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Cup Final Success for U15's

Banbridge and Portadown were crowned Ulster Under 15 boys and girls champions respectively after two exciting finals at Stormont last weekend.

Bann defeated South Antrim 3-0 in the boys decider and the Ports were 2-0 winners over Mossley in the girls decider. With both the boys teams having overcome stiff semi-final opponents it geared up to be a thrilling encounter in the beautiful sunshine.

The game started at a high pace with chances coming thick and fast for Banbridge. Moving the ball well out wide and coming into the circle they created several clear chances only for the South keeper, Ben Cooke, to thwart every one. 

Eventually their persistence paid off and Bann took the lead going into half time when Chris Curry broke the deadlock. The start of the second half started in much of the same vein as the first as Bann pushed forward even with only 10 boys on the pitch and scored two goals in quick concession. 

Cody Large and team captain Eddie Rowe got the goals that killed the game off although South Antrim, did come back into it with chances to pull a goal back through two late penalty short corners. However, the young men from Havelock Park brought back the cup and the title of Ulster U15 Cup Champions 2018.

Bann coach Scott McCandless said: "An increasing number of clubs seem to be putting more effort into the youth at U15 level."

"It was a  great competition throughout with many strong and competitive teams taking part which was great to see."

The final of the U15 Girls cup saw a much fancied Portadown side take on a young Mossley team.  Obviously the Mossley players didn’t read the script as they came out of the blocks at a blistering pace and set up two golden chances to take the lead with terrific work from Megan Warke and Emma Uprichard. 

Bit those scares gave Portadown a wake-up call and soon they started moving the ball around nicely through Lucy Craig and Amy Black. The first half ended 0 – 0 and was a true advertisement of how good youth hockey is in Ulster and gave the crowd a fantastic spectacle in the beautiful weather.

Going into the second half Portadown began to take control of the match and it wasn’t long before they grabbed the initiative through Amy Black, who scored the opener. The game opened up after this and it wasn’t long before Jodie Simmons brought the ball into the circle and hit a fantastic reverse shot into the roof of the net to clinch the win. 

Ulster Hockey youth development officer Andrew Brown said: "Thank you to everyone for coming down and cheering on the teams, to the coaches, players and umpires for a great day of youth hockey."

This Saturday at Stormont sees the U15 Plate final between Ards and Ballymoney (11.30am) followed by the U15 Performance league final between Pegasus and either Portadown or Rainey (1pm).

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