The JD Club NI 2004s narrowly missed out on being overall winners of the inaugural West Ham United Cup.
The tournament, staged at Premier League side West Ham’s youth academy in London over the weekend, attracted 10 teams from eight different countries.
And the JD Club NI under-14s put in some cracking performances – and just missed out on being overall winners. In their five games the boys in green, coached by Darren Murphy, scored 13 goals and only conceded one.
The players from the Irish FA’s elite development programme began the tournament with a fine 3-0 win against Norwegian side Sandefjord. Conor Falls (two) and Callum Marshall got the goals.
Next up was a game against Canadian side Vancouver Whitecaps. Falls was on target once again, while Shea Curran grabbed the other goal in a 2-0 win.
In their third game Murphy’s boys were excellent against West Ham’s U14s. Falls notched another double in a 5-0 victory. Matty Carson, Noah Stewart and Marshall were also on the scoresheet.
Another Premier League scalp followed with a 3-0 win over Leicester City’s U14 academy side. Again Conor Falls weighed in with a goal. Aaron Pendergast and Dylan Sloan hit the back of the net, too.
The only game the boys in green lost was to the overall winners, Kashiwa Reysol (Japan). And they only lost narrowly: 1-0 to an injury time strike.
Murphy said afterwards: “It was a very successful Easter weekend for the JD Club NI 2004 squad. They played some great football and their performances were excellent throughout.”