A LATE scrambled goal from substitute Ciaran Kilduff saw Shamrock Rovers turn the tables on Coleraine in the Setanta Sports Cup last night.
Kilduff pounced in the 91st minute to snatch a 2-0 victory at the Showgrounds - and claim a 2-1 aggregate win in this first round clash.
Mark Quigley erased Coleraine’s first leg advantage with a goal in the sixth minute, and with the tie looking destined for extra time Kilduff provided the grandstand finish with some late heroics.
“That’s football - simple as that,” Bannsiders boss Oran Kearney said.
“I don’t think we went to sleep at the end. The ball just didn’t clear, and with players of that quality against you they can make you pay.
“It is disappointing, and extra time would have been interesting. We were dead on our feet but their energy levels had dropped too.
“It just wasn’t to be.”
Rovers boss Trevor Croly admitted Coleraine were unlucky to lose out at the death.
“Coleraine are a good side and it was cruel luck on them. You feel sorry for them,” he said.
“I have watched them on dvds and things and I feel as if I know them.
“But I am delighted for my lads tonight because they worked hard.”
Six games in 16 days appeared to take its toll on the Bannsiders on a frustrating night on the Ballycastle Road.
Kearney’s players were left stranded in the blocks as Rovers raced into the lead after six minutes.
Gary McCabe picked up possession on the right before delivering a lofted cross that Quigley met with a neat first-time finish from six yards.
It was an early statement of intent from the Hoops who had dominated the early exchanges.
Coleraine warmed to the task as the half progressed and should have levelled matters on the night in the 28th minute.
Paul Owens sent in a curling corner that was met by Shane Jennings, but the striker could only direct his header wide of the target.
Ruairi Harkin then forced Rovers goalkeeper Barry Murphy into a diving save with a low shot from 25 yards in the 33rd minute.
A tepid start to the second period came to life in the 63rd minute with Rovers being denied by the woodwork.
It came from the boot of James Chambers whose 25-yard curling effort was touched onto the bar by Doherty.
From the resulting corner Quigley then tried his luck with a rasping drive from the edge of the box that fizzed just over.
With extra time looming Rovers bagged the winner with Kilduff breaking Coleraine hearts.
Just as the fourth official was revealing added time, Kilduff capitalised on some lacklustre defending to poke home from 12 yards.
There was barely time for any more action as the Hoops progressed to the quarter-finals where they will meet Irish League champions Linfield.
COLERAINE: Doherty, Beverland, Hegarty, Ogilby, Lowry, Harkin, McIlmoyle, Canning, Jennings (Allen 42), Bradley, Owens.
Subs not used: McVey, Scullion, Watt, Boyce, Tomelty, Shannon.
SHAMROCK RVRS: Murphy, Scullion, Powell, Foran, McGuinness, McCabe (Kilduff 69), Quigley, Finn, Chambers, O’Connor (Stewart 77), Robinson.
Subs not used: Winn, Oman, McCormack, Rice, Sheppard.
Referee: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge)