County Londonderry reach SuperCupNI Junior final following win over Sheffield United
The young lads of County Londonderry will take on reigning champions Right to Dream in Friday night's SuperCupNI Junior final at the Ballymena Showgrounds (6pm).
Ollie Mullan’s boys got the better of Sheffield United, winning 1-0 at the Coleraine Showgrounds, thanks to a second half strike from Sunderland-bound Ben Wilson.
Londonderry manager Mullan believes his lads can give the Africans a few problems.
The former Limavady United boss said: “The boys have put a lot of work in the last six or seven weeks and they’re very difficult to beat and have a great team spirit.
“There are a lot of boys there for the future. Right To Dream are a quality team, as everyone knows, but we will give everything we have.”
The winning goal was scored by substitute Ben Wilson. Mullan opted to leave the Sunderland-bound forward on the bench, to give Sheffield United something to think about in the second half.
“We rested Ben to come on. The gameplan was to hold on for 30 minutes and we knew he’d be our most prolific striker when he came on.
“At that stage we knew their legs could be gone so he came on and did his job and here we are in the final.”
While Coleraine has been the home of the Milk Cup since 1983, this is the first time a County Londonderry team has reached the final.
Mullan explained: “In 1992, the first year of the county system, and the Premiers got to a semi-final, beating Manchester United along the way, but lost to Nottingham Forest.
“So this is a big day for our county and for the committee.
“There’s a lot of hard worked, both on and off the pitch, to make this possible. It’s a great achievement.”
Ben Wilson got the only goal of the game in the eighth minute of the second half.
The Londonderry lad latched onto a ball on the right-flank, before cutting inside and drilling the ball past United goalkeeper Marchus Dewhurst.
It was a fine finish from the youngster, who is on the books of Premier League club Sunderland.
United forward Angelo Cappello had a golden opportunity to score an equaliser with ten minutes left on the clock, but he was denied by some brave defending from Derry’s Adam Taggart.
Unfortunately, the young defender picked up a nasty injury after colliding with the post.
Taggart was stretchered from the field with his left leg in a brace, however, initial signs suggest the injury may not be as bad as first feared.
The young Blades threw everything at Mullan’s boys in stoppage time, but the County side held on for a famous victory at the Coleraine Showgrounds.
African academy side Right to Dream booked their place in the final thanks to a 2-1 win over Mexican side Chivas at 2-1 Scroggy Road in Limavady.