Oxford Sunnyside U11’s returned home triumphant from the Ballymoney’s Riada Stadium on Monday after winning the NIBFA cup final.
The boys were up against a strong Windmill stars team but by 3.30pm they would become the second team in the Town to taste Irish Cup success in two days.
Sunnyside began the game with a strong wind in their favour and knew that they would have to take an advantage going into the second half. They set about this task with great intensity and after five minutes took the lead. A strong run and cross down the left hand side by Oran O’Kane was expertly met by the onrushing Oisin Ginesi who finished first time low to the keeper’s left. Seven minutes later the large travelling support were again celebrating when O’Kane, judging the wind to perfection, sent in an in swinging corner which went directly into the far corner of the net.
To Windmill’s credit they soon settled and began to create a few half chances of their own but they were thwarted by the excellent defending of Eoin McKee, Ronan O’Hagan and Paedar McParland and with the ever dependable goalkeeping of Oran McCaffery. The score remained 2-0 at the interval and given the conditions this could have been a precarious scoreline to defend.
Windmill sent out an early signal of intent in the second period when their dangerous centre forward went on a terrific run but shot wide after McCaffrey came out and narrowed the angle. This was to be the only real threat on the Sunnyside goal for the remainder of the game. Indeed it was Sunnyside, playing against the wind, who took control with some excellent football played on the ground.
Matthew Lennon dropped deeper and along with Michel McConville began pulling the strings and dominating mid-field while Liam Toman and Oran O’Kane continued to provide quality delivery in the wide areas.
The game was finished as a contest with 10 minutes remaining when after good work from Dylan McEnoy, Paedar McParland’s deflected effort found the net. Diarmuid Magee then replaced McConville and Sunnyside were able to comfortably see the game out.
This was a tremendous achievement from the boys as over 70 clubs entered. Every player played their part, not just in the final but in the previous rounds also.