Ards & North Down Borough Cup Final
Monday 30th July 2018
By Jana McCabe
After four comfortable victories on the way to the final, only one game stood in the way of Ards Seconds lifting the Ards and North Down Borough Cup. Groomsport were the opposition, having progressed to the final by winning their previous two contests on penalties. Alex McIlmail had an early chance to put Ards in to the lead when he cleverly tricked the Groomsport ‘keeper but his shot was blocked by a defender. The same situation occurred again just three minutes later but McIlmail, fresh from a four-goal haul in the semi-final, was again denied by a challenge from a Groomsport defender. In the seventeenth minute Adam Brown’s strong shot from outside the box was well saved by the ‘keeper and, in the twenty sixth minute, Marc McKenna’s shot was just wide of the left post as Ards continued to dominate. The pressure finally paid off in the thirty ninth minute when a superb pass from Scott McArthur found the feet of McIlmail who had no problem finding the back of the net to make it 1-0. It only took Ards a further minute to get their second when nice build-up play from Timmy Browne gave McArthur time to get in to the perfect position and his strong strike flew past the keeper to make it 2-0. Just three minutes later Ards scored their third when Adam Brown's shot from twenty five yards evaded the diving keeper. Then in first half injury time Ards were awarded a penalty after Marc McKenna was brought down in the box. McKenna stood up to take it but the Groomsport stopper managed to save it and the game remained 3-0 at half time. The second half began just like the first half with Ards having all the chances. Timmy Browne’s spinning shot was blocked by the ‘keeper and McArthur failed to find the net from the rebound. In the sixty fifth minute Ards got their fourth when a nice pass from Brown to Browne gave him an opportunity from a promising position but his shot was blocked but he was able to scramble the ball back to the feet of McIlmail who found the back of the net for a second time to make it 4-0. Ards continued to press, and nearly went further ahead when McKenna’s free kick was saved by the Groomsport ‘keeper. Then in the seventy fifth minute Ards’ continuing efforts were rewarded with a fifth when Browne tricked the keeper and slid the ball in to the back of the net. However, just two minutes later, Groomsport pulled one back with their number nine hitting in a rebound to make it 5-1.
However this wouldn’t ruin Ards’ party with the youngsters pushing for more, with the last action of the game featuring a strong shot from McKenna being cleared before the referee blew the final whistle.
5-1 and Ards are the champions!! In front of the biggest crowd seen at a Borough Cup final which raised over £600 for charity, it was a comprehensive victory for the Ards youngsters. The red and blue army’s attention now turns to the start of the league season for the senior team with a clash with Crusaders at Seaview next Monday evening.