A national final and an incredible Friday night match were the talking points in an incident packed weekend at Ballymena United Youth Academy.
The under 11s, complete with a busload of supporters, rolled into Dungannon for their National Plate semi versus Ballinamallard.
The lads didn’t disappoint with a 4-1 victory seeing the sky blues through to the May bank holiday finale.
Another memorable day for this talented group under the tutorship of Jonny Hume and John McClean. A great day was completed as the whole party stayed on for the senior win.
Another big crowd and another memorable game,an incredible game at Crumlin on Friday night as United 17s lost out in dramatic fashion to Linfield in their Blue Riband NIBFA cup semi final.Ahead at 2-0,3-1 and 4-3,the gallant skies were pegged back by the Blues who have swept all before them this season.Not so the Braid lads as an epic tussle stretched to extra time were the dark blues finally prevailed 6-4 against a United who played out of their skins.
Ballinamallard u11 1, BUYA u11 4: United went ahead with a superb volley from Mark McClean, with his back to goal and the same player doubled United’s lead.
Ballinamallard scored from a free kick just before half-time but United added two more goals in anssured second half display.
BUYA U-12 4, TTBS U-12 2: United went in front from Mark Lowry’s 30 yard effort, quickly followed by a second from Joshua Balmer.
TTBS got the score back to 2-2 before Harry Foster scored directly from a corner before the same player wrapped up the win.
Ballinamallard U-13 0, BUYA U-13 3: Taylor Adger sent United ahead racing down the left before finishing well, while Bradley McCartney was also back to his best form, scoring twice with cool finishes. Keeper Josh Kirkpatrick also impressed, making three saves in one-on-one situations.
Ballymena United U-17 4, Linfield U-17 6: In an enthralling cup semi-final, Ballymena took the lead when Philip Maybin played Adam McClelland in and he shot past the keeper and the same two players combined again for the second, Maybin on target this time, before Linfield pulled a goal back.
Adam scored his second to make it 3-1 at the break but again Linfield came back to level at 3-3.
Ballymena restored their lead on the break through Philip Maybin only fr the Blues to force the tie to extra time.
There, Linfield scored twice to eventually break United hearts after an amazing match.
To their credit Ballymena kept going and they had chances through Jack Walshe, Michael McCabe and Jamie Houston.
As United pushed, Owen Best made some excellent saves at the other end.
An excellent performance by the lads against one of the top sides in their age group.