It was a very special day last Saturday for the boys and girls of Rossglass County Under 10 and Under 8 youth teams. Both travelled to Solitude in Belfast at the bequest of Cliftonville FC to play their junior sides at half time in the Irish League game against Glenavon. It was a wonderful experience for the kids to come up against quality opposition, to play in a proper football stadium and get to watch a wonderful game of football in which Cliftonville won 4-2.
Unfortunately both teams suffered defeats but they can truly be proud of their performances. The Under 10’s found it difficult against the slick passing and movement of their opposition and suffered a 2-0 defeat, while the 2012’s went down 4-2 in a fantastic game of football.
In the 2012 game, Cliftonville raced in to a 2-0 lead and things looked ominous for the young County side. A superb goal by the Cliftonville left winger had the crowd on their feet cheering but not to be outdone Rossglass fought back to level things up at 2-2 and to quieten the home crowd. Some tough tacking in midfield from Fionn McCargo broke down a Cliftonville attack and a neat pass that split their defence allowed Fintan McLaughlin to race through one on one with the keeper and coolly slot home. Rossglass now had their tails up and once again it was Fintan McLaughlin who found the back of the net. From a clearance young McLaughlin let the ball bounce, and then struck a beautiful shot which flew over the hand of the outstretched keeper and into the top corner. At this stage it was all County with Conor Bradley and Sé Tumelty running the midfield and Eoin Stranney solid at the back. But the class of Cliftonville started to show as the young legs began to tire. Ethan Murphy in nets made a wonderful save diving to his right and tipping the ball round the post from a thunderous shot but there was nothing he could do for Cliftonville’s final two goals.
The boys were disappointed to come away with a defeat some remarking that had there been a second half County would surely have won, which says a lot for the team’s confidence. It was a wonderful day for the kids and one they will all remember for a long time to come. The kids were a credit to their families on and off the pitch.
The club would like to extend our thanks to Cliftonville F.C. for looking after our kids so well and their Head of Academy, Marc Smyth for the invitation and making the dreams of our kids come true. Watch the video of their exploits here.