IRISH CUP: Last-gasp penalty rocks Portadown as Lurgan Celtic make Irish Cup history
PORTADOWN 2 LURGAN CELTIC 3
Portadown’s hopes of a trophy in what is expected to prove a final Shamrock Park season as manager for Ronnie McFall collapsed with an Irish Cup exit to Lurgan Celtic.
Celtic held a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from two former Portadown players, Aaron Haire and Shea Conaty, before the hosts - down to 10 men due to a Mark McAllister red card - battled back to sit level.
However, a dramatic twist arrived in injury-time with Celtic awarded a penalty kick for a foul on Haire and long-serving striker Raymond Fitzpatrick slotted home the spot-kick.
It marked the perfect reward on a day to remember for history-making Celtic.
It was a day of drama at Shamrock Park as Championship One-based Celtic gained control by breaking the deadlock on 13 minutes.
Joshua Barton - one of five former Ports players in the Celtic panel - cut inside and delivered a teasing cross which Haire converted within a packed penalty area.
McAllister was then sent off on 33 minutes for a challenge on John Cochrane which left the striker was a red card and the Celtic player in need of sustained treatment.
Conaty, who left the Ports in the January transfer window, found the top corner from outside the penalty area to double Celtic’s lead in the second half.
Portadown’s fightback kicked into life on 58 minutes when Marcio Soares steered a loose ball inside the right-hand post of goalkeeper Conor McCorry.
The tie’s third goal inside 10 minutes arrived for Sean Mackle following a Chris Casement corner-kick which Michael Gault directed towards the net before a final touch from the Ports midfield man.
The tie appeared set for extra-time before the final twist handed Celtic a spot in the Irish Cup semi-finals and left the Ports searching for answers.
PORTADOWN: David Miskelly, Chris Casement, Ross Redman, Keith O’Hara, Sean Mackle, Mark McAllister, Ken Oman, Philip Lowry, Michael Gault, Robert Garrett, Marcio Soares. Subs: Martin Marron, Chris Ramsey, Garry Breen (on for Soares, 78), Matthew Parker, Padraig Judge.
LURGAN CELTIC: Conor McCorry, Daniel Wilson, Adam Rodgers, Stephen Hutchinson, John Cochrane, Dale Malone, Shea Conaty, Joshua Barton, Raymond Fitzpatrick, Aaron Haire, Declan McVeigh. Subs: Shane McCabe (on for Cochrane, 37), Sean Devlin, Niall Devlin, Colum Toland, Nathan Lavery.
Referee: Raymond Hetherington.