Dismal run continues with cup exit for beleaguered Hoops

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Lurgan Celtic’s dismal run continues as they made the short journey to Armagh to face a high flying City side in the Bob Radcliffe cup but were comprehensively beaten 5-1 to exit the competition.

Having reached the final in each of the past two seasons The Hoops entered the game in hope, but ended up conceding five goals in a one-sided game.

Manager O’Kane again had to re-shuffle his side with players returning in his search for a settled team which is proving virtually impossible for various reasons.

The game started at a frantic pace and indeed the home side went ahead in the third minute when a break down the right lead to a mistake by the Hoops defence and the Armagh winger slid home at the back post. Despite going behind it was Celtic who were playing the better football but never really threatened the keeper and resorted to long range efforts. The home side always looked dangerous when going forward and extended their lead in the 14th minute and it was another mistake at the back from Celtic which resulted in Kelly for Armagh making it 2-0.

The closest Celtic came to scoring was a free-kick from O’Hara in the 25th minute but again it went over the bar. Despite being 2-0 down it was hoped that Celtic could make it to the break and regroup but the task was made even more difficult on the stroke of half-time when the home side went 3-0 up. At the break manager O’Kane was forced into a change when the injured McArdle was replaced by recent signing McCaughley along with a number of positional changes in the hope of kick-starting a comeback. With so many new faces coupled with major players leaving over the close season it was evident that it will take time for the new look Celtic to gel but it was individual errors in this game that cost The Hoops and indeed another defensive mix-up in the 54th minute made it 4-0 and again in the 64th minute despite keeper Fox getting a hand to the shot the ball crossed the line to complete the home teams scoring and made it 5-0. In a rare attack another new signing for Lurgan Celtic Heaney scored a consolation goal in the 71st minute as he headed home at the back post. The heavy scoreline was a true reflection of the home sides dominance and O’Kane and his assistant Creaney have a difficult task ahead of them over the coming weeks to lift their players and also to work on boosting morale among the squad.

In addition it is hoped they will be able to get a settled side and hope that results can improve. Next up is another difficult task as one of the early pace setters in the league Portstewart make the long trip to Knockramer Park on Saturday.

Lurgan Celtic have recently formed exciting new partnerships with major names Vauxhall and McLean bookmakers.