HART Memorial Primary School hosted the replay between St John the Baptist and Armstrong Primary School from Armagh, in a nail biting match that seen a goal disallowed, extra time and a penalty shoot out.
Both schools had met before to determine the winner of the primary school league which ended in a draw, so both schools were well aware that this was going to be a very tough encounter.
Both sides started well as it took time for both teams to settle and it wasn’t long before St John’s dominated the game. Josh Bush from St John’s made a spectacular run only to be taken down and awarded a free kick just outside the box. Tom Weir immediately took the free kick which seen it drop into the back of the net to the cheers of the supporters only for it to be disallowed for an off side. This spared St John’s on even more with several chances of taking the lead coming from Andrew Wilson, Tom Weir and a sitter by Dylan Hughes, all these attempts were denied with cracking saves from the Armstrong goal-keeper.
The first half score was still to be 0-0. The second half seen several changes with two substitutions from St John’s, Cahal Mc Ginty and Ryan Mc Guckin both came into the game up front. Both yet again denied goals from the Armstrong goal-keeper.
Armstrong’s left winger made a blistering run up the left wing to cut in on his right to have his shot at goal saved by St John’s keeper Paul Flynn. St John’s back four Conor Curran, Josh Bush, Nathan Mc Conaghy and Oisin Hamill defended everything that came their way. Despite St John’s constant push for a goal the pressure was through onto Armstrong’s defence time and time again, with St John’s doing all the work, pushing forward all the time with each attempt being saved by the outstanding talent of the Armstrong goal-keeper. Armstrong had very little chances at goal and looked and played like a different team from their first encounter.
Armstrong found themselves chasing St John’s all over the pitch, St John’s continued to win the ball each time as Finnbarr Hamill dominated the mid-field. To Armstrong’s credit they defended and cleared the ball out of play each time, at full time the match remained scoreless.
Extra time followed with five minutes being played each way as both teams had worked extremely hard and you could hear the frustration in the St John’s supporters as the forwards couldn’t get past the Armstrong goal-keeper. After the extra time yet again the match was scoreless. Penalties were to follow.
St John’s won the toss and decided to let Armstrong take the first shot. The first goal of the match was scored and was soon followed with one from St John’s. It was all level at 2 each when Paul Flynn made an unbelievable save and allowed St John’ s to take the lead 3-2. Armstrong missed again and St John’s couldn’t believe that a win was possible with the next shot. Dillon Hughes came forward to the cheers of the supporters and calmly belted the ball to the back of the net, securing victory and putting St John’s into the Super League finals.
Armstrong can take credit for making St John’s work so hard for this victory, and man of the match on the day must go to Armstrong’s goal –keeper who kept the score-line from double figures. Final score 4-2 on penalties.
Squad: Paul Flynn, Conor Curran, Josh Bush,Nathen McConaghy, Oisin Hamill, Eamon Curran, Dylan Hughes, Finnbarr Hamill, Tom Weir, Andrew Wilson, Michael O’Neill, Cahal Mc Ginty, Ryan Mc Guckin, Kohl Lavery.