Clifford Adams believes his Ballymena United youth team will relish their appearance in next month’s IFA Harry Cavan Youth Cup final.
The SKy Blues booked their place in the prestigious decider last week with a last-gasp 3-2 win over St Oliver Plunkett in the semi-final at Seaview.
Stewart Nixon’s late goal, which bounced wickedly to deceive the Plunkett keeper, was enough to take United through, after an earlier own goal and a Leon Bonnes header.
On the full time whistle their was a massive sign of relief,jubilation as this group who commit three nights a week to their training got their just rewards on getting through this tricky fixture.
“Everyone connected to the club had sent their best wishes,” explained Clifford.
“It was also a nice gesture from Lee Doherty and club captain Jim Ervin coming in a giving the lads a quick pep talk before the game.
“All the staff and players would openly like to thank everyone for their support, hopefully all the supporters can come out in force on March 18 and drive the young lads over the finish line to try and bring this trophy back for only the second time in the club’s history.
“The lads were obviously delighted at reaching the final but we’re disappointed with the team performance as they only showed about 50 per cent of how they usually play,” added Cliffy.
Meanwhile, it was back to Seaview on Saturday morning for the United side as they took on Crusaders - their opponents in the Harry Cavan final - and drew 1-1 in a league game.
The first goal came against the run of play where Ballymena were getting a foothold in the game and Crusaders were awarded a penalty giving the keeper no chance.
The sky blues bounced back almost immediately when Corry whipped in a free kick and striker Woods placed a header into the corner of the net giving the keeper no chance.
Nixon was unlucky to see his well struck penalty come off the base of the post on the 73rd minute after Corry was fouled in the box.
On the 89th minute Josh McCready saw his well struck free kick cannon off the crossbar in the last kick of the game.
A big well done to Thomas Campbell , Bradley Cairns and Jack Walshe who made their youth team debuts. All three players are still eligible for under 17 football.
United U-19: McCauley. McCracken. J.Campbell. T.Campbell. Corry. Bonnes. Logan. D.Woods. Cairns. Nixon. Dobbin