Lurgan Thistle win the John Magee Memorial Trophy final

The Lurgan Thistle team who won 4 -2 on penalties against Milford Swifts in the Harlequin Oil Tanks John Magee Memorial Trophy final at Holm Park, Armagh. RicPics. INLM1312-244con
The Lurgan Thistle team who won 4 -2 on penalties against Milford Swifts in the Harlequin Oil Tanks John Magee Memorial Trophy final at Holm Park, Armagh. RicPics. INLM1312-244con

Lurgan Thistle 0 Milford Swifts 0 AET. Lurgan Thistle won 4-2 on penalties.

LURGAN Thistle emulated last year’s feat of neighbours Celtic Club (Lurgan No 1) by winning the John Magee Memorial Trophy in their inaugural season in the Mid Ulster Football League at Holm Park, Armagh on Friday night.

The recent appointment of Billy Patterson and Paul O’Neill as first team managers had sparked a long overdue upturn in fortunes for the Jags.

The opponents on the night were Milford Swifts, who were also enjoying a rejuvenated spell of form and were in many people’s eyes narrow favourites for the Cup.

The Jags and the Swifts both showed signs of early nerves, and the Jags were unlucky not to take the lead in the first five minutes as a Ciaran McGeown throw in was flicked on by Davy Steele and the Milford goalkeeper gathered Gary Patterson’s half volley.

The Jags defence was well marshalled throughout by Darren Mallon and Man of the Match Michael Millar, with full backs Stephen Smith and Michael Mulholland supporting the wingers when the opportunity arose.

The midfield duo of Ciaran McGeown and Richard McLaverty covered every blade of grass. James Agnew and Mark Ferris on the two wings attacked and defended valiantly, with Patterson and Steele leading the line well up front.

Milford’s only effort of note also came from a free kick that flashed wide of the upright. Chances were few and far between as extra time and penalties beckoned.

At the end of 110 minutes, the sides were deadlocked at 0-0.

Michael Fearnon, Christopher Kiely and Jonathan Haughian, who had come on as substitutes, calmly stepped up to slot home the first three penalties for Thistle after Crawford had saved the first Milford effort.

Milford then missed another penalty and it fell to top scorer Davy Steele to step up and seal victory for the Jags, sending the players and supporters into raptures.

Mid Ulster Chairman Sean O’Neill presented the Cup to Captain Darren Mallon and James Agnew, who had started the season as reserve team captain.

Lurgan Thistle would like to thank Armagh City FC for their hospitality and the Mid Ulster Football league for a well organised final. Thanks also to the Beautiful Game Lurgan for the Cup Final polo shirts,

Thanks also to Michael Lavery at Columbia Craigavon for getting a few of the players fit for the final and, last but not least, sponsors McMillen Driver Training and Joe and Sean Hughes of the Premier Bar for their support all year.