Five boys from Motherwell’s U17s played their part as Lanarkshire’s boys’ team won the football competition at the 2011 International Children’s Games.
’Well 15-year-olds Mark McRoberts, Danny McNulty, Scott Stevenson, David Ferguson and Dominic Thomas joined Dylan McGuigan, Josh Taplin and Daryl Bulloch from Hamilton Accies to form the Lanarkshire boys’ team.
During the six games they played, the team scored an astonishing 69 goals, conceding just two, and racking up scorelines of 10-0, 26-0, 5-0, 17-1, 7-0 and 4-1 against, respectively, Rave na koroskem (Slovenia), Sialkot (Pakistan) and Medias (Romania), Tralee (Ireland) in the quarter-finals, Sentilj-Ruse (Slovenia) in the semis and Sparta (Greece) in the final.
Lanarkshire hosted the 2011 International Children’s Games, with the boys and girls football events – sponsored by construction and property development company CCG – being held at Hamilton Palace Sports Grounds.
[pullquote]We had several really good performances – a lot of teams were quite defensive against us because they knew of the quality we had going forward.[/pullquote]
The Lanarkshire girls team played superbly over the three days of the competition to take the silver medal, but the boys went one step further to become gold medallists and retain the title won by Lanarkshire last year in Bahrain.
Team Lanarkshire boys’ football coach Willie McNab said: “It’s a tremendous achievement – the boys deserve everything they got.
“The team bonded really well and improved us as a unit as a result, and I think they have all become really friendly with one another.
“We didn’t put a lot of pressure on the boys and I think in the end their personalities have shone through on the pitch. We had several really good performances – a lot of teams were quite defensive against us because they knew of the quality we had going forward.
“That meant the boys had to be quite patient and bide their time, which they did particularly well and got rewarded for it in the end.”
Willie also spoke in glowing terms of the Games as a whole. He said: “The Games have been wonderful. From the opening ceremony to the staff and volunteers, the accommodation, the transportation… Everything has been first-class. It’s also amazing the way the pitches were today – how the groundstaff got them playable was nothing short of a miracle.
“This is my first time being involved with the ICG and it’s been superb.”
’Well youth Dominic Thomas added: “I am delighted we have won – it’s what we set out to do three months ago when the team came together. We’ve achieved our goal so what more could you ask for?
“I scored 14 goals in the tournament and they were all good goals so I’m really happy. All the games we have won we have done so by a convincing scoreline so it’s been a great team performance.
“Our team spirit is great and has grown during the last three months and we are all the best of pals now.
“The Games have been absolutely brilliant. If I could give anyone advice it would be if you get asked to go to the ICG throw yourself at it. It’s been a wonderful experience.”