United cup hopes are shattered

The Lurgan United team who reached the final of the Beckett Cup.
The Lurgan United team who reached the final of the Beckett Cup.

Lurgan United faced Knockmenagh Swifts, the Mid Ulster League Division 3 champions-elect, in the final of the Beckett Cup last Friday night but sadly ended up on the wrong end of a 4-0 defeat.

United began the game well and with just five minutes gone Darragh McConville played in Ciaran Ryan down the right side only for Ciaran to watch his lobbed effort sail wide of the far post.

The Swifts then began to get to grips with the game, through Conor McAlinden and Conal Lavery, and were soon playing a good style of possession-based football that Paddy O’Hagan’s team were struggling to contain at times.

In the 10th minute another long ball down the right saw the pacey Ryan go through towards goal again but once more his shot went wide of the far post.

A poor challenge in midfield on 15 minutes saw one player from each side booked, and the game became a little scrappy for a period.

The Swifts went ahead on 27 minutes after some poor defensive play by United on the right allowed Benjamin Hannon through to score.

On 35 minutes it was 2-0 to the Swifts when a similar lapse at the back let Niall Devlin in to score. The sides went into the break with Knockmenagh leading 2-0.

After the break United went a man down after a challenge on the Swifts keeper Stewart Cully saw Ciaran Ryan being dismissed for a second yellow.

Despite being reduced to 10 men United managed to up their game and created a few opportunities, with Mick Rooney and Gareth Higgins both going close.

However the game was all but over in the 80th minute when Lurgan United’s centre back Joe McIlduff was fouled as he attempted to clear the ball and from the resulting move Niall Devlin tapped in from six yards to make it 3-0 to the Swifts.

Only two minutes later Niall bagged his third and Knockmenagh’s fourth goal to seal a comfortable and deserved victory in the end.

Overall the game was played in good spirit and both teams should be commended for their efforts, however all the plaudits and congratulations should be levelled at a well-organised Knockmenagh Swifts who thoroughly deserved to win the cup.

Lurgan United FC: Edgars Vaskevics, Gareth Higgins, Jim Towe, Joe McIlduff, Martin Hoey, Jamie McGrath, Patrick O’Hagan, Darragh McConville, Christopher Halfpenny, Ciaran Ryan, Micky Rooney, Marty Forker, Michael Gough and Nathan McComb.