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u17s Win Tournament

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Our u17s had a great few days in northern France, culminating in winning the 26th International u17 ESMGO Tournament, staged at Stade Maurice Baquet in Gonfreville l’Orcher, near Le Havre, in Normandy.

As well as the local side Gonfreville, fellow French sides Guingamp (Ligue 1), Clermont (Ligue 2) and Le Havre (Ligue 2) took part, plus four invited guests being ourselves, Leicester City, Den Haag (Dutch Eredivisie) and FK Senical (Slovakia). The Dutch and Slovakian sides are very experienced and well developed at youth academy level and take part in many foreign tournaments.

On the Saturday we defeated Le Havre 2-0 in our opening fixture, goals from Lewis Ferguson and Sean Slaven. Next up on Sunday morning was FK Senica and we defeated them 1-0 with a goal from Callum Sheridan. Those two wins guaranteed us a semi final but the final group game v Clermont would determine the group winners, with Accies only needing a draw to top the group and face the Group A runners up. On the Sunday evening v Clermont we drew 1-1, with our goal amazingly coming from ‘keeper Jon McCracken’s free kick from the halfway line in the final minute!

On Monday we faced Den Haag in the semi final and won 3-1 in a good game, goals from Callum Sheridan and a Sean Slaven double. The final saw us face the other young side (also featuring 2001s) Guingamp on the Monday evening. In front of a full house of around 600 the game was goalless and went to penalty kicks. Both teams had decided to utilise all their subs in the final so all players took part. We therefore had u16s keeper Ross Connelly in goal for the penalty shoot out. We were up first but Dylan Henry missed from the spot. Guingamp then scored, before Steffen Connelly scored, Guingamp missed, Matthew Innes scored, Ross Connelly saved Guingamp’s spot kick, 14 year old Taylor Wilson scored and then Ross Connelly saved again, to make it 3-1 Accies on penalties.

Great celebrations and skipper Rico Quitongo lifted the Cup. We also scooped the fair play / positive attitude award and the best attackers award.

Squad – Jon McCracken and Ross Connelly, Jamie Boyd, Rico Quitongo, Adam Douglas, Danny O’Halloran, Lewis Ferguson, Leon McCann, Callum Sheridan, Dylan Henry, Steffen Connelly, Sean Slaven, Matthew Innes, Taylor Wilson and Deaglan Moynes.

Head of Youth George Cairns and coach Stephen Clarke were delighted with the tournament and to see the season’s efforts reflected with the invitation then the actual win.

We have been invited back to defend the trophy in the 27th tournament next May.

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