A wonderful experience for Arklow Town FC!
A selection of the best Arklow Town FC under-12 players travelled up to the Crusaders AFC ground in Belfast to take part in the annual Bryson Cup competition recently.
The competition comprised of two matches played over two days between the Arklow lads and a selection of the best school boys from all the primary schools of Belfast.
Under the management team of Owen Moore, Shane Roche & Lee Kenny, the Arklow team had been putting in plenty of hard effort in the training sessions over the last two months.
All this preparation certainly paid off and the 15 strong panel were ready to wear the club badge with pride.
Despite the players having to endure constant driving rain, both matches were played at an incredibly high tempo and the quality of the football was of an exceptionally high standard.
Players were afforded very little time on the ball, as both teams pressed the other to win the ball back.
One of the hallmarks of this Arklow Town team was their determination to keep the ball down and play out from the back.
Goalkeepers Luca Bourke and Ryan Morgan set up several good attacks with some excellent distribution from the back, and when called upon made some top class saves.
The defenders did trojan work at the back, putting in some great tackles as the Belfast boys threatened our goal.
Shane Gregory played a captain’s role in leading his team from the back.
Time and time again his team mates Tom Kavanagh, Harry McDonald, John Erasmus, Ryan Gleeson and Diarmuid O’Reilly would track a run or make a vital interception to thwart the Belfast attack.
The midfielders worked their socks off.
Ryan Redmond covered every blade of grass, such was his mighty effort.
Kian Scanlon broke up numerous Belfast attacks, while Ciaran Redmond and Sean Byrne were a constant threat out wide. Up front Kyal Byrne, Aaron Ebbitt and Donnacha Walker proved to be a real handful for the Belfast defence.
From an Arklow Town FC perspective, the highlight of the second match was a wonderful move which started from their own box. Diarmuid O’Reilly and Ryan Gleeson won the ball back from a Belfast attack and passed to keeper Luca Bourke who spread the ball out wide to Harry McDonald.
He passed the ball into midfielder Kian Scanlon who immediately fed the ball to Tom Kavanagh running up the right wing.
Kavanagh played a wonderful pass to an overlapping Sean Byrne, and as he attempted to square the ball for an on rushing Ryan Redmond, Byrne was fouled in the box and a penalty awarded.
Aaron Ebbitt stepped up to take the kick, and showed nerves of steel to place it low in the corner.
The two games were played in an incredibly good spirit.
The match officials were extremely complimentary about both sets of players displaying such a wonderful attitude.
After both matches, it was into the Crusaders clubhouse and their wonderful facilities so that the players from both teams could mix together while enjoying a lovely meal.
In the end the Belfast team won outright, and so were presented with the Bryson Cup.
Each player was presented with a trophy to reward them for their effort and contribution to what was a wonderful footballing occasion. Aaron Ebbitt was chosen by the match officials as the man of the match in the second match, and was presented with a beautiful trophy to mark his achievement.
‘Special thanks must go to John Scanlon from Arklow Town FC who liaised with his contacts in Belfast to make sure the event ran so smoothly.’ said an Arklow Town spokesperson.
‘We look forward to 2020, when Arklow Town FC will play host to their Belfast visitors, and another bunch of young players in the club will get the chance to represent their club playing the beautiful game in such a wonderful competition,’ he added.
Arklow Town FC enjoyed another wonderful Bryson Cup.