AS THE Cavalry Park Under-19 team lifted the League Cup aloft at New Dundas Park in Bonnyrigg, not only did this signal the squad’s seventh accolade of the 2011/2012 season, it also brought down the curtain on a busy cup final season for the Edinburgh and Lothians youth football players.
With more than 50 final showpieces having taken place between March and June across a variety of locations, it is clear Edinburgh and the Lothians are blessed with some very talented and promising young footballers.
Hutchison Vale, a club renowned for having produced some of the finest youth players since its inception in 1940, once again dominated both the Under-13 and Under-14 sections with both squads taking nothing less than 13 titles between them, which included both the Scottish Youth and Sportsassist South East Region Cups.
The 13s squad, led by head coach Alan McConnell, proved to be head and shoulders above their respective opponents in cup competitions, winning handsomely on a number of occasions. With a solidity through the spine of the team, and star player and Captain Alistair McCann leading by example, this squad of players were always destined to achieve great things this year, and so they proved.
The 14s, on the other hand, were defeated in only one cup clash, losing 2-1 to divisional rivals Cavalry Park in the Kenny McLean Cup after a pulsating encounter at Saughton Enclosure. However, despite being absorbed with players who are destined to go on and play at a higher level, the club also possess the luxury of having such a large squad to deploy on the field, which often resulted in many being left disappointed at only managing to find a place on the substitutes’ bench. Nevertheless, they can all consider themselves to have contributed in some way or another to a season they can look back on with fond memories.
Tynecastle 15s replicated the success of Hutchison Vale 14s, proving victorious in cup football but just coming up short in one, losing 1-0 in the final of the Division One League Cup to a stubborn Edina Hibs side who also narrowly missed out on the league title finishing second behind champions Hutchison Vale. Meanwhile, in Division Three, Leith Athletic 97s reinforced their supremacy by winning all 22 matches played to claim their league championship by 14 points.
The 16s section proved to be a much more even affair however, with no fewer than six different winners in cup competitions across three divisions. Tynecastle suffered heartache on a national front, losing on penalty kicks in the final of the Scottish Youth Cup, and also came up short at the final hurdle in the Sportsassist South East Region Cup meaning the season ended empty-handed for the Tynecastle players. Edina Hibs proved fruitful in 2012, winning league Division One and picking up the Steve Maskrey Cup along the way. Star A CYP also managed a league and cup double in Division Two and despite taking the Third Division title by the narrowest of margins, Currie Star failed to reach the final of the Division Three League Cup and Longniddry Villa stepped in to take advantage.
Despite success in the Sportsassist South East Region and Craig Gowans Memorial Cups, Tynecastle 17s were unable to clinch the Division One league title as Haddington Athletic proved to be too strong on this front, winning the championship by nine points. There were cup final victories too for Musselburgh Windsor, Edinburgh City, Spartans FC, and – against all the odds after a disappointing finish of ninth place in Division Two – Craigroyston took the Division Two League Cup after defeating Redhall Star at Saughton Enclosure.
Cavalry Park dominated proceedings in the 19s section, winning six of the eight cup final appearances they made. However, they were pushed hard in several of those matches, none more so than by Hillfield Swifts, who defeated Cavalry Park twice on their way to securing both the Bob Bankier Trophy and Federation of Hibs Supporters’ Cup. Tynecastle 19s were the other cup victors winning League Cup B after a 4-1 defeat of Musselburgh Windsor Colts at Ainslie Park.
Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic A 21s not only clinched the Division One league championship, a feat they have secured for the past three seasons, the Midlothian-based side also tasted cup glory in the final of the William Johnston Cup. Leith Athletic also secured a league and cup double, taking the Division Two title ahead of Hutchison Vale and a 1-0 victory over Tranent Juniors also landing them the John Murphy Trophy. However, Broxburn Athletic Colts, Tynecastle, Tranent Juniors, Hutchison Vale and Edinburgh City will all be content after earning some silverware of their own over the course of the season.