A number of good recent wins have helped Rosario’s U16 squad to the South Belfast Youth League title.

On Saturday 28 April, and after 29 league games, the destiny of the title was finally decided in a tough encounter against Ards Rangers.

Ards, being one of the league’s top teams, gave a spirited performance with great pace on both wings making sure the Rosario defence were kept on their toes.  Rosario’s defence, as they have all season, stood strong and effectively repelled the few attacks Ards were able to muster.

Early nerves were obvious with McGonigle, Colaluca, Whiffen and Devlin lacking composure when presented with decent chances.

Man of the Match Whiffen’s magical touches and clever inter-play were an obvious strength in this Rosario performance.

Not only did he create a number of chances for his team-mates but his defensive work was excellent throughout.

As the first half drew to a close Rosario seemed to be running out of ideas and seemingly Ards were growing in confidence as a result. The second period began with the Rosario team upping the ante and they were rewarded with the only goal of the game within a few minutes.

A ball from the left found Devlin and he pounced from close range to force the ball home. Whiffen continued to be Ards’ main tormentor, in the second period, and he, more than any other player, drove his team to the victory and ultimately this title securing display.

The game ended with Ards having ample possession but they were unable to draw level as they found it hard to create any clear chances.

In contrast Rosario created numerous openings but were unable to record a more comfortable victory, which would have been deserved.

The win ensured Rosario were champions and made Monday’s game, against Dunmurry, more of a celebratory procession and one which all involved seemed to enjoy immensely.

On this occasion it was, defender turned attacker, McPeake who took the man of the match accolade, scoring four goals in an all-action performance.

The pick of his goals was a brilliantly executed volley from the edge of the box into the top corner. Rosario’s other scorers on the night were Francis, Colaluca and Murray.

Dunmurry sportingly applauded Rosario onto the field of play as the newly crowned champions.

This has been a truly magnificent league campaign, stretching to 30 games with Rosario winning 24, drawing four and only losing two.

Selecting Rosario’s most consistent player, or players, would be very difficult, if not impossible, as the entire squad have contributed in marvellous fashion to an exceptionally accomplished title winning season.

They played excellent attacking football, built upon solid foundations and a great team spirit.

This team, if they continue their development as a group, should go on to even greater achievements in the coming seasons.  Well done lads.

Speaking for Rosario YFC, our supporters, coaches and mentors – thanks for the success, ability, commitment, attitude, discipline you have shown throughout and ultimately the marvellous memories you have afforded all involved. On 14 May Rosario have a chance to lift the cup, when they take on arch-rivals Aquinas in what promises to be a mouth-watering encounter.

ROSARIO’S title wining squad: Mark Hynes, Rory Hughes, Matthew McCamley, Joel O’Hara, Daire McPeake, Dominic McConville, Domhnall Nugent, Donal Smyth, Ryan Murray, Michael McGonigle, Conor Francis, Lawrence Whiffen, Conal McGarry, Mark Patterson, Matthew Colaluca, Daniel Devlin, Daniel McDonald and Jack Hagans.