Category: Reserves

Newry City Reserves, MUFL Reserve Champions

Newry City AFC Res 4-2 Coagh United Res

Photo courtesy of Sean Donegan Photography.

Roared on by an enthusiastic support at The Showgrounds the City lads came from behind to win this enthralling encounter and at the same time bagged the MUFL Reserve Championship Title. A strong Coagh side took the lead in the 8th minute with a great strike that gave home keeper Marty Marron absolutely no chance.

Three minutes later the visitors were awarded a penalty but Marty Marron made a superb save to keep the homesters in the game.

City retaliated and in the 14th minute Marcus McKeown accepted a Jordan King pass to slip in a deserved equaliser. McKeown was looking dangerous in an unfamiliar striking role for City and he came close again but keeper William Hassen saved well for Coagh. Paulius Smaryginas smashed in a great 30 yarder to put Newry in front at the 20 min mark. City with Chris McMahon, Josh Durnin and Ryan Quinn all in top form dominated the midfield exchanges as half time was reached.

Goal Scorers: Paulis Smaryginas, Marcus McKeown, Chris McMahon. Photo courtesy of Sean Donegan Photography.


Minutes after the resumption Marcus McKeown put Newry further ahead with a clever finish and in the 68th minute Chris McMahon blasted in a penalty to put Newry 4-1 up. Although Coagh came back strongly to reduce the arrears the City lads were totally focused and determined to finish as winners and took the title in style amidst jubilant scenes at the finish.

Photo courtesy of Sean Donegan Photography.


Newry City Reserve Manager, Gary Redpath commented “This was a fantastic day for the club, we won every home league game this season but the last three league games have shown me how far this group have grown individually and collectively.

We have come through three games of high quality and intensity and even though Coagh put out a very strong, experienced team, we came back from a goal down and really deserved the win. I would also like to thank my team of Kevin D’Arcy, Marty McParland and Barry Treanor who have been fantastic.”

Photo courtesy of Sean Donegan Photography.

Newry City Reserve Captain, Ryan Quinn “It feels so good to say that we won the league, we have played well all season and I believe it was fully deserved. The other thing is Gary and the boys have us playing passing football, so every game has been really enjoyable. Anyone who has been at our games have been entertained.

It’s a great achievement for such a young squad with the average age of 20, I hope that winning the league will help show people that there are good young local lads coming through for Newry.  Hopefully now the first team can play to their best in the play offs next week and bring more success to the club, I wish them the best of luck.

MOTM Chris McMahon. Photo courtesy of Sean Donegan Photography.

Newry Manager Darren Mullen “I’m delighted for Gary and the rest of the lads involved with the reserve team as I know how much time and effort they put into it. To win a league title at any level is never easy but they have won it playing some very good football and those young lads will be all the better for this experience.

We need good young local players coming through and Gary has nurtured some good potential within his squad. Hopefully that will continue for the coming years but for now they will rightly enjoy some deserving success.”

Photo courtesy of Sean Donegan Photography.

Club Captain Chris McMahon commented “Massive congratulations to our reserve team who won the league title on Saturday. Not many players get the opportunity to win a league in their careers so it is a great achievement. This was only able to happen through the entire squads commitment throughout the year. They have a great coaching setup in place and they also deserved this success. It’s a great sign for the club in the future with the quality coming through.”


Newry City AFC Res — Marty Marron, Jordan Coyle, Jordan King, Gerard Mooney, Lee Courtney, Chris McMcMahon, Josh Durnin, Ryan Quinn, Marcus McKeown, Paulius Smaryginas, Cian Feehan. Subs– Brian Hobden, Shealan Fegan, Gavin Conn, Ian Curran, and Jack Heaney.

Coagh United Res — William Hassen, Matthew Sloan, Alvin Ferso, Alex Lees, Tim Grahame, Mark Stewart, Stefan Hogshaw, Jamie Tumilty, Daniel McKinless, Stefan Thompson and Robert Allen.

Reserves Still In The Hunt

Newry City Reserves kept alive their hopes of the Mid Ulster Reserve League title with a hard fought 2-1 win on Wednesday evening at home to Valley Rangers Reserves. A game which started off slowly burst into life after 25 minutes, Newry’s Jordan King pushing forward from left back before swapping passes with Sean McMullan and drilling a shot from 30 yards which the Valley keeper William Charleton did well to tip onto the post. In a strange twist, seconds later play immediately swung to the other end, Valleys Robert McCullough making room for himself on the left wing before he also tried his luck from distance, also unfortunate to see his shot smack the upright.

The home side were gradually getting on top and almost broke the deadlock on the half hour mark, dead ball specialist Paulis Smaryginas hitting a free kick from 35 yards which swerved and dipped on its way to goal, Charleton producing a fine save pushing the ball over his cross bar for a corner. The danger however hadn’t passed, Quinns corner falling to Chris McMahon who had two efforts on goal blocked before the ball was scrambled clear. With 40 minutes on the clock and somewhat against the run of play Valley grabbed the opening goal, Jonathon McMath beating Marty Marron with a low shot from the edge of the box.

The lead however was not to last until half time, McMahon pitching a free kick into the feet of centre forward McMullan, the big man completely losing his marker with a Cryuff turn before laying the ball across the face of goal giving Neil Mullen the simple task of placing the ball past Charleton to leave the score level at the break.

The home side were almost caught cold in the early moments of the second half. With a free kick in the centre circle Valleys Andrew McCoy spotted the chance to take the Newry defence out of the game with a long free kick into the path of McMath who looked sure to score only for a superb sliding block from Mullen. The home side made the most of this reprieve on 50 minutes when King again strode forward, his run taking him inside the Valley penalty area where he was halted by a cynical trip, referee McArdle pointing straight to the penalty spot. With penalty king McMullan stepping up to the spot kick there was only going to be one result, McMullan placing the ball inside the post out of the reach off Charleton for what turned out to be the winning goal.

There was however still a lot of football to be played, Valley who held an outside chance to win the league giving their all to get back into the game but were unable to break a stubborn Newry defence in which the central pair of Gerard Mooney and Neil Mullen stood out. And with the visitors committed to getting back in the game it was obvious that gaps would appear for Newry to close out the game, in the closing moments both McMullan and Thomas McCann passing on chances to seal the win but fortunately for the home side it mattered not as time ran out for a Valley comeback, referee McArdle calling time with Newry leading 2-1.

Relieved to secure the 3 points which keeps his side in with a chance of league glory Newry manager Gary Redpath was also keen to keep his players mind on the final game on Saturday week “That result keeps us in the hunt for the title but there’s nothing won yet. I have left the lads in no doubt that they need to remain focused and to bring the form they have been showing into our last game against fellow title challengers Coagh. Tonight’s win was based on standing up to the physical challenge of a very good Valley team and the foundation for this was led by our centre back pairing of Gerard Mooney and Neil Mullen and with Mully holding the ball up superbly we always had an outlet to get our passing game going. Going a goal behind I thought we fully deserved the win and it could have been more if we had been more clinical. However, I would have taken a single goal win before the game and now we will look forward to the Coagh match.”

Newry Reserves final game of the season is scheduled for Saturday 22nd April at home to Coagh kick off 2:15pm.

Newry Team: Marty Marron, Jordan Coyle, Jordan King, Gerard Mooney, Neil Mullen, Chris McMahon, Josh Durnin, Ryan Quinn, Sean McMullan, Paulis Smaryginas, Thomas McCann. Subs: Marcus McKeown, Cian Feehan, Shealan Fegan, Gavin Conn, Brian Hobden.

Meet the coaches: Michael Keenan

Photo: Michael lining up for the Northern Ireland Over 40’s team recently alongside Newry Manager Darren Mullen & Assistant Manager Raymond Byrne. Photo courtesy of Brendan Monaghan


Name: Michael Keenan

Age: 59

What is your role at Newry? Originally I joined to help “Goose” (Robert Robinson) with a bit of goalkeeping training, which led to me helping out Gerry Flynn and Minto (Peter Murray) with the first team. This gradually became officially known as being the “goalkeeper coach”.

When the old club folded I was keen to ensure it was reformed, which resulted in taking some role on the Management Committee. Having previous experience in Child Protection it was natural for me to take on the role of Child Protection Officer for the club also. Then after the loss of Tommy O’Hanlon the club needed a treasurer and that also fell into my lap somehow!

What are your ambitions for the club? Obviously the main ambition is to progress through the leagues and hopefully get back into the Premiership. Championship must be a minimum. However it is probably more important to develop the club more as a community club with strong under age teams, ladies football and special Olympic teams making it a club for everyone in the area, not just a “first team”.

The Showgrounds is also too good a resource to let go to waste. It would be my ambition to help develop this into a major venue that could be a resource for football throughout the region and enable top-level fixtures to be hosted locally.

How did you get into coaching? By accident really. Started through following my son Rory in the under-age leagues. Most teams don’t have anyone to work with goalkeepers so it was good to help out and to be able to work with him. Once I stopped playing, coaching was then a great way to keep involved in the game.

Who is the most exciting talent in your team? If you consider my team to be the goalkeepers then Paul Hadden is showing great promise – if he grows tall enough he could go a long way in the game.

Who has been the biggest influence on your coaching style? Biggest influence on coaching and football in general was John Fearon who coached/trained me from the age of 11 at the Bosco Youth Club. I’ve seen Manchester United school of excellence coaches recently do what he was doing 50 years ago! Great man and great coach – many footballers in Newry owe him a lot.

Who was the best player you ever coached or managed? Among goalkeepers it would be Andy Coleman – unbelievable shot stopper, great trainer, great attitude and worked very hard to get into the team.

If you could give any young player advice what would it be? Enjoy the game first and then if you work hard at it you might go far.

If you could organise a friendly for your team against any other team in the world who would it be? Barcelona – Messi v Ian Curran would be some contest!

Other than Newry what team do you support? Tottenham Hotspur – since 1967 when we beat Chelsea 2-1 in the FA cup final.

Do you have any nicknames? Not really but I’m usually known as Mickey. Reference to “curly hair” comes from the supporters occasionally.

Who is your footballing hero? Hard to go past big Pat Jennings.

Favourite drink? Red wine – Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. Though I would not say no to a good pint of Guinness.

Favourite food? Indian – the spicier the better

Favourite Film: The Sting

Favourite band: Pink Floyd, just ahead of Rory Gallagher.

What are your interests outside football? Wife, kids and grandchildren.

If you had a super power what would it be? Lucky to have good health and can still play a bit – that’s a good enough super power for me.

NCAFC Awards Night Winners

A fantastic evening was enjoyed by all that attended the Canal Court Hotel last Saturday night for the second annual Newry City AFC Awards Night.

The evening was hosted by Q Radio’s Kevin McAllister, with awards given to the Newry City AFC U15s, U19s, Reserve and First Team.

The full list of winners were as follows:

Under 15s

Players’ Player of the Year: Matthew Taylor

Leading goalscorer: Tiernan Hughes

Manager’s Player of the Year Award: Adam Watson

Under 19s 

Players’ Player of the Year: Stephen King

Leading goalscorer: Josh Cargin

Manager’s Player of the Year Award: Lee Courtney


Players’ Player of the Year: Stefan Martin

Leading goalscorer: Neil Barr

Manager’s Player of the Year Award: Rian Hand

Sam McCullough Memorial Young Player of the Year Award at the club

Josh Durnin

First Team

Leading goalscorer: Sean McMullan

Travel Club Player of the Year: Mark Patton

Website Player of the Year: Mark Lowry (with 40.1% of the vote)

Players’ Player of the Year: Sean McMullan

Manager’s Player of the Year Award: Niall Crilly

Tommy O’Hanlon Memorial Club Player of the Year: Mark Lowry

City Reserves beat the Town!

A three goal winning margin would suggest a comfortable victory for Newry City Reserves against Banbridge Town Reserves at The Showground’s on Wednesday night. However the score line does not reflect that this was a thoroughly competitive match which Banbridge were in right up until the last 10 minutes when Sean McMullan picked the ball up in the middle of the park and leaving his marker in his wake made ground before sliding a pass into the path of Neil Barr who smashed his first time shot into the roof of the net to make the game safe for the home side at 3-0.

The foundations for the victory however had been laid in the first 20 minutes of the first half Newry taking the lead after 12 minutes when Graeme Edgar returned a Banbridge kick out perfectly through a gap in the visiting defence which Keith Johnston ran onto before drilling his shot into the far bottom corner of the net to put the home side a goal up. The advantage was doubled on 20 minutes when Barr chased a seemingly lost cause to the end line, shouldered the covering defender off the ball and from a very acute angle curled the ball around the keeper at his near post, the ball nestling inside the far post to put Newry 2-0.

It was at this stage that Banbridge Town, marshalled at the back by Stephen Greene, became a little more combative getting a foothold in the game. However, against a Newry defence in which Stefan Martin and Micheál Hastewell were both rock steady Banbridge were limited to strikes from outside the area which brought a string of fine saves from the Newry keeper Colm McEvoy.

Newry City AFC: McEvoy, Mooney, Martin, Hastewell, Cargin, Smaryginas, Durnin, McMullan, Edgar, Barr, Johnston, Subs: Crilly, Walker, McCaul.