The South Down U12 Shield was held at Dromore’s Ferris Park on Friday with Banbridge High School edging out the hosts in the final.
Dromore HS provided two teams and the holders were joined by Banbridge Academy, Banbridge HS, Newry HS and St. Patrick’s College.
The tournament format was a seven-a-side event in which the schools were divided into two groups of three teams with the top two in each group progressing to the play-offs.
On a windy day, all the young players initially struggled with the conditions, but soon managed some good football to keep at bay the elements – this undoubtedly produced an exciting competition.
In Group A, Dromore overcame the challenge of St Patrick’s and Dromore B with identical 6-0 wins, with St Patrick’s getting the better of Dromore B with a deserved 2-0 scoreline.
Striker Rhys Gregory was tormentor-in-chief, bagging the majority of the dozen goals with able support from Matthew Magill, Cameron Long, Aaron Prout and Morgan Houston.
In Group B, the matches were much tighter with goals at a premium. In the first match, Banbridge High and Newry shared the points in a goalless, but exciting match.
The High School then defeated town rivals Banbridge Academy by a single goal to qualify for the semi-finals. In another close affair, the Academy edged-out Newry 1-0 to join Banbridge HS in the play-offs.
In the semi-finals, a more subdued Dromore were stifled by a determined Academy team, eventually triumphing by a Gregory strike.
Banbridge HS secured a place in the final with a more straight-forward win against St. Patrick’s.
In the final, although Dromore had the lion’s share of possession and territory, Banbridge kept themselves in the game with a resolute performance.
A Rhys Gregory goal saw Dromore take the lead, with Banbridge levelling after a defensive slip. With only moments remaining in extra-time, a Banbridge attack produced a winner in what was a closely-fought final.
DROMORE: Jonathan Reain (c), Josh Jennings, Ben Wilson, Dylan Griffiths, Aaron Moore, Morgan Houston, Aaron Prout, Adam Jennings, Matthew Magill, Cameron Long, Rhys Gregory.