Londonderry Juniors book place in SuperCupNI final
COUNTY Londonderry's Junior team were in dreamland last night, when they booked their place in tonight's SuperCupNI final, thanks to a heroic display on home territory.
A second half goal from young forward Ben Wilson at the Coleraine Showgrounds handed Ollie Mullan's boys a hugely impressive 1-0 win over English club Sheffield United.
The County side will now face Ghanian side Right to Dream at the Ballymena Showgrounds (6pm) in tonight's Junior final.
Londonderry manager Ollie Mullan believes his lads can give the Africans a few problems.
The former Limavady United boss said; “The boys have put a lot of work in the last six or seven weeks and they’re very difficult to beat and have a great team spirit.
“There are a lot of boys there for the future. Right To Dream are a quality team, as everyone knows, but we will give everything we have."
The winning goal was scored by substitute Ben Wilson. Mullan opted to leave the Sunderland-bound forward on the bench, to give Sheffield United something to think about in the second half.
“We rested Ben to come on. The gameplan was to hold on for 30 minutes and we knew he’d be our most prolific striker when he came on.
“At that stage we knew their legs could be gone so he came on and did his job and here we are in the final."
While Coleraine has been the home of the Milk Cup since 1983, this is the first time a County Londonderry team has reached the final.
Mullan explained; “In 1992, the first year of the county system, and the Premiers got to a semi-final, beating Manchester United along the way, but lost to Nottingham Forest.
“So this is a big day for our county and for the committee. There's a lot of hard worked, both on and off the pitch, to make this possible. It’s a great achievement."
In the other semi-final, African side Right To Dream beat Chivas of Mexico 2-1 at Scroggy Road at Limavady.
In the Premier section, there was heartbreak from holders Antrim and hopefuls Down, as both county sides bravely bowed out of the Premier section of the SuperCupNI at the semi-final stage.
Last year's winners Antrim lost 3-1 to Chilean side O'Higgins at Ballymoney, while Down lost by the same scoreline to Edinburgh club Hibs in Portstewart.
Disappointed Down manager John Bailie said after the defeat in Portstewart; “Hibs getting their second penalty, 30 seconds after we equalised led to our heads going down.
“We were well on top and got our equaliser and then a lapse in concentration gives away a second penalty and Hibs punished us.
“The third goal three or four minutes after it summed it up and Hibs could maybe have scored a few more on the break.
“What disappoints us more is that the game was there for the taking.
“They gave it everything. It’s small margins."