JOEL TO THE 4; O'Neill's second-half goal show turns Shield tie on its head.
Byline: HARRY ALLEN
JOEL O'NEILL hit four goals in a storming second half for Ballyclare Colts, who came from behind to beat Downpatrick Youth 5-2 in the under-15 quarter final of the Daily Mirror Lisburn Junior Invitational Shield.
It all started so well for Down when 10 minutes into the game a Paul Smith free kick came off the bar and was palmed away by the keeper but Kian Tierney knocked home the rebound.
Downpatrick were the better team in the first half but let themselves down in front of goal.
They were made to pay for their wastefulness at the start of the second half when a run down the right resulted in O'Neill ramming the ball high into the net.
Logan Campbell provided the pass for O'Neill to give Ballyclare the lead with his second goal but this proved shortlived when Ruairi Quinn met a Corey McCoubrey cross at the near post to equalise.
Ballyclare took control and when a Blane Warren cross allowed Jordan Hughes to shoot, the rebound fell to O'Neill who completed his hat-trick.
O'Neill was not finished yet and he outpaced the defence to score his fourth goal before Nathan Sloss finished off the comeback with an inswinging corner kick.
Ballyclare manager Stephen Hughes was pleased with the result and performance, though he did admit they were under the cosh in the opening period.
He said: "Four-goal Joel was our man of the match though centre-half Blane Warren and Nathan Sloss both had excellent games.
"We had a habit of starting well but finishing poorly so it is nice to come on strong in the second half."
Downpatrick boss Billy Logue was delighted with the first half performance, though he agreed they should have scored more goals. He added: "In the second half we simply forgot to defend and wanted to attack all the time. Credit to Caolain Logue who had a great game at centre-half despite being left on his own. Brandon Boyd also had a good game.''
BALLYCLARE COLTS: Glenn Irwin, Michael Warwick, Thomas McKitterick, Nathan Sloss, Blane Warren, Logan Campbell, Isaiah Close, Scott Sempey, Jordan Hughes, Joel O'Neill, Reme Rezmer; subs, Ben Cameron, Adam Surgeoner, Rhys Hemphill.
DOWNPATRICK YOUTH: Shane Campbell, Thomas Fitzsimmons, Caolain Logue, Tom Smyth, Kyle McKeever, Brandon Boyd, Corey McCoubrey, Declan Looney, Adam Jervis, Kian Tierney, Eoin Rooney; subs, Rory Trainor, Ruairi, Quinn, Oistin Devlin, Ryan Cassidy, Niall Kyle McKeever, Brandon Boyd, McCoubrey, Declan , Adam Jervis, Kian , Eoin Rooney; subs, ainor, Ruairi, Quinn, Devlin,
BALL'S AWAY Logan Campbell tries to tackle Tom Smyth
SCORERS Nathan Sloss and Joel O'Neill RS nd
CELEBRATION Ruiri Quinn is mobbed after scoring for Downpatrick U-15
EYES ON BALL Eoin Rooney battles with Nathan Sloss & Blane Warren of Ballyclare
CLOSE CONTACT Declan Looney closes down Blane Warren in Lisburn on Saturday
IN SAFE HANDS Downpatrick keeper Shane Campbell saves from Colts forward Jordan Hughes
LOVELY GLOVELY Ballyclare's Blane Warren tussles with Niall Strange
READY TO GO Ballyclare Colts, above, prepare to face Downpatrick U-15s
SLIDING IN Oistin Devlin comes in to try and block Michael Warwick on Saturday