‘Sixy’ Ballymacash complete the set

For a double page spread on Ballymacash YM's historic victory, make sure you get this week's STAR! US1452-548cd  Picture: Cliff Donaldson
For a double page spread on Ballymacash YM's historic victory, make sure you get this week's STAR! US1452-548cd Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Ballymacash Young Men hammered Warren YM 6-1 in the Ironside Cup final at Stanley Park on Boxing Day in a fiesty final which saw three players sent off and several yellow cards handed out.

The win gives Ballymacash their first ever Ironside Cup success and also means they have now won every trophy in the South Antrim League.

Ballymacash players celebrate a goal against Warren YM during the Boxing Day Ironside Cup final between , at Stanley Park. US1452-542cd  Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Ballymacash players celebrate a goal against Warren YM during the Boxing Day Ironside Cup final between , at Stanley Park. US1452-542cd Picture: Cliff Donaldson

The first free-kick of the game was awarded after 75 seconds and Ballymacash took full advantage of it. They gained an early lead when Ryan Graham headed home the opener. He had scored four in the semi-final win over Braniel YM and he certainly wasn’t over-awed by the occasion of the Cup final as he went on to hit a hat-trick.

However, even that wasn’t enough to pick up the accolade of the top performer on the day. He was out-done by Jordan Johnson. He picked up the man of the match award after pulling all the strings for a rampant Ballymacash. Johnson was was an ever-present threat out on the right with his pace and power.

Warren probably had the better scoring chances in the first-half but ‘Cash were always dangerous and added a second goal on 35 minutes. Stuart Williamson had come on as a substitute two minutes earlier but he got into the pace of the game immediately by providing a stunning finish low into the corner of the net.

It got worse for Warren when Jonny Kerr was sent-off for a two-footed challenge, meaning they were two goals down and reduced to ten men at half-time.

Ballymacash captain Philip Crowe (centre) with team manager Willie Johnston and coach Davy Waterworth after the Boxing Day victory against Warren YM in the Ironside Cup final at Stanley Park. US1452-546cd  Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Ballymacash captain Philip Crowe (centre) with team manager Willie Johnston and coach Davy Waterworth after the Boxing Day victory against Warren YM in the Ironside Cup final at Stanley Park. US1452-546cd Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Ballymacash came back out with all guns blazing again in the second-half, but the next big incident was a double sending off. Chris Cairns and Martin Greenfield fell in a tangle, but Ballymacash’s Greenfield was unfortunate to get his marching orders.

Two more goals followed for ‘Cash through Graham and Johnson, who deservedly got on the score-sheet.

Mark Donaghy pulled one back for Warren to make it 4-1 but the closing three minutes brought two more Ballymacash goals in almost comical tap-in situations, although not in the slightest funny for Warren.

Johnson added his own second soon after and then the stage was cleared for Graham to completed his hat-trick, both of those late goals coming from goal-line situations.

A fitting finale it was to the tournament and one that will live long in the memory for everyone involved with Ballymacash YM.

The South Antrim League, though, must be happy enough with a bumper Boxing Day attendance.