After a mid-season break, Lurgan Town Ladies were back in action on a damp evening at Dunleath Playing Fields, where they faced Downpatrick Ladies in the semi-final of the South 1 League Cup. As manager David Hodgen was away on holiday, injured captain Tracy Orr stepped into the coaching role, and now has a 100% record, as the ladies won 3-1, to earn a place in the final against Comber Rec Ladies.
On a poor playing surface, it was the home team who nearly took an early advantage after 5 minutes. However, two minutes later Kerry Taggart’s shot from Niamh Ruddy’s corner was saved, but Dani Creaney was there to poke home the rebound for an early Lurgan Town lead. A couple of minutes later, Niamh’s cross was on target to be headed in by Kerry, but the Downpatrick keeper intercepted. Lurgan’s narrow lead only lasted for 10 minutes, as a Downpatrick forward blocked a defensive clearance and then had only the keeper to beat for an equaliser.
On 25 minutes, Kerry was taken down in the box, but unfortunately, Dani was unable to convert the resulting penalty as her shot went over the bar, keeping the score at 1-1.
The next best chance of the half was made by young Jess Whelan, who took the ball past 3 defenders, but was unable to beat the keeper at the end, leaving the half-time score level.
The deadlock was broken 13 minutes into the second half, when Niamh’s corner ricocheted off a number of players before Kerry got the final touch into the net to make it 2-1. With some added pace coming from substitutes Lana Black and Sophie Weir, Lurgan Town continued to press, and even managed some good passing football on an uneven grassy pitch against a very physical opposition. Both Lana and Kerry had shots on target, but it wasn’t until the 75th minute that a direct free kick from Caroline O’Hare from just outside the box was hit in off the post to make it comfortable for the away side at 3-1.
Afterwards Tracy Orr said “It was a good all-round team performance, with everyone contributing and putting into practice Monday’s training exercises. Now we can look forward to a second successive League Cup Final at the end of the season.”
Next week, the ladies have a home league match against Ballynahinch Ladies on Wednesday 26 July 7:30pm KO at The Arena, followed by a Mid-Ulster Cup match away to Mid Ulster Ladies at Cookstown on Friday.
Team: E McClements, T Smith, R Davis, C O’Hare, L Kelly/O’Neill, L Thompson, N Ruddy, L Gibson, J Whelan, K Taggart, D Creaney
Subs: L Black, S Weir, C Laird (all used)