Portrush were boosted this week for their Irish Cup match against Cliftonville with the return of both John Dillon and James “Daddy” McCook to the starting line up, although their talisman from the back, Neil McMaster, had ‘man flu’ so started on the bench.
Portrush started surprisingly well and kept possession of the ball from Cliftonville throughout the first 20 minutes. It paid off when John Dillon slotted home a well placed shot. Portrush continued to retain the ball and Dillon scored his second of the match to prove that he is better at scoring goals than he is at catching a flight at Belfast International Airport! Cliftonville upped the ante and pulled a goal back just before the break.
After the restart Portrush sat back and invited pressure on them and Cliftonville took advantage grabbing the equaliser. The game looked destined to go to extra time but 20 seconds from the final whistle, Cliftonville scored to break Portrush hearts and dump them out of the cup. The Portrush players were disappointed about losing a 2-0 lead but they played really attractive hockey and there was no lack of effort from any player on the pitch. To play the way they did against a team just relegated to Senior 2 showed so much courage and no player had any fear so if they can carry this through to the league next week against Omagh, Portrush should do well this year.