Year 12 ‘draw’ comfort from Academy match – Wednesday 16th November

Chris Jamieson’s men came up against a highly fancied Ballymena Academy team in a great game at the now ‘fortress’ pitch at Cullybackey. A great game ebbed and flowed from the start to the finish, and in the end, a 2-2 draw was probably a fair outcome. Despite being a ‘friendly’ game, bragging rights were up for grabs against our local rivals, and this showed in the rivalry shown throughout the game. praise was heaped on every single player by Mr Cowan, a sublime performance of speed, effort, conduct and a will to win, something missing from their locker room in previous games. Academy took the lead through a soft free kick, slipping past the defence and past ‘keeper Denver Thompson to leave the boys deflated at half time. More of the same was required in the second half of the game, with Matthew Kirk revelling in his new attacking role, combining well with Robbie McGaughey to force a brilliant equaliser. A bit of fortune for the Academy saw them retake the lead as things hotted up in the middle of the pitch. Scott Marcus and James Henry were pivotal in everything good about Cullybackey, whilst the defence of Bell, Mitchell, McNabney, McAuley and Balmer stood firm to any attack thrown at them. However, it was super-sub Peter Moore who drew the teams level with just four minutes to go, turning on a six pence and rifling a terrific strike into the roof of the net to snatch a 2-2 draw!Man of the Match: Matthew Kirk.

Year 12s suffer heartbreaking defeat – Thursday 6th October

The Year 12 football team played out their Mid Antrim Cup quarter final tie in determined fashion against cup holders Dunclug College, eventually bowing out by four goals to one. It was an entertaining affair for Christopher Jamison’s men, holding back Dunclug until the fifteenth minute before they secured their first goal after terrific midfield play led in a great ball for the nippy left winger. One became two straight after, in similar style, with Cullybackey struggling to create many clear cut opportunities. However the boys dug deep with josh Mitchell and Daniel Bell in particular grinding their forwards down, minimising chances for the home team. Robbie McGaughey, buoyed by his SPOTY award earlier in the year, rattled the cross bar as he attempted to claw one back before the break. Unfortunately Dunclug made it three shortly before half time, again in similar fashion, goalkeeper Denver Thompson being beaten once again by a terrific piece of attacking play.

The message was clear in the second half, maintain our discipline and work rate and we will gain something from the second half. This they did and despite going four nil down they kept plugging away and after some neat play by Scott Marcus on the right, Matthew Kirk was on hand to secure the consolation goal their play deserved.  A remarkable performance, one  of the best Mr Cowan has seen from his side in their five years together. Despite the result, the work rate, discipline and respect shown by the Cullybackey boys will be very hard to beat in the future. Man of the match: Scott Marcus.