Glenavon (U-18) 3-1 Warrenpoint (U-18)
U-18 Mid-Ulster Cup Semi Final
Lurgan Junior High
Friday 24th March 2023
On Friday night Glenavon Under-18s defeated Warrenpoint Town 3-1 at Lurgan Junior High School to set up a clash with Portadown in the U-18 Mid-Ulster Cup Final. Dillon Alexander (2) and Ronan McAlinden scored three second-half goals as the young Blues came from behind.
Coach John Savage was delighted with his team’s performance, particularly the application and industry of its three-man midfield. “Cameron Sutherland, Daniel Dillon and Ronan McAlinden worked their socks of,” he said. “That helped us to dictate the play, particularly during the second half.”
“I was also pleased with our finishing,” he continued. “We lost a match against Warrenpoint a few weeks ago because we were so careless in front of goal. Tonight, we were more ruthless.”
The semi-final clash was very much a game of two halves. Whilst the first 40 minutes was dull, turgid and largely devoid of goalmouth action, the second was lively, exciting and full of good attacking play.
During the opening period Glenavon’s Jayden Morgan twice, Aaron Mills and Daniel Brown all saw goalbound efforts saved whilst, at the other end, Ruari Madine shot over when well-placed. Then, in the 36th minute, with the home side on top, ‘Point took a shock lead. Aaron Downey delivered a defence-splitting pass and Madine slotted past Josh Gracey.
The visitors’ advantage was short-lived. Four minutes after the break Dillon Alexander found space on the left and rifled the ball past Oisin McStay. It was a venomous left-foot strike hit with conviction.
Jesse Turner, a constant threat in the young Blues’ attack, spurned three decent second half goalscoring opportunities. First, he shot narrowly wide; second, he saw a close-range header saved; and third, he fired past an upright.
But, in the 70th minute, Turner earned some reward for his hard work when he flicked on Ronan McAlinden’s cross for Alexander to administer the coup de gras.
Although Jayden Morgan shot against the goalkeeper’s legs, Ronan McAlinden sealed victory in the 74th minute. The midfielder blasted the ball into the net from close-range after Dillon Alexander’s effort had cannoned back off a post.
Glenavon Under-18s’ reward for its impressive win is an opportunity to collect some end-of-season silverware. The date and venue for the final have yet to be decided.
GLENAVON: Josh Gracey, Aaron Mills, Lewis McMaster, Charlie McShane, Daniel Brown, Cameron Sutherland, Daniel Dillon, Ronan McAlinden, Jesse Turner, Dillon Alexander, Jayden Morgan, SUBS: Harry Bownes for Dillon Alexander (77 mins), Chris Heasley for Jayden Morgan (77 mins), Ashley Beckett for Daniel Brown (80 mins), Daniel Shiel (not used).
WARRENPOINT TOWN: Oisin McStay, Aaron Downey, Lee Whitten, Kyle Murphy, Tag O’Neill, Eoin Murray, Micheal Harper, Adam Dorans, Jack Dowey, Ruari Madine, Conor McMahon, SUBS: Jamie Ingram for Jack Dowey (59 mins), Harry Annett for Eoin Murray (69 mins), Lee Fallon for Adam Dorans (73 mins), Tiernan Rogers (not used), Eoin Gribben (not used).