Lurgan Celtic 3 Warrenpoint Town 1 (AET 90 mins 1-1)
THE Hoops upset the form book once again by progressing to their second Radcliffe Cup final in a row by beating Championship 1 side Warrenpoint Town in a thriller at Lakeview Park Loughall on Tuesday night.
Warrenpoint took the lead on 10 minutes when they scored from a corner but Celtic were unlucky to see a header from a corner by Raymond Fitzpatrrick disallowed for pushing by Brendan Mackin and then Daniel Ryan hit the woodwork while he also had an effort cleared off the line.
On 50 minutes the Hoops had Declan McVeigh to thank when he threw his body in front of a goalbound shot to prevent a second goal which would probably have put the tie out of reach. After this they became the more dominant force and it was no surprise when the equaliser came on the hour mark. A shot was cleared by the Warrenpoint defence only as far as Mackin who fire home a sweet volley to the delight of the sizeable Celtic support.
Both sides went all out for a winner but the game finished 1-1 at the end of normal time. The first half of extra time saw Warrenpoint go at the Hoops but the defence held firm and Aaron Haire won a ball and held off two defenders to go on a run towards the right where he found Ryan with a well judged pass. Ryan burst down the wing leaving two defenders in his wake and crossed low for Fitzpatrick to ghost in and steer the ball home and put Celtic 2-1 up.
The Hoops kept a firm grip on proceedings but in one break Shannon Drainey got in front of a forward as he was about to shoot and cleared the danger.
Celtic sealed the win when Ryan, whose pace was tormenting the Warrenpoint defence, fastened onto a through ball and raced forward to send a scorching low drive past the keeper’s right hand side and book a place in the final against the winners of the Loughall Utd and Banbridge Town tie. This was a sensational victory in which every player pushed themselves to the brink in a tremendous performance and the team fully deserved the ovation from the spectators at the finish.
Lurgan Celtic: Fox, McVeigh, McAnallen, Drainey, Boyd (McAreavey 88), Lavery, Mackin, O’Hara, Haire, Fitzpatrick, Ryan.