FOOTBALL: Duo sign off with a win

editorial image
Share this article

DAVY O’Hare and Stephen Carson rounded off their Showgrounds careers with a 3-1 win over Donegal Celtic on Tuesday.

And the influential duo, with 22-years service between them for the Bannsiders, showed just why they will be considered legends at the Ballycastle Road.

Carson set up the equaliser for Leon Knight, whose future looks certain to be back in England, following Paul McVeigh‘s ninth minute opener.

And O’Hare rolled back the years to produce a couple of crucial saves, just as he has done since he made his debut in 1991, to keep the Bannsiders in front after further goals from Johnny Harkness and Gareth Tommons.

Carson should have marked his final Showgrounds appearance with a goal after only 80 seconds. Boyce’s clever flick sent him clear, but the winger uncharacteristically curled wide.

Leon Knight should have done better a minute later when he picked up the ball in front of goal, but the in-form striker also failed to hit the target.

It was the visitors though who broke the deadlock with nine minutes on the clock. Bradley whipped a great ball into the box from the right where McVeigh was one of three DC attackers waiting unmarked, and the striker made no mistake from five yards.

The Bannsiders drew level 11 minutes before the break and it was that man Knight again with his fifth in three games.

Carson’s deep cross was headed back across goal by Boyce and Knight touched the ball across the line from a yard out for his 17th of the season.

The hosts edged in front on 39 minutes after Knight was pulled back by McNamee in the area.

Johnny Harkness stepped up and smashed the spot kick past Brown to completely turn the game around in just five minutes.

O’Hare was called into action on 52 minutes as he produced a smart save to tip McAlorum’s header over the bar after Bradley had picked him out from a set piece.

Coleraine extended their advantage three minutes later as Tommons raced on to Knight’s flick on before smashing the ball past Brown from eight yards.

DC should have reduced the arrears on 58 minutes after the Coleraine defence got in a muddle. Henderson slipped in McAllister, but O’Hare blocked his shot with his legs.

In the closing stages Coleraine fans got a glimpse of what promises to be a bright new future under Oran Kearney as teenagers Daibhibd McIvor and Paul Wells entered the action to replace Carson and O’Hare, who exited stage left for the last time to a standing ovation from the home support.

COLERAINE: O’Hare (Wells 87), Canning, Harkness, Ogilby, Beverland, Tommons (Mukendi 75), Lowry, Hegarty, Carson (McIvor 81), Boyce, Knight. Subs: Watt, Healy.

DONEGAL CELTIC: Brown, Glen Holmes (Cleary 40), McAlorum (Muir 86), Gargan, Bradley, McAllister, McVeigh, McNamee, O’Hara, Atkinson (Dickson 68), Henderson. Subs: Brennan, Curran.

Referee: Brian Turkington (Belfast).