topping United U-16s

Ballymena U-16 and a Sion Swifts player chase the ball during their match. INBT44-217AC
Ballymena U-16 and a Sion Swifts player chase the ball during their match. INBT44-217AC

Ballymena United under 16s are the youngest age group the senior club oversees at the Showgrounds and have attracted some of the best local young talent back to the parent club this season.

An impressive campaign continued on Saturday with another win over Strabane outfit Sion and the United boys now top their Subway National league table.

This Ballymena U-16 player comes under pressure from his Sion Swifts opponent. INBT44-218AC

This Ballymena U-16 player comes under pressure from his Sion Swifts opponent. INBT44-218AC

Elsewhere the 12’s continue to develop their game and put in a great display at Wakehurst against Glenavon, prior to the senior game.

Senior chairman John Taggart was a keen supporter at both games reaffirming the parent club’s commitment to the youth coming up through the ranks.

The 13s had a seven goal salvo in Cookstown while the 14s and 15s had no game, the under 14’s facing Glentoran at the Showgrounds this Wednesday evening.

UNDER-10

Down at Ballysally the under 10 sides from the Sky Blues and neighbours Carniny Youth and Amateurs met.

The United Academy side were victorious in the first game by the odd goal (6-5) while the Reds were victorious in the match between the second sides.

UNDER-11

The group continues to move forward at this age level where the Academy instils that improved peformances are more important than any scoreline.

The under 11s turned in their best display of the season against Portrush on Saturday where a comprehensive display where fast flowing one touch incisive passing was the order of the day.

The effort in training was transferred seamlessly to a match situation and the level of performance was beyond their years. Goals from Adam Millar 2, Adam Watterson 2, Lewis Tennant, Joe Blair and goal a game Mark Lowry. MOM - Adam Watterson.

UNDER-12

Another age group where the coaching staff measure the improvement of the group on performance levels weekly in the u12 development Subway National League.

The boys were excellent against Glenavon on super surface at Wakehurst where highlights include a double goal display from Robbie Gilchrist, back to his best form again. A practised training ground move led to a lovely cross by Blake Douglas finished tidily by Seanie Macintosh.

UNDER-13

Cookstown 1, BUYA 7: With the game being played on an excellent surface at Mid Ulster Sports Arena the sky blues took the game to the home team and the prolific Lewis Mearns scored twice early on, the second a delightful chipped finish.

The third came just before half time following good work by Ross McCausland on the right his cross found Max Davidson who headed home.

The second half followed a similar pattern and following some neat passing the ball was squared to the returning from injury Bobby Rainey who finished well in the box.

A move started by Matthew Lorimer was then finished by the same player as he arrived into the box and with a superb finish put the ball past the keeper.

Cookstown pulled a goal back but then after Bradley McCartney was put through on goal he beat two defenders before finding the corner of the net. The scoring was completed by Bobby Rainey when slipped through finished in style.

UNDER-16

Ballymena United 3, Sion 2: Ballymena took the lead when Jack Walshe brought the ball clear and cleverly lobbed the advancing goalkeeper.

Sion equalised but Ballymena regained the lead when Walshe headed home a Michael McCabe cross from the left.

Antrim boy Walshe completed his superb first period hat-trick when he was put through on goal by a clever pass from Adam McCelland. Both teams created chances in the second half and Sion scored near the end the end to set up a tense finish but Ballymena held on to win.