IRISH CUP: Bannsiders book final spot

SUPER sub James McLaughlin came off the bench to book Coleraine's place in the Tennent's Irish Cup final.

Saturday, 1st April 2017, 7:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 8:17 pm

In an action packed semi-final at the Ballymena Showgrounds, it was Oran Kearney's men who knocked the holders Glenavon out and in doing so book their place in the final for the first time since 2008

The cup holders started the better in the opening stages with Joel Cooper causing Lyndon Kane a few problems.

In fact Cooper saw his strike from the angle flash across the six yard box, just in front of the diving Ciaran Martyn.

Glenavon had another chance on 12 minutes but Greg Moorhouse was unable to keep his shot on target, after a goalmouth scramble.

Coleraine went close themselves on 22 minutes as Jamie McGonigle's left wing centre found Ciaron Harkin at the near post, but his deft touch at the near post was well kept out by Glenavon keeper Jonathan Tuffey.

Tuffey was called into action again on the half hour mark when he easily gathered McGonigle's 25 yard strike.

Minutes later a clever slick move ended with McGonigle's through ball released Darren McCauley, but the ex-Institute man failed to trouble Tuffey, as his tame left footed strike, from just inside the box, flew wide.

Moments later Glenavon hit the side netting when Guy Bates' knock-down found Andrew Hall, but the right winger's strike flashed just wide.

On 40 minutes, Tuffey had to make a double save to deny Eoin Bradley, on both occasions.

The deadlock was broken on 48 minutes as Harkin's in-swinging corner from the left found a diving Brad Lyons, who did enough to turn the ball home and spark wild celebrations amongst the Bannsiders supporters.

Glenavon went close to levelling things on 55 minutes but Harkin got back to deny Martyn, after Moorhouse's centre had created the chance.

Within a minute Bradley saw his teasing left footed strike from an astute angle well held by Tuffey.

Moorhouse, who's pace was causing the Coleraine defence problems all day, was unlucky not to equalise soon after as his low drive from the right hand side of the box was saved by Coleraine keeper Chris Lyons.

Glenavon made their first change on 60 minutes with Mark Sykes coming on for Andrew Hall.

The substitute showed super skill to get away from Adam Mullan, before his powerfully driven centre across the six yard box was headed over by Moorhouse.

Glenavon did equalise on 70 minutes as substitute Sykes saw his left wing corner headed home by James Singleton.

Minutes later McGonigle broke in between the Glenavon defence, but instead of squaring the ball across to an unmarked Bradley, the striker fired wide from a tight angle.

In an action packed 81st minute were both sides had chances; firstly Bates' cross-cum-shot hit the post before Coleraine broke down field but McGonigle's left footed strike from the edge of the box fizzed just past Tuffey's left hand post.

On 87 minutes Moorhouse some neat skill to get half a yard away from Gareth McGonigle, but he blasted over from 12 yards.

That miss came back to haunt Moorhouse as the Bannsiders went straight up the other end to score the winner as Bradley broke down the right before slotting the ball back to substitute McLaughlin, who gleefully headed home past Tuffey from close range.

Coleraine: Johns, Kane, McConaghie, Ogilby, Mullan; Parkhill (McLaughlin 75), Lyons, Harkin, McCauley, McGonigle (Kee 90), Bradley.

Glenavon: Tuffey, Canning, Marron, Elbert (Kilmartin 85), Singleton; Hall (Skyes 60), Martyn, Marshall, Cooper; Moorhouse (Gray 90), Bates.

Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast).