Lurgan Celtic’s Irish Cup campaign is over as they were dumped out of the competition on Saturday by a well drilled Queen’s side who gave their best performance of the season according to their manager.
Prior to the game Sam Marshall and Stephen McArdle cried off due to work commitments and flu so John Campbell and former Queen’s player David Magee, just recently returned from America earlier in the week, were drafted into the starting line up.
The home side started brighter and made several raids into the Celtic defence but were kept out. Celtic then started coming more into the game after 10 minutes but during the early exchanges Caolan Campbell took a heavy knock going into a tackle although he resumed after treatment but wasn’t moving as freely afterwards. On 20 minutes Celtic’s Raymond Fitzpatrick twisted and turned past several defenders and fired in a shot which was well saved and the students then went down field to force a corner of their own which was repelled. Back came Celtic and Magee went on a run from just outside his own penalty box deep into the heart of the Queen’s defence before he was dispossessed and minutes later Jason Rodgers had a dangerous effort cleared.
Just as things were looking reasonably good for Celtic the home team struck when they gained a free down the left and Celtic’s defence was caught out when a cross was played in to the penalty area and James Lavery drilled the ball home giving the students the lead in the 37th minute. Caolan Campbell then left the action still showing the effects of his injury and was replaced by Paul McAnallen. Queen’s threatened again when Lavery broke through but Shane McCabe was alert to the danger and cleared the ball away. Right on the break it got worse for Celtic when Queen’s were awarded a corner and when the ball came in low Harper drilled the ball home putting the hosts 2-0 up.
Minutes after the re-start the game was over as a contest when Lavery latched unto a long clearance and although his effort was saved Mark Prentice following up and tucked the rebound into the empty net.
Michael Toland replaced John Campbell and the Celts had their best spell of the match but just couldn’t find a way through the Queen’s back line despite several threatening attacks and during this period Celtic had a good penalty claim for a hand ball turned down.
Towards the end Rodgers made way for Ciaran Conway and on 85 minutes the hosts further extended their lead after Stuart Prenter headed home from a corner and they finished the scoring on 91 minutes when Mark Prenter made it 5-0.
A disappointing end to Celtic’s cup aspirations but although realistically Queen’s were well fancied going into the match on the back of a 12 match unbeaten streak this scoreline wasn’t expected.
John Cochrane was awarded Celtic’s McLean’s Man of the Match award.
This week Celtic are in action at Knockramer Park where they entertain Camlough Rovers in the Intermediate Cup and the Intermediate A side will be favourites going into the game despite being a division lower than the home side.
The match kicks off at 1.30pm.