IRISH CUP REVIEW: Paul Heatley the hero on return of knockout showpiece
Ballymena United, Carrick Rangers, Cliftonville, Crusaders, Dungannon Swifts and Warrenpoint Town secured spots alongside Linfield in the next round of the Sadler’s Peaky Blinder Irish Cup.
Linfield defeated Annagh United by 2-0, with a round-up below of the other ties:
BALLYMENA UNITED 4
Paul McElroy’s brace left Ballymena United celebrating Irish Cup progress at the expense of Portadown.
McElroy provided the first goal of the night with rapid reactions to take full advantage of a defensive lapse on five minutes.
Portadown’s response featured a drifting Greg Hall delivery that bounced back off the post before Lee Bonis could only head wide from a George Tipton free-kick.
However, the equaliser arrived when Bonis steered a slick angled strike home off the inside of the post.
But Ballymena moved back on top before the break as Ryan Waide lifted the ball beyond Ports goalkeeper Jacob Carney.
Late Portadown pressure ahead of half-time led to a Jordan Williamson save off Bonis before Ben Tilney came close off the resultant corner-kick delivery.
But McIlroy made his mark in the second half with an acrobatic close-range volley after Shay McCartan headed back across the danger area a cross by Ross Redman.
McCartan wrapped up the scoring with a penalty kick following a foul on McElroy.
Carrick Rangers 3
Belfast Celtic 0
Teenager Kurtis Forsythe featured in three Carrick Rangers goals - including his first on the scoresheet at senior level - in victory over Belfast Celtic.
Michael Smith broke the deadlock with a close-range finish off Forsythe’s cross across the initial exchanges.
Jordan Jenkins failed to convert an opening up against Belfast Celtic goakeeper Padraig Nugent.
However, Carrick doubled the advantage off Caolan Loughran’s penalty kick, awarded for a foul on Forsythe.
Forsythe capped his evening with a landmark finish for 3-0.
A quickfire goal double helped Cliftonville cement control over Portstewart.
Reds captain Garry Breen opened the scoring around three minutes into the tie with his header converting Rory Hale’s cross.
Daire O’Connor made his mark soon after thanks to control and pace before a left-foot finish.
Portstewart goalkeeper Andrew Findlay was alert off his line to frustrate Michael McCrudden.
And the visitors cut the gap thanks to Richard Vauls’ finish inside the packed penalty area.
O’Connor followed up his first-half finish with a strike after the break following another Findlay save off McCrudden.
Soon after, Kearns made his mark to increase the Cliftonville advantage to 4-1.
The in-form Ryan Curran proved clinical for number five.
Paul Heatley added another moment to remember in his glittering Crusaders career with a decisive finish that secured knockout delight over Coleraine.
Play proved tight across the tie between two top-flight rivals - but Heatley sealed it late on with a fine looping drive from distance.
Coleraine’s late bid to keep alive the trophy bid ended in disappointment despite openings for Curtis Allen and Stephen Lowry.
Early Crues chances were carved out for Philip Lowry and Jordan Forsythe before Eoin Bradley’s attempt from distance cleared the target with goalkeeper Sean O’Neill stranded.
Coleraine goalkeeper Marty Gallagher was in the right place to deny Adam Lecky off the striker’s shot on the turn.
Heatley also had an effort stopped by Gallagher - before he grabbed the glory.
Dungannon Swifts 2
Dungannon Swifts produced a knockout fightback at Mourneview Park to march on in the Irish Cup at Glenavon’s expense.
The Lurgan Blues had on-song Danny Purkis to thank for an early lead to capitalise on the error from Swifts goalkeeper Roy Carroll under pressure from Matthew Fitzpatrick.
However, the Swifts got back on level terms as Ryan Mayse produced the finishing touch off a measured pass by veteran striker Rory Patterson.
Shane McGinty served up the tie’s defining moment with a sweet strike into the top corner towards Swifts success.
Warrenpoint Town 2
Ballyclare Comrades 1
Fra McCaffrey scored one goal and played his part in a second during Warrenpoint Town’s 2-1 defeat of Ballyclare Comrades.
Top-flight Warrenpoint made it 1-0 as McCaffrey was rewarded for his control and composure to cap clever approach play by Brandon Doyle.
Comrades grabbed an equaliser off Ciaran Dobbin.
Andy Coleman produced an initial save off Elliot McKim from Gary Donnelly’s corner-kick delivery but the rebound was steered home by Dobbin.
Scorer McCaffrey then helped Warrenpoint move back in front with a fine cross which Luke Gallagher directed on to the upright - with Ryan Swan reacting first to score.
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