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New Balance International Cup 2017

The Tulla United Under 14 squad travelled to Huddersfield in the U.K. from Jul 25th to 29th for the New Balance International Cup and captured the Under 14 Cup competition beating Shelley FC from Huddersfield 3-2 in the final.

The New Balance International Cup is a multi-age tournament held annually at various U.K. venues and it attracts teams from all over the world. In the group stages of the competition Tulla had a narrow 3-2 victory over their first opponents, Strikers United from Boston, with goals from Dara Ryan, Ian MacNamara and Adam O'Neill. In the second group game, against ASD Omnia Phoenix from Palermo, Tulla took an early lead against the Italians when Diarmuid Molloy's free-kick was parried by the Italian keeper and Darragh Keogh was first to react to nod home the rebound. Despite strong pressure from the Italians, Tulla defended their narrow advantage for the rest of the game with Arron Curtis in goals and T.J. Dillon outstanding at the heart of their defence. In the final group game v Qualitas from Derby, Ian MacNamara's through ball was slotted home by Adam O'Neill in the 10 minute to give Tulla a 1-0 lead. Luke Woodrow was called on to make two important saves to preserve Tulla's advantage but the English side grabbed a late equaliser which still left Tulla topping their group.

In the knockout stages, Tulla again faced Italian opposition in their semi-final and again took an early lead when Adam O'Neill was on hand at the near post to put away Ian MacNamara's low cross from the right. The Italians dominated possession but they were twice denied by Tulla keeper Aaron Curtis, who had trials in July for the Irish Under 15 squad. Curtis made two excellent point-blank saves and clawed away a header high up to his left to keep the Italians at bay. Despite a lot of second-half pressure, Tulla held out for a 1-0 win, to qualify for the final.

Shelley F.C. from Huddersfield were Tulla's final opponents and it was midfielder Fionn Hickey who gave the Clare boys an early advantage after Adam O'Neill blocked a defenders attempted clearance into his path. Tulla were dominating the early exchanges and they doubled their lead when Ruairi O'Sullivan set up Darragh Keogh for a powerful 25 yard shot to the left hand corner of the net. The exertions of a four day tournament started to tell as the half wore on and Shelley pulled one back in the 20th minute and 5 minutes before half-time they grabbed a deserved equaliser from the penalty spot. In the second-half both sides had chances, the best of which fell to Diarmuid Molloy and he cracked a great right footed effort off the crossbar with 10 minutes remaining. Just when it looked like the final was heading for a penalty shoot out, Ronan Dooley beat two defenders on the right hand side and whipped in a low cross that Sean Withycombe tucked away at the back post to seal a dramatic last minute win. After the final, Darragh Keogh was presented with Under 14 New Balance International Cup and the squad received their medals from the tournament organisers.

On the first day of their visit to the U.K., the Tulla squad were guests of Premier League club Burnley F.C. at their recently redeveloped Training Centre and played an 80 minute friendly against Burnley FC'S Under 13 Academy side. After a tremendous contest that saw great performances from Eoin McCarthy, Liam O'Mahony, Donal Sheedy and Jack McSweeney, Tulla went down by 4-2 with their goals coming from Adam O'Neill and Darragh Keogh. The travelling party were then given a tour of the training centre that opened in May 2017, where they saw the Premier League clubs state of the art training facilities including the first team changing area that is home to the clubs very prominent Republic of Ireland contingent of Jeff Hendrick, Robbie Brady, Stephen Ward and Jonathan Walters. During their five day trip to the U.K., the Tulla United squad also took in a pre-season friendly at Valley Parade between Bradford City and Newcastle United, before returning home on Saturday evening last.

The Tulla United squad were: Aaron Curtis, Luke Woodrow, T.J. Dillon, Donal Sheedy, Darragh Keogh, Dara Ryan, Jack McSweeney, Diarmuid Molloy, Ian MacNamara, Sean Withycombe, Fiachra Hale, Ruairi O'Sullivan, Neil Callaghan, Adam O'Neill, Eoin McCarthy, Ronan Dooley, Liam O'Mahony, John Moloney, Eric Bergqvist, Niall Borrmann, Emmet Lynch, Fionn Hickey.

U14 Burnley Trip
U14 Burnley Trip
U14 New Balance International Cup 2017
New Balance International Cup 2017

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