LURGAN Celtic set up a home tie with Knockbreda in the sixth round of the Irish Cup after seeing off Larne at Inver Park on Monday night.
On a night with blizzard conditions the game started 16 minutes late after ground staff had to carry out work to make the pitch playable after a heavy fall of snow.
Celtic swarmed all over the hosts in the first half and were unlucky not to have been awarded two penalties but they did not let this deter them an hit Larne with a sensational three goal burst in eight minutes to leave the home side and supporters shellshocked.
The first came on 36 minutes, Niall Lavery was fouled out on the left and Larne’s Braniff was sent off for lashing out at a Celtic player. Ronan O’Hara sent in a great free kick and Raymond Fitzpatrick flashed a header into the net. Three minutes later it was 2-0 when Aaron Haire, who led the home defence a merry dance all night, chased a ball towards the left hand corner and turned past a defender to bear down on goal but was taken down by Keenan in the Larne goal. Niall Lavery stepped up to send the penalty past the keeper.
A great first half was complete when Lavery was played in and he beat two defenders on the right and shot for goal. Keenan pushed the ball away but Dee McPartland following up heading home on 44 minutes.
The second half was played at times in blizzard conditions and Larne went for broke but the Hoops rearguard and keeper kept them well marshalled and on 70 minutes Celtic extended the lead when Haire cut in from the right and was upended in the box. Lavery stepped up to execute another well taken penalty to quash any hopes of a comeback. Gary Workman hit a good long range reply a few minutes later to pull a goal back for the home team and finish the scoring for the night.
This win now means that the Hoops take on league leaders Knockbreda this Saturday at Knockramer in the last 16 of the Cup with the kick off at 3.00pm. Lets see a good crowd turn up on the day to cheer the team on in their bid to create history and reach the last eight of the competition for the first time.
Team: Ciaran Fox, Declan McVeigh, Paul Donegan, Shannon Drainey, Steven Boyd, Niall Lavery, (Conor McKavanagh 80), Conor McAnallen, Dee McPartland, Ronan O’Hara, Raymond Fitzpatrick, Aaron Haire
Subs not used Ciaran McEvoy Shane McCabe Ciaran Conway.