Holders Linfield Rangers got their hands on the Harry Cavan Youth Cup once again with a gritty display against Cliftonville Strollers.
The Blues bossed the first half of the all-Belfast encounter at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park this evening.
But they had to withstand some decent Cliftonville attacks in the second period as they secured a 2-0 win to retain the trophy.
Linfield came flying out of the traps and were ahead after just 60 seconds, Ethan Wynne slamming the ball home from an angle 12 yards out.
Blues striker Adam Carroll linked up well with Ben Wylie on 20 minutes but Wylie’s effort was blocked by the Reds defence and moments later Carroll scooped an effort over the top. And then the striker fired a shot straight at Cliftonville keeper Declan Dunne from distance.
Cliftonville forward Ronan Hamill blazed a shot over the bar from an angle after making space for himself.
On 27 minutes the Reds’ Padraig Slane produced a good delivery from a free-kick but it was cleared by the Linfield defence.
With Linfield manager David Healy looking on, Bryan McCarroll’s side grabbed their second five minutes later.
Ruairi O’Hare played a long ball for man of the match Carroll to run on to and the striker quickly unleashed a shot from just outside the penalty area which took a deflection off a Cliftonville defender and spun high over Dunne’s head before dropping into the back of the net.
With Linfield’s Jake Corbett and Lewis Harrison dictating play in the middle of the park, the Reds found it difficult to make any headway. And Linfield had the final chance of the half when Trai Hume’s close range effort hit his own man and drifted wide.
At the start of the second period the Reds upped the ante with Caoimhin McConnell driving them on.
Linfield left back Cai Gemmill produced an excellent block to snuff out a razor sharp Cliftonville move which had substitute Nathan McFadden at the heart of it. Minutes later Hamill just failed to connect with an inviting cross into the area.
Strollers sub Eoin Teggart produced a great delivery across the face of goal before Hamill set up Donal Rocks but his shot slid wide of the target.
In the 75th minute a sweeping Cliftonville move ended with Linfield keeper Scott Pengelly producing a fine block from a close range Teggart drive.
Cliftonville continued to push forward, however the well drilled Linfield defence withstood their attacks and the game petered out.
Declan Dunne, Nathan Heath, Ciaran Donnelly, Caoimhin McConnell, Joe Craig (captain), Dylan Snodden, Donal Rocks, Paul McAdorey, Ronan Hamill, John Savage, Padraig Slane.
Substitutes: (used) Nathan McFadden, Eoin Teggart, Ronan Conn; (not used) Modestus Ogunwa, Aidan McGeown.
Linfield Rangers: Scott Pengelly, Thomas McComb, Cai Gemmill, Lewis Harrison, Ruairi O’Hare, Trai Hume, Ethan Wynne, Jake Corbett (captain), Adam Carroll, Ben Wylie, Lewis Quinn. Substitutes: (used) Jack Scott, Callum McVeigh, Mark Green; (not used) Tomas Gilmour, Craig Simpson.