Causeway Chronicle

Proud Smith steers County Londonderry to victory

Marty Smith’s County Londonderry side made history as they were crowned SuperCupNI champions for the first time in the county’s history, thanks to a 1-0 win over Tigres UANL from Mexico.

Londonderry took the lead against Tigres in the first minute through Jacob Dallas and held onto that lead until the final whistle to right themselves in the history books.  

Smith couldn’t hold back his emotions after the game.  

“It’s a little bit hard to take in. I’m immensely proud and I told the team before the game that they had someone in that stand that they could make so proud.

“We have done it the hard way defeating Rangers and Manchester United and those sorts of memories are the things are boys will never forget.

The crowd at Ballymena Showgrounds had barely got into their seat when Jacob Dallas broke the deadlock in utterly bizarre fashion.  

The centre-half received the ball and smashed it up field to clear, but Tigres’ keeper Luis Sanchez completely misjudged the bounce of the ball, leading to it flying over his head into the back of the net.  

The crowd at Ballymena were speechless, but it was the perfect start for Marty Smith’s Londonderry side.  The county side used this dream start to fuel a strong opening ten minutes where they looked dangerous every time they went forward.  

But Tigres then started to take hold of proceedings, going close with a Luis Mange free-kick but it was Londonderry who had the next chance through Alfie Gaston.  

The midfielder fired his acrobatic finish just over, after mesmerising stuff from captain Senan Devine to tee him up.  The county side took the single goal lead into the interval at Ballymena.  Like the first-half Londonderry started the better of the two sides and if it wasn’t for a great save by Luis Sanchez they would have doubled their lead.  

Gaston connected sweetly with a volley, but Sanchez dived to his right to tip it around the post.  Bobby Baird then had two headed opportunities from set-piece deliveries, but on both occasions, he headed over the bar.  Gustavo Gonzalez went close for the Mexican side in the 44th minute when he turned expertly to volley, but the shot went agonisingly wide of the post for the Mexican.  Londonderry were given a golden opportunity to double their lead in the 48th minute when Sam McClintock was brought down in the box, but the substitute couldn’t score the penalty he earned.  Sanchez in the Tigres net made up for his earlier error to save brilliantly low down to his right.  It didn’t prove to be costly for Londonderry as they saw the game out in a professional manner to be crowned champions.    

Riada Stadium was treated to a magnificent display by Scottish giants Rangers who downed County Tyrone 4-0 in the Globe Final.  The Scots lifted the Globe in style and there was the added bonus of a golden boot trophy for main man Chrsitopher Eadie.  The striker ran away with the Premier Section golden boot, scoring a further two at Ballymoney to take his final tally to double figures.  

County Armagh beat Surf Select on penalties to win the Bowl while St Kevin’s FC from Dublin, despite being reduced to ten men, beat County Fermanagh 3-2 to be crowned Vase champions. 

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Maurice Bradley