COLERAINE end their major trophy drought after Saturday’s 3-1 Irish Cup victory over Cliftonville. Goals from Darren McCauley, Aaron Burns and Eoin Bradley secured victory for the Bannsiders…
It was an exciting opening at the National Stadium as both sides had chances in the opening 10 minutes. Rory Donnelly went close for Cliftonville whilst Eoin Bradley capitalised on a defensive mix-up but his effort looped over.
Oran Kearney was forced into a change early in the first-half as Stephen Dooley had to be stretchered off after a coming together with Chris Curran. Coleraine threatened shortly after the half-hour mark as substitute Ian Parkhill crossed for Darren McCauley however the winger failed to get a touch at the back post.
The Bannsiders looked to have grabbed the lead on 42 minutes. Another dangerous cross from Parkhill fell to Jamie McGonigle at the back post but he couldn’t manage to bundle home. Cliftonville had a chance on the stroke of half-time as Gormley and Donnelly combined with the latter failing to trouble Chris Johns in the Coleraine goal. .
As the second-half started it was all to play for and the first chance fell to Coleraine as Darren McCauley tried his luck only to be denied by Brian Neeson. The Bannsiders grabbed the lead on 50 minutes via Darren McCauley. The winger fired home Aaron Traynor’s cross with a great strike from outside the area.
Cliftonville equalised on 55 minutes. Conor McDonald’s surging run allowed him to find the feet of Rory Donnelly who fired home from close range. Barry Gray’s side could have been ahead on 65 minutes but Joe Gormley fired straight at Johns in the Coleraine goal.
The Bannsiders weathered the storm and grabbed the advantage on 78 minutes. Second-half substitute Aaron Burns kept his composure in front of goal and coolly slotted beyond the advancing Neeson.
Cliftonville searched for an equaliser but their attempts were undone when Coleraine extended their advantage with just seconds remaining. Eoin Bradley raced clear and his dinked effort found the back of the net to secure victory for the Bannsiders.
The result means that Coleraine lift the Irish Cup for the first time since 2003 ending their 15 year major trophy drought.
COLERAINE: Johns, Mullan, Harkin, McCauley (Smith ’85 mins), Bradley, McConaghie, Lyons, O’Donnell (c), Traynor, McGonigle (Burns ’61 mins), Dooley (Parkhill ’31 mins).
Subs not used: Doherty (GK), Douglas, Ogilby, Kirk.
CLIFTONVILLE: Neeson, Ives (Grimes ’85 mins), Breen (Harkin ’84 mins), Curran (c) (Garrett ’72 mins), Bagnall, Gormley, J. Donnelly, Cosgrove, McDonald, R. Donnelly
Subs not used: Dunne (GK), McGovern, Winchester, Lavery.