Awards Night

Saturday 3rd of May saw Ballynahinch United hold their annual dinner and presentation of awards in the Primrose Bar, Ballynahinch. As usual there were a large number of committee, players and supporters in attendance.

Following a very enjoyable meal which was to the usual high standards of the Primrose Bar the Club Chairman Gilbert Cromie officially welcomed everyone. Summarising the past year the Chairman expressed his sadness that the Club’s Third team ‘Albion’ had to withdraw from the league due to a shortage of players and it was his hope that it would be restored once again next season. He made particular mention of the outstanding work of the management teams of Keith Hamilton, Colin Murray, Davy Teggarty, Johnny McGreevy and Paul Allison and he paid tribute to the commitment of the players both at training and on the field of play.

He highlighted the vital work of the club officers and committee and very importantly the faithful supporters and sponsors who make such an important contribution. Special mention was made of the long-time contributions of senior club members Jimmy Brown and Winston Brown for all the hours they put in maintaining the facilities and faithful supporters Billy Hamilton and his wife Sally who never miss a home or most away matches with Sally providing sandwiches for all home fixtures which is much appreciated.

Turning to the club awards the Chairman congratulated and made a presentation to first team goalkeeper Bryan McMullan who has been included in the Northern Amateur League squad for the amateur International against their Scottish counterparts which took place at Killyleagh on Saturday 10th May.

The Chairman then invited the management teams to come forward and present the awards for the 2013/14 season which were as follows:

Ballynahinch Swifts
Player’s Player – Aaron McCaffrey and Alan Massey [shared]

Managers Player – Shaun Bonner
Leading Scorer – Aaron McCaffrey

Ballynahinch United
Player’s Player – Scott Brashaw

Managers Player – Scott Brashaw

Leading Scorer – Ian McMullan
Club Young Player of the Year – JJ Carlisle

A signed shirt was presented to the first team attendant Steven Jess who is standing down from the role due to family commitments although he will remain on the committee.

The very popular and much sought after Golden Boot award was introduced by club stalwart Wilson Hamilton and through numerous comic moments and false trails to both hint but keep the audience and recipient guessing to the last possible moment the winner was announced as Ross Hayes to rapturous applause.

Ballynahinch United 1 v 0 Grove United

United entertained Grove United in this league fixture at Millbridge last Saturday and having defeated the Belfast Shore Road side the previous week in a close encounter the same difficult game was expected.

It was the home team who were on the attack from kick off with JJ Carlisle and Lee Maxwell combining well on the right wing with Stuart McMullan and Johnny Gibson providing a similar threat on the left flank.

After forcing a series of corners it was United who would score what turned out to be the only goal of the game in the 15th minute. Johnny Gibson did extremely well to keep an over hit cross from going out of play which deceived the Grove defence and when he managed to cross the ball onto the edge of the six yard area Gavin Crawford was standing unmarked to head home off the inside of the post.

Throughout the game United’s defence of JJ Carlisle, Scott Brashaw, Ross Hayes and Stuart McMullan were resolute and with Brian McMullan in commanding form, Grove never really created any serious goal threat despite having some good possession.

In midfield Aaron Cheevers worked tirelessly alongside Ian Boal and Gavin Crawford while Ian McMullan was always an attacking threat but little fell his way. Gregg Alison and Davy Boal provided extra support when they came on and even though it wasn’t a convincing display it was nevertheless a deserved victory with another clean sheet being a bonus.

This week United travel to Ballywalter Rec. for a league fixture.

Saintfield United 1 v 4 Ballynahinch United

Ballynahinch United’s recent good run of one defeat in seven league and cup games continued with this important league win away to local rivals Saintfield United. The hosts have been struggling of late however United manager Keith Hamilton would not underestimate their ability to cause an upset. He was delighted to be able to field a full squad except for the suspended David Boal and bringing in new signing Owen Bassett to the match day fourteen.

Saintfield United started off brightly but just as they were settling into the game they were caught out by a quick move which saw Aaron Cheevers put Ian McMullan through to beat the offside trap to round the keeper and slot the ball into the net.

The lead did not last for long as Nick Ross nipped in to get the equaliser for the home side. The remainder of the first half saw both teams cancel each other out with the majority of the play taking place within the central midfield area.

The visitors came out for the second half with a renewed determination and in the 50th minute Ian McMullan gave them the lead when he headed home from a Lee Maxwell corner. Within a matter of minutes the lead had been increased to 3-1 when Simon Jackson crossed for Gareth McMullan to slip the ball home after some fancy foot work and score his first goal since his recent return to the club.

Saintfield who were being captained by former Ballynahinch United player Craig Bowman worked tirelessly with the Softley brothers in fine form however Crawford, Hayes, Brashaw, Stuart McMullan and JJ Carlisle were solid defensively while keeper Brian McMullan’s handling was excellent.

The game was put out of the home teams reach when Aaron Cheevers was flattened in the penalty area and when he gathered himself up he struck a brilliant spot kick into the net to claim all three points.

Manager Keith Hamilton was able to use his substitute’s bench to the full with Bassett on his club debut, David Kelly and Johnny Gibson giving his team a fresh impetus and causing the home team considerable defensive problems with their direct approach.

Saintfield did press hard to get back into the game and they created a number of chances that had they been taken could have caused Ballynahinch some uncomfortable moments.

This week Ballynahinch United are at home to NAFL Division 1C side Bryansburn Rangers in an Intermediate Cup tie. The kick-off is at 1.30pm and this is the last home game at the Millbridge in 2013 so it would be nice to see a big crowd down to cheer the team on.

Ballynahinch United 0 v 2 Coagh United


United entertained Irish League Championship Division 1 side Coagh United at Millbridge on Saturday before a large crowd, swelled by a big contingent from the County Tyrone village.

The early exchanges were quite even but as the game developed it was United who had the lion share of the play forcing a number of corners and interceptions from the Coagh United keeper.

The midfield of Hunter, Patterson, JJ Carlisle and Stuart McMullan were supplying good quality balls to Cheevers in particular who was causing all sorts of problems however no real scoring opportunities were created although Alan Patterson did cause the Coagh keeper to spill a few balls from crosses. Defensively United were strong with Boal, Hayes, Brashaw and Herron on top of anything that the visitors threw at them however it was obvious that they were going to be dangerous on the break.

Indeed that would be how the opening Coagh goal would come about when a long ball out from their defence fell kindly for their forward and as Hayes went to challenge him he noticed keeper Brian McMullan off his line and he lobbed a delicate shot over his head and into the net.

In the second half United continued to play neat attractive football and shortly after half time it took a superb save from the Coagh keeper to deny Stuart McMullan an equaliser. Soon after Coagh made it 2-0 when an attacking move down the left wing ended with a shot into the net from close range to give McMullan no chance.

United battled on in search of an equaliser and despite maintaining a good share of the play they failed to get on the score sheet. Substitutes Jay Smyth, Scott McKibbin and first team debutant McCauley Foster were introduced during the second half and they maintained the fluidity of the team but they were unable to break down an experienced and well drilled Coagh defence.