The staff, players and parents of the Linfield FC Academy 2012s squad travelled to Manchester on Thursday evening to participate in Academy visits to Liverpool FC and Blackburn Rovers FC.

After good night’s rest, the boys were up and ready to participate in the Etihad Stadium Tour, home of Premier League Champions Manchester City FC.  The boys and all involved really enjoyed the experience and some even bought some merchandise in the MCFC Store.  When the tour was finished and lunch in Asada was consumed the group then boarded their luxury coach and headed for the Liverpool FC Academy for their 11-aside game at 5.30pm, as you can imagine the excitement was through the roof with a singsong passing the time on the way down the road.

The group arrived at the Liverpool FC Academy at around 4.30pm where the boys and staff took part in a short tour of the very impressive facility.  After match prep and a good warm up the 75-minute game commenced with the Linfield FC boys really holding their own and giving a good account of themselves.  During the game Linfield Goalkeeper Jonas Henderson made a great save to keep the game level, and Ronan Laverty and Lucas Moore both came very close to opening the scoring.  The game finished 0-0 against a very strong and skillful Liverpool FC team, a result that the Linfield FC boys really deserved and were all very proud off.

After a good breakfast the Linfield FC boys again boarded their luxury coach and headed for the Blackburn Rovers FC Academy.  The excitement and laughs along the journey are one which made everyone smile and relax.  The second 75-minute game kick-off at 12pm with the Linfield boys having some fantastic chances, Ronan Laverty, Lucas Moore, Aodhan Donnelly & Sam Delargy all came very close to open the scoring against a very skillful and fit Blackburn Rovers team.  As the game went on the Linfield boys started to tire, with 6-minites remaining the very impressive Blackburn Rovers Number 11 scored 2 quick goals to win the game 2-0.  This is a game that the Linfield boys could have won, but credit goes to Blackburn Rovers who play 80-minute games on a weekly basis.  The Linfield boys really did the club proud and made memories that will last a lifetime.  An outstanding effort from the LFC boys over both games against two outstanding Academy teams, we thank them for hosting us and hope to return sometime in the future.

Linfield FC Squad & Staff: 

Jonas Henderson, Cruz O’Neill, Jacob McClean, Alfie Meneely, Olly Roney, Toby Brashaw, Sam Delargy, Callum Parke, Lucas Moore, Joshua Clugston, Ronan Laverty, Reuben Griffith, Aodhan Donnelly, Jamie Holden, Riley Black.

Scott Boyd, Lewis Houston, Alan Moore & Gary McMullan.




Following a day’s rest on Sunday the Linfield FC U12 Academy U12s team met on Monday morning at the Lurgan Town Arena to play a very strong Loughgall team in the Northern Ireland Cup Final.  Before the game the boys didn’t show many nerves as a sense a togetherness and belief in their own ability was very evident.  After a very good warm-up and team talk from the coaching team the game got underway, the unlucky Cruz O’Neill was unfortunate not to open the scoring after one-minute with the very impressive Loughgall goalkeeper making an outstanding save, this would be the first of many saves which he would make across the game.  With around 7-minutes played Jacob McClean played a great cross to Cruz and he finished on the bounce placing the ball into the top right-hand corner of the goal, 1-0.  The boys in the first half had some great chances, Lucas Moore, Ronan Lavery and Aodhan Donnely all could have extended the lead only for the Loughgall goalkeeper to keep them at bay.  The goalkeeper and defensive unit of Jonas Henderson, Alfie Meneely, Man of the Match Olly Roney, Jacob McClean and Reuben Griffith were very strong and provided a positive outlet for the LFC forward players to create chances for the team, a very solid first-half performance.

The second half commenced with Loughgall showing real determination to get back into the game, Joshua Clugston was introduced into the game with Jamie Holden and Toby Brashaw following shortly after, all three players worked well and the second goal game shortly afterwards, with around 41 minutes played Lucas Moore played a great ball from the right into Jamie Holden who calmly slotted into the bottom right to make the game 2-0.  The third came shortly afterwards, Lucas again provided a great cross from the right which Ronan Lavery toed on target, the Loughgall keeper made another great save only for the rebound to be slotted home by Aodhan Donnelly, que the massive applause, 3-0.

With 5-minutes remaining the goal of the game came, Jonas dealt with a long ball launching back up field, the Linfield boys obtained possession and after five passes between the midfield and forward line Alfie Meneely slotted home from 20 yards with all of the boys celebrating this wonderful team goal.  4-0, full-time.  A special shout out must also go to Man of the Match Olly Roney who was a real leader and headed many balls which kept the boys from conceding.

This is an outstanding achievement for these boys who have over the years had challenging and disappointing moments, however, they have stayed strong, showed hard work, positive attitude, belief and resilience and displayed a very mature performance in the Final and across the season, a very proud moment for their coaches, parents and club as a whole, well done to all.  This group now will compete in the All-Ireland Final on Saturday 1st June 2024 in Dublin, COYB……

Cup Final Squad: 

Jonas Henderson, Cruz O’Neill, Jacob McClean, Alfie Meneely, Olly Roney, Toby Brashaw, Lucas Moore, Joshua Clugston, Ronan Laverty, Reuben Griffith, Aodhan Donnelly, Jamie Holden.