JUNIOR CUP FINAL: Enniskillen Rangers romp home over Hill Street

Enniskillen Rangers captain William Burleigh celebrates finding the net in the IFA Junior Cup final against Hill Street. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Enniskillen Rangers captain William Burleigh celebrates finding the net in the IFA Junior Cup final against Hill Street. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Enniskillen Rangers can now hold claim as the leading side in junior football thanks to a 5-1 success in the holiday sunshine over Hill Street.

Almost 900 fans turned out at the National Stadium at Windsor Park to cheer Rangers and Hill Street from Lurgan in the IFA Junior Cup showpiece final.

It proved a memorable May Day for Rangers against spirited Hill Street.

Three goals across 11 first-half minutes handed Rangers control as the Fermanagh and Western Football League representatives provided the cutting edge to some flowing football.

Matthew Chambers took advantage of the time and space to carry the ball forward then clip a delightful angled ball over the top for captain William Burleigh to collect and convert after 19 minutes.

Player/manager Michael Kerr - who watched as a teenager his father, Dessie, captain Rangers to the club’s previous Junior Cup victory - delivered a superb crossfield pass to release Stuart Rainey on the left on 25 minutes and the winger’s low shot squeezed past Hill Street goalkeeper Aaron Kidd.

The problems increased for Hill Street on the half-hour mark as Andrew Johnston found Rainey on the edge of the area and he doubled his tally with another effort from distance.

Hill Street had sights of goal across the half and Adam Carson fired into the side-netting early on then Jerome Carleton had to be alert to deny Ian Penny, with Mathew Reynolds’ follow-up shot blocked on the line.

Penny served as the focal point of the Hill Street attack and came close on two occasions but just failed to connect in promising positions.

The Mid-Ulster Football League club’s hopes of reducing the deficit before the break to keep the tie alive ended on 44 minutes when Rangers grabbed the final goal ahead of half-time.

It proved a goal suitable for the National Stadium setting as David Crozier and Mark Cutler combined superbly along the right before Burleigh ghosted towards the near post to produce a delicate close-range finish.

The second half lacked the same tempo and spark, due to the scoreline and draining impact of adjusting to the size of the pitch.

However, Cutler’s weaving run suggested additional goals and number five arrived on 60 minutes.

It proved another fine finish and handed Hill Street hope as Steven Lawson smashed the ball home from distance via the underside of the crossbar.

Another sight of goal opened up for Penny when the powerful striker displayed a soft touch to chest down a pass and lift the ball over Carleton - only to see his attempt bounce off the post.

The Hill Street pressure presented Reynolds with a chance but substitute Darrin Simpson raced across to block.

Rangers increased the advantage to 501 on 79 minutes thanks to sharp play from Johnston to intercept a backpass and tuck away a close-range shot.

ENNISKILLEN RANGERS: Jerome Carleton, David Crozier, Matthew chambers, Joseph Doogan, Neil Coulter, Michael Kerr, Mark Cutler, William Burleigh, Andrew Johnston, Ciaran Smith, Stuart Rainey. Subs: Michael Simpson, Patrick Beresford, James Turley (Crozier, 78), Darrin Simpson (Rainey, 70), Christopher Currie (Johnston, 85).

HILL STREET: Aaron Kidd, Darren Kennedy, Andrew Haggan, Peter Wright, Adam Carson, David Hawthorne, Andrew King, Mathew Reynolds, Ian Penny, Steven Lawson, Kyle Cousins. Subs: Stephen White (S.Wright, 70), Andrew Houston, Jamie Hall, Alex Glenn, Samuel Wright (Cousins, 55).

Referee: Mark Irwin.