LURGAN Celtic’s bid to win back to back Bob Radcliffe Cup finals were dashed by Loughgall in the big Boxing Day showdown at Lakeview Park.
It was Lurgan man Colin Malone who was celebrating his first trophy for the club and revenge for defeat in the same final last year as Loughgall came out on top 3-1.
It had all started so well for Celtic who dominated proceedings from the whistle and it was no surprise they went in front on 20 minutes. Aaron Haire was upended in the box by Neil King and referee Alistair Burns pointed to the spot. Nial Lavery made no mistake from the spot kick to put The Hoops ahead.
Celtic continued to boss the tie with Haire, Daniel Ryan, Raymond Fitzpatrick and Ronan O’Hara always a threat for Loughgall who had goalkeeper Gareth Buchanan to thank for keeping them in the game with three excellent saves.
The second half was more even as Loughgall began to come into the tie and they levelled matters on the hour mark from a Mark Stewart header. The match was heading towards extra-time when two goals in three minutes turned it in favour of Loughgall. John Guy and Conor McEnallen both got a foot to the ball in the goalmouth and it ended up past Ciaran Fox for 2-1 and before Celtic could recover the cup dream was over as Wesley Boyle cracked a long range effort into the net to seal the victory.