Ballinamallard United will meet Cliftonville Strollers in the final of this season's Harry Cavan Youth Cup after overcoming Maiden City 2-1 in the second semi-final at Stangmore Park in Dungannon.
Harry Cavan Youth Cup semi-final
Ballinamallard United 2 Maiden City 1
Stangmore Park, Dungannon
8 February 2023
Ballinamallard United: Ben Arnold (32'), Dylan Boyle (44')
Maiden City: Ryan McCreadie (90+2')
As it happened
First half goals by Ben Arnold and Dylan Boyle secured safe passage for the young Ducks who are attempting to win the prestigious silverware for the third time in the club's history.
Initially Maiden City made the early running against a physically stronger Mallards but all they had to show for that early dominance was a free-kick attempt which TJ Begley curled inches past Nathan Hunter's left-hand post.
The Mallards slowly but surely gained a foothold and their captain Aaron Smyton had a goal-bound effort blocked after good work by Daniel Barker on the right.
Kealan Fitzpatrick then had an effort held by City stopper Eoin Haire, while opposite number Hunter got his body firmly behind a Begley volley.
By now though the Ferney Park young guns had taken control and on 32 minutes Barker whipped over a dangerous cross which was swept home by substitute Arnold.
Barker was again the creator-in-chief just a minute before the interval when he outpaced the City rearguard to centre for Boyle to slide the ball into a gaping net.
The Fermanagh side picked up where they left off at the beginning of the second period with Barker slicing wide when well placed.
Thereafter Maiden City probed for an avenue back into the game.
Livewire substitute Dylan McGavigan dashed in from the right to blast into the side netting, fellow replacement PJ Millar fired over from distance and, following an Ethan Doherty free-kick, centre back Peter Tracey ballooned over the bar from just eight yards.
The team from Derry-Londonderry were eventually rewarded for their efforts when McCreadie scored from the penalty spot after a Mallards defender was penalised for hand ball but that goal came too late in the day to change the final outcome.
Ryan Beacom's team now face the young Reds in the decider.
Ballinamallard United: Nathan Hunter, Alex Brownlee (Ben Arnold 26'), Aaron Smyton, Adam Armstrong; Jamie Steele, Alex Magee, Joshua Killilea (Ciaran O'Reilly 70'), Josh Gallagher, Dylan Boyle, Daniel Barker, Kealan Fitzpatrick (Cameron Crook 85'). Subs not used: Shane Speak, Jamie Ray.
Maiden City: Eoin Haire, Conor Moore, Sam Watton, Dylan McGrath, Peter Tracey, Ethan Doherty, Bobby Sweeney, Ryan McCreadie, TJ Begley (Dylan McGavigan 46'), Shea Feeney (PJ Millar 46'), Ryan Strunks (Ben Smith 70'). Subs not used: Cayden McLaughlin, Torin McGlynn.
Referee: Sam Naylor.