Banbridge Town Juniors Under 12s were mixing it with European teams over the Easter weekend as they made it through to the latter stages of the Copa Costa Cup.
Their 13 man squad, along with five coaches and 15 parents jetted off to Barcelona on Thursday 24th March for the big tournament.
On arrival the party were able to relax before the serious business on Friday when they locked horns with Danish side AB Tarnby 2 drawing 1–1 with striker Harry Annett rescuing a lost cause to set up Joshua Noble to fire home the equaliser.
In the following game against Italian side Sporting Rieti, the Banbridge boys won 3–0 with Owen Wilson, Adam Hamilton and Joshua Noble all scoring in an impressive team display. Stephen Doherty was steady in defence, Ryan Meara creative in midfield, Alex Innocenzi thumped the woodwork and goalkeeper Toby Jones kept a clean sheet as well to round off a fantastic first day in the tournament.
An early start on Easter Saturday had the boys kicking off at 9am on a due laden pitch against an impressive French side AS Lattes.
Banbridge went into a two goal lead with great defending by Senan Carr and Lee Whitten and goals from the industrious Taylor Hill and Patrick McGrath before the opposition scored to set up an exciting climax to the game.
Town, however, held on for a vital victory that sent them through to the quarter-finals with seven points out of nine, finishing top of the section.
Disappointment followed in the evening game with a narrow 3–2 defeat against US Formans St Didier with the French side breaking straight away to score after Owen Wilson hit the crossbar.
Josh Kerr hit the crossbar and then a brace for the Town including a free kick to level the scores but in the dying minutes the opposition broke away to score the winning goal, neutralising Town’s elation of day one of the competition.
In their final game the next day, Banbridge played the eventual winners AS Tarnby 1 and were defeated 2–0 by the best team in the group who had previously scored over 20 goals.
Banbridge who they graciously claimed were the best team they played in the competition.
The boys were brought on to a ‘No to Rascism’ stage and presented with medals for their efforts in what was just reward for a super team effort as they did themselves and the Banbridge Town Juniors FC proud.
The club would like to send a massive thank you to Michelle Wilson and manager Johnny Kerr for their organisation and delivery of the event and to the club, coaches, parents and sponsors.
It allowed for an occasion which will never be forgotten by all the children who benefited from being part of it – the boys might have lost out in the latter stages of the Copa Costa Cup but they won and brought home many memories.
TOWN SQUAD: Toby Jones, Lee written, Joshua Noble, Alex Innocenzi, Senan Carr, Ryan Meara, Patrick McGrath, Taylor Hill, Adam Hamilton, Josh Kerr, Owen Wilson, Harry Annett, Stephen Doherty.