United U-16s provide weekend highlight for Youth Academy

William McCaughey, from Kells & Connor Pharmacy, presents a first aid kit for Ballymena United under-11s to players Noah Scullion and Mark McClean and coach John McClean.

William McCaughey, from Kells & Connor Pharmacy, presents a first aid kit for Ballymena United under-11s to players Noah Scullion and Mark McClean and coach John McClean.

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Ballymena United youth sides had a quiet weekend, the u17’s were in action on Friday at Cookstown and were unlucky in a narrow loss.

The under 16’s provided the weekend highlight with a great team performance against Glentoran at the Showgrounds on Saturday morning.

Goals from Ronnie Marshall and Callum Smyth were enough to see them home in a confident display.

The under 13’s suffered defeat to a top of the table Glentoran side at Smithfield while again there were some excellent performance from the Academy’s junior side in the Coleraine and North West League and Lisburn league respectively.

The junior section of the club is truly thriving at present which bodes well for the future as these young players begin their progression up through the club. At under 8, under 9 and 10 the implementation of the Coerver coaching techniques have been enjoyed by players and coaches alike as the children improve their technical skills and speed with twice weekly regular sessions.

UNDER-11

BUYA 4, Greenisland 6: A good performance from the boys here in the quarter final of the shield against a very good Greenisland side. Goals came from Mark McClean, Matthew Millar, Joshua Stewart and Peter Martin. Ahead on one occasion the boys were pinned back, however the most important fact here was the quality of football from both teams which was outstanding at times. United under 11’S are sponsored by EVENTSEC.

UNDER-12

BUYA 4, Banbridge 4: Mark Lowry put the sky blues in front with a towering header. Joshua Balmer was cool under pressure and quick footed, scored two excellent goals before Lowry scored the goal of the game with a long range left footed strike. United keeper Ryan McGrath produced some quality saves throughout the game.

UNDER-16

Ballymena United 2, Glentoran 0: A much improved performance from United with a welcome clean sheet against a top side.

The play was fast and furious at times on the sodden Showgrounds surface, again United looked most dangerous when they kept the ball on the ground and tried to play some passing football. At the back a new look back four did well on the day, pick of the bunch was man of the match Callum Ross who had an excellent game at right back.

A brave and assured display from goalkeeper Josh Mark in the wet conditions was the base United built on and the goals followed, a long range strike from Ronnie Marshall and a deserved effort for left back Callum Smyth who was confident throughout. United will focus on the positives from this impressive win and move forward.

UNDER-17

Cookstown 2, Ballymena United 1: Ballymena travelled to Cookstown and were defeated 2-1 in a tight game. Both keepers kept their teams in the game before Cookstown took the lead in the 2nd half. Michael McCabe hit the post before Cookstown doubled their lead. Ballymena pulled a goal back through Philip Maybin after good work from Zack Herbinson.