Lurgan Celtic hosted Dungannon Swifts Reserves last Saturday at Knockramer Park in the Bob Radcliffe Cup and cruised through to the last eight with a thumping 5-1 victory.
The Hoops declared their intent early on and took the lead in the first minute when the Swifts keeper came out of the box and headed the ball away only for Raymond Fitzpatrick to take possession and lob the ball into the net from around 25 yards out.
Moments later the same player was close with a shot that just flashed past the keeper’s left hand upright. The lead was extended on nine minutes after Daniel Ryan combined with Fitzpatrick out on the right and Ryan raced into the box to score
Two minutes later Chris Lavery hit a stunning volley into the roof of the net putting a rampant home side 3-0 to the good.
After this early flurry the visitors tried to play their way back into the game but the Hoops had a stranglehold on it and refused to yield any ground although Goff in the Celtic goal had to make a good save low to his left from a well struck free.
Celtic’s Niall Lavery also had a couple of free kicks cleared and midway through the half Swifts manager and former Celtic assistant manager Dixie Robinson was sent from the dug out by referee Andy McDonald after an altercation with the official.
Daniel Ryan was unlucky when he went on a run beating three defenders only to see his effort strike the post and minutes later he ran at the Swifts defence before being the victim of a crude tackle earning the defender a yellow card.
The second period started off the same way as the first and on 50 minutes Celtic increased their lead after first Fitzpatrick flicked a header on and Ryan did likewise for Chris Lavery to latch onto the ball and drive low past the keeper.
Fitzpatrick and Shane McCabe were then withdrawn to let Chris Coleman and Jonny McCarron have some game time while shortly afterwards Campbell fell victim to an injury and Paddy Rooney came on at left back. On 65 minutes Swifts reduced the lead with a well taken free kick from Jamie Tumilty which eluded the Hoops wall and for a time they looked like they might get a second as the home side went off the boil due to the healthy lead, but Ryan troubled the visitors with several surging runs at the defence using his pace to good effect.
The Hoops weren’t to be denied and Chris Lavery completed his hat-trick with a good finish after a passing move cut through the Swifts rearguard putting the home side into the driving seat to play out the game.
The performance of the team went a bit flat after the opening goal spree but that is what sometimes happens, although a sterner examination of Celtic’s ability await in the quarter-final as they are home to Loughgall United in a repeat of the 2011 and 2012 final of this competition.
This Saturday Celtic are away to Queens at the Dub and although the students haven’t started the season as well as expected it will be a tough task to take the points home.
The Youth team opened up their league account with 5-0 win against Markethill Swifts last week.
The goals came from Ruari McCann,Odhran Downey,Brian Toland,Michael Bunting and Karol Sarach.
Sunday sees the club go to Slieve Donard for a sponsored walk leaving Knockramer at 8.30am with the participants having lunch afterwards.