Just Us United 10  - Ballinamallard Select 9

  It's not often that the bars of Sweet Caroline are heard blasting from Fisher Park, Ballinamallard.

  The well-known song was played after a group from the group for adults with disabilities, Just Us played a selection of Ballinamallard United players. Following the presentation of medals to the Just Us United team and a trophy, all players joined in a circle and had a dance and a singsong.

Impartial Reporter: Just Us United vs Ballinamallard Select

  In what was a competitive and spirited game, Just Us United beat Ballinamallard ten goals to nine, there were perhaps four goalies in the goals at one point, but all was in good fun in this friendly match.

Impartial Reporter: Clodagh Rooney receiving her medal from Harry McConkey

  A warmup and skills session took place before the match with the Just Us players showing the Ballinamallard players some of the skills that they have built up over the past number of weeks where they have been learning and training under their coach Harry McConkey, the football sessions took place with the support of funding from the Community Fund at Ballinamallard United Football Club.

Impartial Reporter: Just Us United vs Ballinamallard Select

Some of the most jubilant celebrations came during the skills session when players were practising their shooting drills:  there were jumps in the air, shouts of support from the sidelines, and some stylish punches to the air.

Harry McConkey is his own inimitable style relayed stories of some of the players to the watching crowd, those he spoke about beamed as he recognised them and their stories. 

Impartial Reporter: Just Us United vs Ballinamallard Select

  Of course, there were many smaller but equally as impressive victories, dribbling the ball, passing the ball and finally building up the courage to kick the ball.

Just Us captain, Alanna Woods said: “It was amazing, it was my first time being a captain, I enjoyed scoring the goals and making new friends. I am very proud of the team.

Impartial Reporter: The Just Us team.

“It was like family, the team is like family, especially Harry McConkey.”

When asked how it felt to lift the cup, she said: “It felt amazing, really amazing.”

Impartial Reporter:

Harry McConkey, manager for the Just Us Utd group said: “It’s just lovely as they have worked so hard for the last four weeks, we have a great appreciation for the lads who came out tonight from Ballinamallard who gave them a real good game.

“They are all first-team players, their season is over and I am sure they are ready for a good rest but we didn’t let them rest tonight, we were right in their faces.”

Impartial Reporter: Harry McConkey offers some last minute advice before kick-off.

Player, Shelley Cowan was relaxing in the Club House as she said: “I am so proud.

“I lost a couple of nails on the pitch, but it was well worth it, we have loads of special memories.”

Player Kieran Kent said: “We won and we were very good, three weeks ago we were just practising and were getting good, we finally got to play tonight, we scored goals, I passed to my friend and he scored a goal.”

Impartial Reporter: Noreen McCuskey and grandson, Mark Dixon.

Six players from Ballinamallard United Football Club pulled on their boots for the match and were given a good run, Mark Stafford, one of the players said: “I didn’t know what to expect coming down, but knowing Harry and what he puts into the community, I knew it would be a fun-filled event with music and different things. It felt very worthwhile to do and to help.”

Impartial Reporter: The Ballinamallard Select Team

Following the match, they signed some autographs for the JustUs players.

The group have grown in confidence and skills over the past number of weeks but ultimately they just wanted to come out and have a good time.

Impartial Reporter: Just Us United vs Ballinamallard Select

Graham Kent, Chairman of JustUs said: “I am absolutely delighted to see these adults have such a good time, they were tough opponents but we beat them.

“We went from the first night where we ran away from the ball, we were sitting on the ball and the only opponent they were putting pressure on was the barman here, it was all about the social aspect.”

Impartial Reporter: Celebrations for Just Us Utd


More information on the Just Us group can be found by visiting their Facebook group, JustUs.

Just Us United:  Alanna Woods (C), Shelley Cowan supported by Tracey Lucia Farry,  Greig Allan, Cora Bogue, Mark Dixon, Mark Presho, Mark Joseph McCafferty, Kiaran Kent, Siobhan May, Clodagh Rooney, Nicole Strain, David Kelly and Darragh Murphy.

  Ballinamallard Select:  Mark Stafford, Darragh Byrne, Ben McCann, Alex Holder, Josh McElwaine, Jamie Wray.