Coleraine’s young guns rise to the occasion

Coleraine Reserves celebrate after winning the Craig Memorial Cup following their penalty shoot-out victory over Moyola Park on Saturday.
Coleraine Reserves celebrate after winning the Craig Memorial Cup following their penalty shoot-out victory over Moyola Park on Saturday.

COLERAINE Reserves defied the odds yet again this season as they fought back from a goal down to win the Craig Memorial Cup on Saturday.

Johnny Law’s young side found themselves 1-0 down at half time after Steven Kenning struck to give Moyola Park the lead just before the break.

But as has been the case so often this season the Bannsiders second string showed the never say die spirit after the restart, which has saw them claim several senior scalps this term.

Coleraine were by far the better side in the second half as they upped the pressure on the Championship Two outfit. And it finally paid off in the 70th minute as Craig Moore latched on to a long ball from defence and lobbed the ball into the net.

The Bannsiders pushed hard to win the game in normal time. Stuart Glasgow drew a great save out of Moyola keeper Farnick from distance. Hugo Batista was next to try his luck but his superb effort somehow stayed after crashing off the underside of the bar. Right at the death though Moyola almost snatched the win but Dowie’s header sailed just wide of the target.

The game headed into extra time but neither side could find that elusive goal so it was on to penalties. Glasgow, Moore and Campbell all coverted for the Reserves with Moyola only recording one successful kick. Their last effort came back off the post to cues jubilant scenes for Law’s young charges.

“It is a great result for the lads,” Law told Times Sport after the game.

“Yet again they have had to do it the hard way, but they showed the character and application which has taken them so far this season.

“I didn’t think we played that well in the first half. I don’t know if the large crowd and the occasion maybe unsettled us a wee bit.

“I told them at half time not to be going out with a whimper and they most certainly didn’t. Yet again against senior opposition they performed excellently and showed what they are all about by going on and winning it.

“It’s a great achievement but I told them afterwards not to make this their greatest achievement in football.”

First team boss Oran Kearney watched on from the sidelines at Fortwilliam Park and he was quick to praise the young players.

“Well done to Johnny, his staff and all the players, it’s a great result and well deserved for all their hard work this season,” said Kearney.