Ballyclare Secondary School’s Year 11 football team are through to Wednesday’s final of the East Antrim Schools’ Cup, where they will face Glengormley High School at Seaview.
The team has enjoyed a tremendous season on their way to the final , defeating Ashfield Boys’ School 4-0 in the first round with Jason Cowan (two), Ryan Caulfield and Lloyd Anderson finding the net.
In the quarter-finals Ballyclare goals from Ryan Barnett (two) and Cowan saw the team fight back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 and force a replay with Parkhall College. Ballyclare were comfortable 2-0 winners in the second match, with Barnett and Caulfied on target.
In the semi-final they faced the much-fancied St Killian’s College and won 4-2 in what was another clinical performance. Strikes from Cowan, Anderson and a Ross Clarke penalty clinched the win.
Outstanding performers have included captain Ryan Caulfield, vice-captain Ross Clarke, Jason Cowan, Dale McCreery and Lloyd Anderson.
Teacher Mr Cowden said:“The boys have played extremely well all year and thoroughly deserve their place in the final. I’m absolutely delighted they now have the chance to represent their school and community in the final. It promises to be a fantastic occasion for the boys.”
He added: “We are hoping to take a number of buses of supporters to the game to allow our pupils to cheer on the team and to celebrate the school’s success in reaching the final. The invitation will firstly be open to all the boys and girls football teams who represent the school and to all Year 11 pupils.”
After beating St Killian’s in the last four, Mr Cowden commented: “I don’t think we will go into the final (December 19) as favourites, and I am more than happy with that. We are an unknown quantity to most schools. We are confident in our ability as a team and as individual players, but I will be stressing to the boys to enjoy the occasion, express themselves freely, and not to get overawed by the occasion, and to treat it just as another game of football.”
Cup final squad: R. Caulfield (c), R. Clarke, J. McCombe, M. Audley, D. McCreery, F. Baird, J. Haggan, P. Nesbitt, A. Miller, J. Cowan, L. Anderson, J. Coulter and J. McConnell.