Lurgan Town Ladies earned a place in the prestigious Championship Cup Final with a hard-fought win over East Belfast Ladies on a warm Wednesday evening at the Arena.
The game was finely balanced in the opening 25 minutes, as both teams matched each other for commitment and competitiveness. There were a couple of long-range shots on target at both ends, but these were caught by the respective keepers. The home side then opened the scoring, when Amy McAllister put a lovely through-ball to Elisha Donnelly, who then side-stepped the defender and tucked the ball into the bottom corner of the net. East Belfast almost equalised straight from the re-start, but their striker was unable to take advantage of her opportunity. Instead, it was Elisha who scored next, after a good passing movement up the left wing which also involved Dede Brady and Wendy Bailie. On 40 minutes, Elisha got on the end of Leanne Domican’s cross, but her shot hit the outside of the post. Lurgan made it 3-0 just before half-time, when Kerry Taggart headed home a corner, in typical KT style.
East Belfast have made come-backs before this season, and in the second half they had a looping shot hit the cross-bar, and then they forced a diving save from Megan McCabe. They were awarded a penalty in the 73rd minute, but Megan made a great double-save to maintain Lurgan’s clean sheet. There was to be no come-back for them tonight.
In injury time, Nicola Gray took advantage of a slip-up by an East Belfast defender to score a fourth goal for the home side, and seal the victory.
Congratulations to Player of the Match, Debbie Douglas!
Lurgan Town Ladies will now meet Lisburn Ladies (who beat Downpatrick Ladies 2-1 in extra time) in the final on the evening of Saturday 31 August at Seaview.
The ladies’ next match is the NIWFA Kerr Insurance Super Cup Quarter Final against Lisburn Rangers at the Arena on Monday 29 July.
Team: M McCabe, D Brady, T Orr, C Rooney, D Douglas, L O’Neill, A McAllister, L Domican, W Bailie, K Taggart, E Donnelly. Subs: T Maguire, N Ruddy, N Gray (all used), R Bolger, R Davis