Aquinas set up Roses meeting

By Staff Reporter
Aquinas 3 -- Ards Rangers 2 (aet)

U16 SBYFL Cup semi-final

With the scent of silverware in the air, a much changed Aquinas team showed up for this enthralling encounter at Hydebank than the one that had stumbled midweek.

Maguire looked dangerous for Aquinas as his one-on-one with the keeper was expertly saved and a shot slipped past the post. The back four of O’Connor, McCourt, Rainey and man of the match Thomas Cafolla looked unshakeable.

The pace of Toner and Hughes was beginning to pay dividends and when Hughes nodded through to Maguire on the half hour mark, the prolific striker made no mistake. On the blow for half time, Hughes stole the ball and squared for Maguire to calmly slot home following a superb drive up the right flank from O’Connor.

It should have been a case of seeing out the second half for Aquinas as O’Boyle, Flynn and O’Hanlon dominated the midfield exchanges but Ards began to regain possession. With ten minutes left, Ards pulled a goal back during a goalmouth scramble.

Despite bravely holding Ards back, a dismayed Aquinas could only watch Ards equalise in the dying seconds forcing the game into extra time.

The depth of this Aquinas team has been a constant strength this season and the fresh legs introduced towards the end of the second half paid dividends.

Carson, O’Sullivan and Cunnane put in a tremendous shift and the craft of Morgan came to the fore with a cool finish after great work from Mohan. McGovern pulled off a top drawer save from an Ards free as the tense second period drew to a close sending a relieved Aquinas through to the final against Rosario.

 

U16 SBYFL

Aquinas                         2

Celtic Boys                         3

A dismal evening at Boucher produced, for the large part, an equally dismal display from Aquinas.

Aquinas made the most of the opening exchanges and went ahead on ten minutes when a sublime pass from Tomas Maguire found Conor Toner who did well to square for Matt Hughes to rattle into the net.

Within three minutes Celtic had not only equalised but had also taken the lead.

The Aquinas response gave their line cause for optimism with Tomas Maguire shooting narrowly wide and Matt Hughes having a header pushed over the bar.

The restart saw Conor Flynn and Matt Hughes going close. Mid-way through the half a quickly taken corner caught Aquinas on the hop at the near post as it was flicked into the net.

Still with a slim chance of league top spot, or second place status, Aquinas eventually got into gear as Conor Toner and Tom Maguire made the Celtic keeper work.

He could do nothing though to stop a crashing Conor Flynn header from a perfectly placed Joe Cunnane header.

With a point now looking possible, the Blue ’n’ Blacks at last played with a sense of purpose and although the closing minutes saw a vast improvement in their play, it was too late for an Aquinas comeback. Best for Aquinas was Paddy O’Boyle.

 

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