IRISH LEAGUE: Institute youngsters clinch North title

Institute Championship Development League North title winning squad. Picture by Gary Hancock/NIFL
Institute Championship Development League North title winning squad. Picture by Gary Hancock/NIFL

The future certainly looks bright at Institute.

Kevin Deery’s first team squad are possibly four games away from returning to the Premier Division, while the Reserves side clinched the Championship Development League North title.

Under Sean Friars and Ryan McCreadie’s stewardship, the young ’Stute squad finished an impressive six points ahead of Ballyclare Comrades Reserves at the top of the table.

Friars was delighted that the young side produced the goods week in, week out:
“We had a very young under 20s team who won the league with a game to spare and we played some excellent football throughout the campaign,” he said.

“When myself and Ryan started the league the team was made up of 16 and 17-year-olds, with only two 18-year-olds, in a league that is for U20s with the option of five overage first team players, but in almost every game the teams we were facing were using that option against us, but that helped our young players.

“We had a lot of games, particularly from February on, and the committment and professionalism from all the boys was first class.

Joint captain's Cathal Connolly and Caoimhin McCallion celebrate Institute's Championship Development League North title success. Picture by Gary Hancock/NIFL

Joint captain's Cathal Connolly and Caoimhin McCallion celebrate Institute's Championship Development League North title success. Picture by Gary Hancock/NIFL

“Although our league season is finished we still have games remaining in cup competitons, so there’s a chance we could complete a treble.

“We are into the last 16 of the George Wilson Cup having beat Premiership side Ards 2-0 on Saturday and we have a Matt Morrison semi-final against Kilrea to look forward tonight (Friday).

“Myself and Ryan are very proud of what these young lads are achieving but we know there is still a lot more developing that needs to happen but they’re on the right track and I know Kevin is delighted with their progress as he takes the time to have a look at the boys in games and in training.

“There’s quite a few of these boys will be pushing for the first team very soon which is great for the club.”