Sports

Newry Reserves are League Champions

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

NEWRY CITY RESERVES are the Mid Ulster Reserve League Champions.

 

The Newry second-string team clinched the title after they defeated a strong Coagh United Reserves side, 4-2, at a rain drenched Newry Showgrounds, on Saturday afternoon.

Newry City AFC Reserves ...4
Coagh United ...2


It was Newry's final league match of the season, and manager Gary Redpath knew anything less than three points would see his side miss out on the title. Meanwhile, their opponents Coagh, were still in with a shout of the title themselves, although they needed to win all of their remaining five fixtures if they were to go all the way.

Newry fell in arrears early on to a strike from Coagh's Stefan Hogshaw. Indeed the hosts had goalkeeper Martin Marron to thank for preventing them from going two behind when he saved a penalty kick in the 18th minute. But thereafter, the Newry lads took full control of the match, going 4-1 in front through Marcus McKeown (2), Paulis Smaryginas and a Chris McMahon penalty, before Coagh pulled one back late on.

In a frenetic start to this match, Coagh broke the deadlock in the 12th minute through a 20 yard strike from Stefan Hogshaw, which gave Martin Marron absolutely no chance in the Newry goal.

The visitors were presented with a great opportunity to double their advantage in the 18th minute when they were awarded a somewhat dubious penalty kick. But Stefan Thompson's tame effort was easily saved by Marron.

Almost immediately, in a dramatic turn of events at the other end of the pitch, Newry levelled the match when a pin point cross from Jordan King was headed into the far corner of the net by ex-Warrenpoint Town player Marcus McKeown.

The impetus was now with Newry, and midway through the first half the hosts edged themselves into the lead through a stunning 30 yard effort from Lithuanian Paulius Smaryginas.

Newry continued to dominate exchanges, with Chris McMahon, Ryan Quinn and Paulius Smaryginas dictating the tempo of the play from midfield. Smaryginas tried his luck from distance again in the closing stages of the half, only to see his low drive flash inches past the base of the post.

But the dominant hosts eventually did add to their lead, two minutes into the second half. An astute pass from Josh Durnin put the strong running Marcus McKeown in the clear, and he coolly slotted the ball past Coagh 'keeper Hassen, to register his second goal of the afternoon.

On the hour mark, Chris McMahon further increased Newry's advantage, converting a penalty kick to make it 4-1, after Cian Feehan had been upended in the box.

Coagh did manage to pull a goal back through Daniel McKinless in the 77th minute, but the visitors never really looked like forcing their way back into this match, and this talented young Newry team comfortably saw the game out, to be crowned as the 2016/17 Mid Ulster Reserve League Champions.

Speaking to the Democrat after the match, a beaming Newry City Reserves coach Barry Traynor said: "I'm delighted to see the hard work Gary Redpath, Kevin D'Arcy and Marty McParland have put in, being rewarded."

“I've only come into the team this season, but the three lads have been coaching at the club for years. This club means a lot to them and it's great to see them getting the success they deserve."

“The players in the squad have been superb for us. We've had a good mixture of youth and experience in the team this season.

“The lads from the first team have been great when they've come in. The likes of the club captain Chris McMahon, coming back from injury recently and playing for us is a great example. Chris always gives it his all, no matter which team he plays for. He's a great club captain.

“The young lads in the team have been brilliant as well. They're all very keen and very willing to learn. The majority of them are still in their late teens or early twenties, so they have a bright future ahead of them," said Traynor.

“There's some amazing talent coming through at the club, be it with the U16s, U17s, U19s or the Reserves. There's no doubt about it, the future is bright at Newry."

 

NEWRY CITY AFC: Martin Marron, Jordi Coyle, Jordan King, Gerard Mooney, Lee Courtney, Chris McMahon, Josh Durnin, Ryan Quinn (skipper), Marcus McKeown, Paulius Smaryginas, Cian Feehan. Subs: Ian Curran, Brian Hobden, Shealan Fegan, Gavin Conn, Jack Heaney

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