In the opening 10 minutes, Lurgan had a couple of early corners, with the second headed narrowly wide by Kerry Taggart. But on 15 minutes it was Mid Ulster who opened the scoring, with a string of passes and a cool finish. The home side had much of the first half possession, closing down passes and getting first to the ball, leaving Lurgan with only limited chances on goal. Kerry fought her way into the box a couple of times, but unfortunately her shots sailed over the bar. Lurgan had one other chance to equalise just before half-time with a corner, but Tracy Orr’s header was wide of the post.
In the second half, Dani Creaney came on for Caroline Laird, and the Lurgan side changed to a 3-5-2 formation. This paid off, with increased pressure and more of the play in the Mid Ulster half. Within 10 minutes, Tina Brush had a belting long range shot saved, and 10 minutes later the Mid Ulster keeper misjudged the bounce from a free kick, and the ball went over her hands and almost into the net. Then on the 55th minute, a cracking free kick from Tracy curled into the top right corner of the net for an equaliser. Lurgan continued to press, with Dani get a couple of half-chances at goal, but these were comfortably stopped by the keeper. Meanwhile Mid Ulster were limited to long passes up to a striker and some quick break-aways that were ably handled by the Lurgan defence with support from their covering wingers.
Lurgan’s hearts were in their mouths when a Mid Ulster free kick from 45 yards hit the crossbar, and then just two minutes later at the other end, a shot from Kerry from the edge of the box hit the post. Just as spectators were wondering about extra time, Kerry ran onto a well-placed through ball, but she was taken down in the box. Captain Tracy Orr stepped up to the spot and delighted the Lurgan players and fans by slotting home the penalty, making it 2-1. A few minutes later, Tracy almost got a hat-trick, when another free kick hit the crossbar. Lurgan fans held their breaths, as a corner was conceded in the dying minutes of the game. But it was dealt with by a header from Tracy as the final whistle blew, giving Lurgan Town a narrow victory.
Manager David Hodgen said afterwards “I am so proud of them all. It showed fantastic character to come back from a goal down, to reach another cup final.”
The ladies will now meet either Portadown Integrated or Newry City Ladies in the Mid Ulster Cup final. Meanwhile, their next match is a crucial top of the table clash against Comber Rec Ladies at Parkway Comber on Wednesday evening. The home side will have lot of vocal support, so the Lurgan Town Ladies would appreciate some travelling supporters!