Young Inver Reds gearing up for cup decider

May 9, 2019 | Archive

HUGH McKendry’s under-18 side have just put the final touches to their preparations for National League cup final.

The young Invermen travel to Allen Park in Antrim for the decider against St Oliver Plunkett, with a 7.45pm kick-off.

It caps the end to a promising season, in which the side finished third in their league – a fine first season for the under-18 side.

“We have had good preparation for the game, and we’ll looking forward to getting it played now,” said McKendry.

“The lads finished off the season very strongly, beating Derry Colts 8-1 and going to the Brandywell to win 3-0 against Institute.

“We’ll face a very strong St Oliver Plunkett side, who have only lost once in the league, and that was against us when we won 1-0 at Inver.

“Recently we have also purposely been bringing in more of the under-18’s into the Olympic squad, and the majority of under-18s were playing when we beat Ballinamallard at Inver recently.

“It’s all part of the process of trying to ensure they develop and ultimately see some of them break into the first team.”

McKendry is also looking forward to the test Friday’s final will bring.

“We have a full squad to choose from, and when it come to finals you see the character at players who can deal with that sort of pressure,” he said.

“That’s one of the things we will be looking for, because these sort of occasions are a kettle of fish to league matches.

“When you’re that age you just want to take the winners medal home and it would be nice to end the season like that, but ultimately we want to see them develop and make them ready to push for the first team.

“That’s why the majority of them have all played for the Olympic squad at some point this season and why we have used quite a few under-16s in the under-18 side too.

“Tiernan Lynch, the first team manager, has also been to run his eye over them when they played for the Olympic recently and that is a good incentive for them too.”

“We’d love to see Larne fans along on Friday night to give the young lads their support.”

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