Club NI earned a hard fought 2-1 win over County Donegal in the Junior Section as the sun shone in Clough on Wednesday afternoon.
The Northern Irishmen started the brighter of the two sides and duly took the lead on 7 minutes, a cross from the right by Dylan Boyle was headed home by attacking midfielder Aaron Brown in impressive fashion. Brown was displaying some fancy footwork throughout the first half and possesses an uncanny knack of creating space for himself in tight situations.
The rest of the half passed without incident with the contest only coming alive after the break. A stunning effort from Club NI’s Ben Wyley on 34 minutes cannoned back off the post on the half-volley to light up what had been a drab affair thus far. The near miss of going two goals down appeared to spark the Donegal team into life who grabbed a precious equaliser just three minutes later when Jack O’Donnell powered home a finish from just inside the box after a hectic goalmouth scramble.
Parity in the scoreline was not to last for long however as straight from kick off, Club NI regained the lead. A defensive mix up led to an own goal after a cross into the box as the Northern Irishmen celebrated their stroke of good fortune.
Donegal threatened an equaliser with sporadic efforts on goal which failed to hit the target before Club NI substitute Conor Bradley danced through the opposition defence and unleased an effort on goal which was well held by Donegal ‘keeper Eoin McGing.
Donegal pressed for an equaliser in the dying stages and came mightily close on 56 minutes after a speculative lobbed effort into the box by full back Rory O’Donnell cannoned back off the cross bar and fell at the feet of midfielder Jack Park but a superb defensive block by Trai Hume saved the match for Club NI. A further scrambled effort by Gabriel Aduaka came to nothing for Donegal who came up just short on the day but take nothing away from Club NI who battled hard for a well-earned win.
Match Report by Jordan Miller. (@jordan_859)