Lurgan guaranteed their place in this year’s Ulster Shield final with this convincing 2-0 win over Dungannon at Lisnagarvey on Sunday.
It was a game Lurgan controlled almost from start to finish.
They imposed their domination and control on Dungannon right from the off and won two penalty corners in the first five minutes.
They were very unlucky not to go in front in the 13th minute when Jo-Anne Wilson crashed a snap shot against the post after a slick passing move.
Two minutes later they did get their noses in front when Kerrie Burns exploded into the Dungannon circle, raced past two defenders and slipped a lovely little pass to Carly Johnston who fired past the Dungannon keeper.
Dungannon managed to defend two more penalty corners on 23 and 28 minutes but five minutes before half time they conceded again from another penalty corner award.
Their keeper managed to block a Charlene Hull straight strike, but the same player managed to pick up the rebound and drive in another fierce shot which just nicked off Lauren Wright’s stick on the way into the net. Lurgan continued to control the game with Sarah McClure pulling the strings from midfield.
Lurgan had few problems in the second half and Dungannon had their keeper to thank as she managed to prevent further scores from three more Lurgan penalty corners.
Suzie Taylor in the Lurgan goal had hardly touched the ball for the entire match but they were thankful for her concentration when she pulled off a great stop to a late Dungannon break which despite all Lurgan’s domination, had it gone in could have made the final few minutes not as comfortable as they would have liked.
As it was, Lurgan ran out comfortable winners and will meet other semi-final’s winner Queens in this year’s showpiece final on Boxing Day.
While on Saturday, in the league, Lurgan continued their winning ways with this easy but hardly convincing 2-0 win over basement side Raphoe at the Junior High School.
Easy in respect that they totally dominated their match, with Raphoe hardly managing one excursion into the Lurgan circle in the entire 70 minutes.
Hardly convincing because for all their possession, domination and penalty corner awards they only managed to convert one of them and that was only through the magic and skill of Sarah McClure, who turned an almost messed up routine into a marvellous goal.
Raphoe obviously arrived with the game plan, defend in numbers and do not concede and they stuck to it rigidly. A packed defence made things exceptionally difficult for Lurgan and added to that Raphoe had a keeper at the heart of defence who was in superb form.
Twice in the first 20 minutes she pulled off unbelievable saves to deny Kerrie Burns a goal from a superb deflection on a Charlene Hull penalty corner strike and then a diving left hand save to prevent a delightful Emily McStea deflection on a Charlene Hull driven ball into the circle which looked a certain goal.
The second half began with Lurgan in total control but still searching for a goal.
They had to wait 13 minutes before they made the break through and it was curtesy of their best passing move of the match that they managed to create a great shooting opportunity for Sarah McClure and she didn’t disappoint with a fiercely driven strike into the corner of the net that no keeper in the league would have saved.
From their fifth penalty corner of the second half the same player added Lurgan’s second from a move that looked to have gone astray but she retrieved the situation, beat two defenders and rifled the ball into the corner giving the keeper no chance.
Lurgan had more opportunities to increase the lead but were denied by some dogged defending and a few top draw saves.
In the end Lurgan collected the three points and Raphoe were delighted to have restricted the league champions.