Newry City into Mid-Ulster Cup final
A strong Newry squad eased past Loughgall to take their place in this season’s Mid Ulster Cup Final. With five experienced players on the bench the Newry team knew they had to perform and they did from the first whistle to the last. Indeed, such was the Newry dominance that it was their strong running right back Darren King who had the first three chances of the game, hitting both posts with fine headers and then blazing a rasping drive hit at full pace wide when perhaps a steadying touch may have served him better. However, for all the home side’s first half possession they were unable to find a way past the experienced Robinson in the Loughall goal.
It took Newry until the 50th minute to score, when a handball from a corner resulted in a penalty kick which the ever dangerous Marty Havern calmly slotted into the net for a richly deserved lead. Newry were rampant at this stage and only the woodwork from a Hanaphy drive and a superb save full stretch by Robinson from a Havern header denied them a second. The almost inevitable second goal wasn’t long in coming however when a fine attacking move involving Grant and Hanaphy saw the ball fall to Havern whose curling shot from the right corner of the box flew into Robinson’s net for a picture goal.
At this stage Hanaphy was in full pomp, mesmerising the visiting defence with his fleet of foot, his skill finally rewarded when a slide rule pass from King gave him a clear sight on goal which he expertly accepted, blasting past the valiant Robinson for Newry’s third and final goal. On a good night for Newry, there was a further boost with the return from injury of James Hand and Darren Freeman, who both had brief substitute appearances. Newry can now look forward to a cup final appearance against Premiership side Glenavon on the 20th March, venue yet to be decided. Newry now travel to play Ballymoney United on Saturday for the 6th round of the Irish Cup. The Newry City Travel Club bus will be departing from Stone Bridge to the match at 12.45pm sharp.
Newry: Buchanan, King, McCabe, Copeland, Donegan, Devlin, Tierney (Freeman), S Hughes, Grant, Havern (Hand), Hanaphy. Subs not used: Hutchinson, M Hughes, Masterson.
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