Wallace Gemmell Shield Final – 22nd April 2023

A historic day was had on Saturday 22nd April 2023 as Largs Thistle u15s brought home their first piece of silverware in their first season together.

Having fought off strong opposition throughout the cup campaign, Largs met an in-form Valspar in the final, taking a large and vocal crowd with them to Buffs Park, Kilwinning.

A strong start saw Largs with most of the possession, and it wasn’t long before striker Alex Renton had the ball in the net – a deft lob over the keeper from a tight angle. Thistle maintained their pressure, leaving Valspar with very few chances on goal, meaning their equaliser against the run of play stunned the Largs support.

Largs didn’t wait long to restore their advantage, a set piece corner and a bullet header from defender Jayden McBlain leaving the Valspar keeper with no chance just before half time.
Almost immediately after the restart, Valspar again drew level and it looked like they would go on to dominate proceedings when Largs captain Cameron Greenham was shown a straight red card.

Despite the protests, the referee decided the last man tackle was worthy of the sending off when in truth, a 50-50 tangling of feet brought both players tumbling to the deck. But the reduction down to 10 men galvanised the Thistle team, and when substitute John Cole capitalised on a great cross from out wide, you just sensed it was destined to be their day. Thistle in fact could have added a fourth in the dying seconds, with Cameron Blair denied not once, but twice by the Valspar keeper.

There were jubilant scenes at the end for Thistle with players, coaches and fans enjoying what will hopefully be the first of many cups to come.

After the game, and once back home to Barrfields, the boys did a lap of honour, parading the Cup the cheers and applause from supporters during the half-time break of the senior team’s match against Hurlford.