Two United Youth Academy sides book places in Plate semi-finals

Ballymena's Luke Stockman controls the ball in the air. INBT15-229AC
Ballymena's Luke Stockman controls the ball in the air. INBT15-229AC

It proved to be another productive weekend at the Showgrounds for the younger Ballymena United Youth Academy sides.

The under 13 who clinched, promotion last Saturday, booked their place in the semi finals of the NI plate with a hard fought win at Seaview over Crusaders.

Ben Stirling passes the ball up to a Ballymena Youth team mate. INBT15-231AC

Ben Stirling passes the ball up to a Ballymena Youth team mate. INBT15-231AC

They will be joined in semi’s by the under 16’s who were involved in a thriller themselves at the Showgrounds, triumphing 5-4 eventually over a good Bertie Peacock side.

The United under 15’s are already through to the National plate semi’s and they were in league action against Institute, running up a comfortable victory on their travels.

A reduced fixture list in the National league saw Ballymena United under 17’s lose out narrowly to St Oliver Plunketts on Friday night, also on the 3G.

UNDER-13

Crusaders 2, BUYA 3: Ballymena 13s travelled to Seaview to play Crusaders in the plate on Saturday and both sides played some very attractive football with the game flowing well.

Ballymena had created some clear cut chances but it was the Crues who opened the scoring just before half time.

The Sky Blues did not panic and kept the ball moving and their persistance paid off as after good work on the right hand side the ball was worked to Lewis Mearns who shrugged off the challenge to equalise.

Ballymena started to over power the home side and Max Davidson followed up from close range to give the visitors the lead.

And again after a well worked move on the right the ball was slipped to Max Davidson who found the top corner from the edge of the box with a smashing finish.

The Crues got one back to make it an exciting finish but Ballymena ran out 3-2 winners.

UNDER-15

Institute 0, BUYA 6: United travelled to Greysteel for this fixture and had enough in their locker to see off the Londonderry boys.

Padraig Slane was again United’s danger man on the day, put through with a lovely ball from Stephen McColgan, it was quality dinked finish from the left winger sending the Skies ahead.

The bustling Andrew Smith got on the scoresheet once more with a tidy left foot volley before a quickfire second made it 14 for the season for the United frontman.

A quick free kick from from Josh Galloway set Callum Ross free and he carried the ball before unleashing a 25 yard special to send the Skies four up before the break.

United were most dangerous on the flanks with Andrew Kyle impressing on the right to counter Slane on the left as they continued to press.

Slane again made a jinking run before hammering home for number five.

There was still time for substitutes Ethan McKeown and Jack Millar to combine well, McKeown stroking home with a cultured finish and a late wonder save from Euan McLaughlin in the United goal to keep the clean sheet.

OTHER RESULTS

Ballymena United U-16 5, Bertie Peacock 4; Ballymena United U-17 1, St Oliver Plunkett 3.

QATAR TRIP FOR SEAN

Qatar has been headline news lately with the planned 2022 winter World Cup, long before that however Ballymena United Youth Academy starlet Sean McAllister will be heading to the Arab state this week after his call up to international 2002 squad.

Sean has been a stand out player for the under 12 and under 13 squads at the Showgrounds this season and his call up comes as recognition of his talent and the hard work he has put in over the seasons.

Along with other local lads Conor Friel and Cameron Stewart, it is a superb achievement to have three boys in the NI international squad.