Cullybackey College Year 8 footballers produced a blistering performance to overcome Priory College from Holywood to progress to the NI Under 12 Plate semi-final. It was a fast start from both sides with neither team giving an inch in the opening ten minutes. Bailie King-Hay was vital in defence as he made some great interventions to prevent Priory from taking the lead. Isaac Wylie soon found his extra gears, firing in some terrific free kicks from both flanks, one of which Nicholl got on the end of but was disallowed due to an infringement on the goalkeeper. This seemed to rally the boys on and it wasn’t too long before they got the break through, Wylie striking home a blistering shot which gave the keeper no chance. It was soon 2-0 with McGaughey on the wing, twisting and turning at every opportunity. He eventually got his reward with a close range finish.
This was followed up by a wicked deflection from a Wylie free kick to send Cullybackey into the half time break three goals up. Soon after half time a poor challenge from Samuel Hanna gave Priory a lifeline from the penalty spot, giving Bryce King-Hay no chance in goal. Hard work from Aitchison, Rock, Nicholl and Wylie in midfield carved the red defence open and it was that man Joel Aitchison who whipped home a twenty-five-yard screamer to provide the three goal cushion again – Joel is becoming renowned for these long range strikes this year.
Four became five as Harvey Shaw scored his first ever goal for the school, nipping in front of the goalkeeper to the delight of his teammates. Aitchison set up McGaughey for his second to wrap up a fine 6-1 victory. This paved the way for squad rotation in the second half, giving the likes of Charlie Williamson and Jamie Walker some pitch time. Man of the Match was Bailie King-Hay who was a man mountain alongside Daniel Lowry in defence. Well done everyone! Onwards and upwards to the semi-finals.