Bellurgan United celebrate their U17 Dundalk FC Cup final at Bellew Park. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
U17 Dundalk FC Cup final
Bellurgan United 1-0 Quay Celtic
A penalty from Luke Higgins nine minutes from time was enough for Bellurgan to lift the U17 Dundalk FC Cup on Tuesday evening, in front of a large crowd in Bellew Park.
It was fitting that Higgins’ goal was the one that swung this largely even match in favour of Bellurgan. The attacker was lively throughout the game.
Chances were few and far between with space at a premium in the tight confines of the Bellew Park. Quay Celtic had opportunities in the opening period with the relentless energy of Terence Kelly setting up Óisín McCumiskey in the 10th minute, but his shot flashed inches wide.
Thomas Daly then looked certain to score on the half-hour after he lifted the ball over his marker, but Bellurgan ‘keeper Cian Rogan somehow managed to push his shot over the crossbar.
Bellurgan had an equal share of possession but were caught straying offside on several occasions, while Higgins had a goal correctly ruled out in the 20th minute after the ball left play in the build-up.
The partnership of Higgins and Seán Dawe up front for Bellurgan began to stretch the Quay defence and they conjured up a glorious chance just before the break but a last-ditch tackle from Kian McEvoy prevented Dawe from scoring.
Quay started well in the second half with Kelly testing Rogan and Daly firing over, but Bellurgan looked more and more dangerous with every attack - a stinging Conor Watters free kick and a Dawe shot almost put the peninsula side in front.
However, the deadlock was finally broken in the 71st minute when Dawe beat the advancing Quay ‘keeper, though he was then bundled over just inside the box and Higgins dispatched the resulting penalty to the back of the net to win the cup for Bellurgan.
Bellurgan United: Cian Rogan, Jake McArdle, Calvin Larkin, Adam McKay, Joe Connor, Conor Watters, Kaylum Moran, Ciarán Murphy, Seán Dawe, Luke Higgins, Gerry Browne, Patrick Johnstone, Craig Kane, Jack McParland, Adam Bolton, Adam Connolly, Diarmuid O’Neill
Quay Celtic: Killian Rice, Josh Reilly, Graham Stevens, Kian McEvoy, Ciaran Peelo, Ryan McDonnell, Terence Kelly, Óisín McCumiskey, Lee Byrne, Thomas Daly, Peter Woulfe, Keith Dollard, Sam Abu, Ross McNally
Referee: Wayne Doyle. Assistants: Paul Malone & Paddy Keogh