Match Report: Ballynahinch United 2 v 1 Barn United

United entertained Barn United from Carrickfergus at Millbridge on Saturday last in a league game. The visitors, although bottom of Division 1B have been on the up in recent weeks so United’s manager Glynn Robinson was taking nothing for granted and any concerns he had were soon confirmed. The visitors came out the strongest and it would be fair to say that they were the dominant team and thoroughly deserved their interval 1-0 lead. They had scored from the penalty spot on the half hour mark when Alastair Coburn had brought down a forward as he weaved his way through the penalty area. United’s goal scoring opportunities were minimal except for a Daniel Rice effort that was well saved with Gavin Crawford putting the rebound wide.

A completely different United team came out for the second half as they chased an equaliser with Barn proving to be dangerous on the break. Lee Martin on his return from injury was introduced and manager Glynn Robinson took the gamble of bringing on a semi fit Gary Murray into the centre of defence with Scot Brashaw moving into central midfield to work alongside Gavin Crawford, Jack Davis, Ben Wilson and Alex Burtney.

That proved to be a masterstroke as United became even more dominant and in the 70th minute a touch of brilliance from Lee Martin brought the equaliser. The chance came when Brashaw blocked a pass on the half way line and surged toward goal before passing to the right wing to Martin. The teenager surged into the penalty area and despite being dispossessed by a defender he won the ball back before sending a fierce shot into the net. United’s ascendency was reduced marginally as Murray was withdrawn to ensure he did not aggravate his injury with Brashaw returning to his defensive position alongside Gregg Allison, Stuart McMullan and Alan Patterson.

Barn came back into the game and almost went ahead after 75 minutes however an exceptional double save by Coburn came to his teams rescue. Davis went into central midfield and became much more prominent in the closing quarter providing passes for Allison and Owen O’Neill on the right and Burtney or Stuart McMullan on the left while Ian McMullan chased every ball. It would be his perseverance that led to United winning the game but in quite bizarre circumstances.

As the game entered injury time Ian McMullan chased a through ball however the Barn goalkeeper came out and collected the ball. Unbelievably the keeper pushed the ball into McMullan’s face and he was sent off by the referee who was left with no option but to award a penalty. Absolute mayhem followed and it took six minutes until the referee was able to calm things down for Alan Patterson to slot home the penalty despite a valiant effort to save it by the stand in keeper. The referee blew the final whistle as soon as the game restarted perhaps fearing some indiscipline which sadly proved to be the case. United will have considered themselves extremely fortunate to gain all three points welcome while a moment of madness led to Barn missing out on the point they deserved. This week travel to Dromara Village for a league game.

Ballynahinch United 50th Anniversary Dinner

Last Friday night Ballynahinch United celebrated the club’s 50th anniversary with a gala dinner in the Millbrook Lodge Hotel. There was an attendance of one hundred and forty which included present and former players as well as their families. Club Chairman Gilbert Cromie welcomed those present and during his opening remarks he requested a moments silence which was respectively observed in memory of former club members.

A great reception was given to Gareth Bingham, Scott Brashaw, Anto Greene, Ross Hayes and Steven Jess who had conceived and organised the event on behalf of the club. Gilbert then introduced the host for the evening Liam Beckett the BBC Radio Ulster soccer and motor cycle racing commentator and pundit who entertained before and after the dinner. Prior to the food being served a representative of the Anthony Nolan Trust, the nominated charity on the night, gave a short talk on the work of the charity.

After the dinner Liam Beckett regaled those present with a series of humorous stories from his days as a player with Crusaders, Drogheda and Coleraine and as a mechanic with the motor cycling legends Joey and Robert Dunlop which were extremely entertaining.

Newry & Mourne and Down Council Chairman Mark Murnin was invited to make a number of presentations to club stalwarts Winston Brown and Jimmy Brown in recognition of their outstanding service to the club. Winston, the Club President, has been involved with the club for forty nine years undertaking a wide range of roles mostly related to the upkeep of the various club grounds from Fees Field in Dromara to Millbridge. Jimmy has for over thirty years maintained the Millbridge grounds and pavilion whilst also having carried out all manner of building, plastering and plumbing works.

A presentation was also made to Robert Creighton who is one of the clubs most dedicated and enthusiastic supporter. The club received gifts from Mervyn Martin, a former player, on behalf of the Northern Amateur Football League and Robert Howarth on behalf of the Newcastle & District Football League.

The Club Chairman referred to the outstanding service which the Hamilton family had given to the club over the half century. The late Billy who passed away last December had served the club as a player, Secretary, Trustee and league representative. His wife Sally who attends most home matches in the present day has supported the club faithfully over the years as well as undertaking a number of practical activities so vital to its running. Billy Junior was a very successful manager during the club’s years in the junior football while Graham still holds the accolade of being the all-time leading scorer. Wilson remains a dedicated committee member and supporter following a very successful playing career which included being in the clubs historic Border Cup winning team. In recognition of this outstanding service Sally accompanied by her sons was invited to unveil a plaque bearing the title ‘The Hamilton Lounge’ which the club has decided that its recreation area should be named.

Prior to the evening’s entertainment which was provide by the Renegades group the results of the raffle were announced for a series of valuable prizes including signed Carl Frampton Boxing Gloves. Northern Ireland, Manchester United, Ulster Rugby, Linfield and Glentoran shirts, football signed by the Manchester City title winning squad and a variety of other prizes.

Everyone at Ballynahinch United was absolutely delighted with the success of the evening which it felt was a very fitting way to commence its 50th anniversary season. The number of former players from all the five decades who attended was so encouraging and the complementary remarks which have been made since have been much appreciated by those who organised the evening.

The club would like to express its gratitude to BEC Electrical who were the main event sponsors, Peninsula Print, M.E. Crowe Ltd, AAD Brickwork, Millbrook Lodge Hotel, Ulster Property Sales, MMM Design & Build, Auto Valet, Carryduff Concrete, Kenneth Burtney and Somerville’s for sponsoring tables and Kelvin Graham, Lilliput and McClure’s Funeral Services for their valuable help with other aspects related to the night. Many thanks also to club man Shaun Bonner for preparing the on screen photographic display and the staff of the Millbrook Lodge Hotel who could not have been more helpful during the planning stage and on the night.

A souvenir brochure was produced to mark the 50th anniversary and this can be obtained from the clubhouse on match days for a very modest charge of £2.

Ballynahinch United Border Cup winners reminiscing
Ballynahinch United Border Cup winners reminiscing

BUFC players Johnny Stevenson, Kevin Kew, Adam Herron, Ross Hayes, Scott Brashaw and Gareth Bingham
BUFC players
Johnny Stevenson, Kevin Kew, Adam Herron, Ross Hayes, Scott Brashaw and Gareth Bingham

Liam Beckett at the BUFC dinner
Liam Beckett at the BUFC dinner

The Hamilton Family - L to R Wilson, Graham, Liam Beckett, Mrs Sally Hamilton, Scott Brashaw, Gareth Bingham, Ross Hayes, Billy Hamilton Jnr, Gilbert Cromie and Mark Murnin
The Hamilton Family – L to R
Wilson, Graham, Liam Beckett, Mrs Sally Hamilton, Scott Brashaw, Gareth Bingham, Ross Hayes, Billy Hamilton Jnr, Gilbert Cromie and Mark Murnin

Jimmy Brown receiving his presentation from Mark Murnin
Jimmy Brown receiving his presentation from Mark Murnin

Mr & Mrs Hugh Hawthorne at the BUFC dinner
Mr & Mrs Hugh Hawthorne at the BUFC dinner

Winston Brown receives his presentation from Mark Murnin
Winston Brown receives his presentation from Mark Murnin

Match Report: Ballynahinch United 1 v 2 Seapatrick

Intermediate Cup Round 1

Ballynahinch United fresh from their 50th anniversary dinner the previous night were perhaps not surprisingly a little jaded for this game and this showed in the first half when they found themselves 1 – 0 down.

In the second half there was a much improved performance as they laid siege to the Seapatrick goal with wave after wave of attack. The visitors held on to late in the second half with veteran goalkeeper Alan Blackwood who played for United in the 1997 Clarence Cup Final in excellent form. United’s equaliser came from Gregg Allison whose powerful shot from outside the penalty area flew into the net. United were now on the ascendency but they took their eye of the game immediately after scoring and paid the penalty as a Seapatrick forward burst into the penalty area to rifle a shot past Coburn in the United goal. Despite a valiant effort United could not get a second equaliser.

This weekend United will return to league action with a home game against St. Luke’s with a 7.30pm kick off.

Ballynahinch United 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner

Ballynahinch United would like to invite all past and present players, managers, officials and supporters to join us for a gala evening to celebrate our 50 year anniversary.

Taking place at 7pm on Friday 19th October 2018 in the Millbrook Lodge, Ballynahinch.

To book tickets, contact Anto 0796 382 2291, Gareth 0752 544 0950 or ballynahinchunited@hotmail.com.

Tickets are £40 (single), £75 (couple) or £350 (table of 10).

The night will be hosted by BBC Sport NI pundit Liam Beckett MBE with music from The Renegades on what promises to be a great night. Dress is black tie gala.

Stay tuned for news of some sporting memorabilia which will be raffled off on the evening!

50th

Match Report: Ballynahinch United 6 v 1 Groomsport (01/09/18)

A sun drenched Millbridge hosted a Border Cup first round tie against Groomsport who were visiting the ground for the second time in a fortnight. Manager Glynn Robinson went into the game without at least half a dozen regulars and he also chose to give full debuts to teenagers Conor Graham and Johnny Shannon leaving another three regulars on the bench. Also making his debut was goalkeeper Niall Tyndall whose handling was excellent throughout.

The early exchanges were fairly even however United started to dominate creating numerous openings through the efforts of Greg Allison on the right and Alex Burtney on the left. In central midfield Gavin Crawford and Jordan Hayes worked tirelessly while the new but very effective defensive line out of Johnny Shannon, Conor Graham, Ben Wilson and Davy Boal looked solid. Having spurned a number of decent scoring opportunities which included several excellent saves by the visiting keeper United took the lead on 25 minutes when Ian McMullan tapped in from close range following a goal mouth scramble.

On the half hour mark United were awarded a penalty when Johnny Stevenson was bundled over. The big striker dusted himself down and took the spot kick however it was well saved by the Groomsport keeper down to his right hand side.

Five minutes later Groomsport broke on the right wing and although their forward looked offside he smashed a shot past Tyndall to make the score 1 – 1 at half time.

Early in the second half manager Glynn Robinson made a few planned substitutions bringing Alan Patterson on in defence and Jack Davis in midfield.

In the 55th minute Ian McMullan ran onto a pass from Stevenson and slotted the ball into the net. Minutes later Jack Forbes was brought into the action and he pounced on a loose ball to head the ball into the net to make it 3 – 1.

On the hour mark it was 4 – 1 as Ian McMullan got his hat trick when he intercepted a back pass to run past the keeper and slot the ball home.

Jack Forbes, Jack Davis and Alex Burtney were making a nuisance of themselves across midfield as they latched onto clearance after clearance feeding numerous passes into the penalty area.

Forbes got his second goal when he and Stevenson combined for the latter to fire the ball into the net form ten yards and the hard working Stevenson got a deserved goal when he ghosted into the penalty area to take the ball past the tackles of several defenders to shoot home.

The score line of 6 – 1 was a deserved result for the home side who worked tirelessly throughout. Groomsport never gave up at any time and played some neat football at times.

There is no match this week due to the Northern Ireland International so the next action is expected to be on Saturday 15th September.