Clounagh Junior High School’s season finished with Northern Ireland Cup final frustration but a campaign which coach Gareth Eakin is confident can continue to provide lessons.
The year 10 players lost to Belfast Boys’ Model by 6-5 in the national showpiece - with Alberto Balde grabbing a cup hat-trick, Matthew Willis on target and Harry Anderson the other scorer.
“I’m very disappointed by the outcome but immensely proud of how the boys performed and handled the big occasion,” said Eakin. “My wish going forward is they continue to learn from this experience.
“I am sure they can take positives going forward.
“Despite the 6-5 result at the end of play, I am sure the experience of the final and competition overall can help across the next stage of each player’s development in the game, irrespective of how they progress.”
Clounagh took the lead within the opening seconds and the sides entered half-time down by 4-3.
Hundreds of spectators cheered on the teams from the sidelines and a 5-5 tally at the final whistle forced extra-time before the city side secured the decisive goal.
Clounagh reached the final at Ballymena Showgrounds thanks to defeats of Laurelhill, St Malachy’s Belfast, Rathmore Grammar and Fivemiletown High across the previous rounds.
CLOUNAGH JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL: Ethan Pollock, Ethan Williamson, Jay Weathered, Josh Woods, Adam Glenny, Dean Elliott, Harry Evans, Matthew Willis, Alberto Balde, Adam Woolsey, Harry Anderson, Daniel Mullane, Jonny Brown, Zane Brown, Jordan Finlay.