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Blades youngsters are finalists

29 July 2014

United's U13s performed admirably in reaching the final of the Foyle Cup in Derry earlier this month.

Unfortunately for the youngsters, it was the same story as it was for the U16s at the Denis Law Tournament in Aberdeen, they were beaten in the final.

The Blades opened the campaign with a 7-0 victory over Carniny Youth, with Jake Cooper netting a hat-trick. United then, having lost their second match 1-0 to Colraine FC, needed to win their last group fixture against Strabane Athletic by more than five goals to seal qualification to the quarter-finals - they duly obliged winning 8-0, Sam Ackroyd netting a second-half treble.

The last eight tie pitched United against Derry Colts and the visitors were the 3-0 winners in a physical game, with goalkeeper Jack Cratchley, Ben Harriott and Tom Weaver earning special praise from the coaching staff. Cooper scored a brace, with Joe Allerton netting from the penalty spot.

Arklow Town, who had won their group with a 100 per cent record, awaited the Blades in the semi-finals, but a tremendous performance saw United hit the Irish team for six in a resounding win. Allerton netted two penalties, but a second-half hat-trick from Sam Eccles stole the show as United secured a final berth.

The final against the Donegal Schoolboys was a case of what might have been for the Blades youngsters, who slipped to a 1-0 defeat, despite dominating without penetration for long periods, after falling behind to an early own goal.

Academy Manager Nick Cox remarked: "It was a great experience for our lads to be competing with some very good teams in Ireland.

"We haven't exposed the lads to competitive tournament football of this nature much so it will a terrific learning curve for all involved, both on and off the field.

"The players, each and every one of them gave it their all and arguably deserved to be coming home with a winners medal, but they can be very proud to have finished runners-up."​

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