More teams, more games, more goals and more drama. The Square United Nettuno Cup returned for it’s third straight year in Ardee on Saturday and as expected, it didn’t disappoint – with the club putting on yet another great exhibition of juvenile football with clubs from all across the region taking part.
40 teams – compared to last year’s 20 – took part at the Boys School Field and with 79 games in total played, the youngsters produced 275 goals and even ensured parents, coaches, friends and family were kept on the edge of their seats with five penalty shootouts across the knockout games.
The home side enjoyed a productive afternoon, with the club’s Under 12s, 11s and 10s all winning their respective cup competitions and the Under 9s taking home the Nettuno Cup Trophy in that age category. Ballyjamesduff AFC were also at the double winning both the Under 9 and Under 12 Shields.
The tournament was hotly contested througHout all the various age categories and the day as a whole drew out a bumper crowd to the field for the day, with the weather staying good too – a stroke of luck which was well deserved for all those involved in putting on a wide-ranging tournament, with six pitches in use at any one time.
Among the big trophies available on the day was the Rogers Memorial Trophy Aoife Rogers was on hand to present the trophy – created in memory of her father James, mother Deborah and brother Colm – to the delighted winners Square United’s Under 10s. (above)
The standard of competition was far stronger than last year with teams from as far away as Arklow making the trip to Ardee but that didn’t stop Square enjoying getting their hands on silverware in cup and shield competition.
Brendan Woods’ Under 10s won the Rogers Memorial Under 10 Cup in a very competitive section, needing two penalty shoot outs to beat Kingscourt and Swords Celtic in the last four and final. Up one age level, Paul Svender’s Under 11s also came out on top of a tough group with some outstanding performances. They overcame a fine Drogheda Boys team 2-1 in the final. Excellent at the back, they shipped just one goal in five games.
The Under 12 section included Drogheda Town, Boyne Rovers, Square United, Arklow Utd, Ballyjamesduff, Torro United, Walshestown and Termonfeckin. Square came through as group winners and faced Boyne Rovers in the semi final. Having gone behind, Brendan Caffrey’s team showed some real quality and composure to get back level before going ahead with minutes remaining.
Square took control of the final against Arklow, who won a last four shootout, from the off and never gave their visitors a moment to settle into the game. A well taken Adam Gillespie header gave them an early lead and soon goals from Cian Lane, Andy Murphy, Ciaran Russell and Darragh Murphy secured a hat trick of cups for the host team.
Speaking after the event, Square United Juveniles Head Coach Robert McQuillan paid tribute to all those who took part. “The day was a huge success, it was only made possible by the huge work put in by the club and the hard working committee,” he said.
“Big thanks to our sponsors, O’Callaghans Butchers are the main sponsor of this event over the past three years and their continued support in invaluable. A Special word of thanks to Olive and Sean O’Brien, Helen and Sean Malone, Jessie and TJ Agnew, Thomas Malone, all the committee members that helped with setting up pitches and refereeing games, the referees on the day and Brian Murphy for organising them, Wee County Trophies for their amazing support and the beautiful Nettuno Cups and Shields along with the medals too.
“All in all we had a fantastic day and hope we put our great wee town on the map with our event,” he added.
- Under 9s – Square United
- Under 10s – Drogheda Town Eagles
- Under 11s – Torro United
- Under 12s – Boyne Rovers
- Under 9s – Ballyjamesduff AFC
- Under 10s – Glenmuir United
- Under 11s – Blayney Academy
- Under 12s – Ballyjamesduff AFC
- Under 9s – Quay Celtic
- Under 10s – Square United
- Under 11s – Square United
- Under 12s – Square United
All photographs used above provided kindly by Warren Matthews.