Killymoon Rangers 1-4 Armagh City
Armagh City travelled to Cookstown on Saturday to play the final Irish League Second Division game of the season.
City played into the breeze in the first half and it was Killymoon who were first to attack when Kevin Kelly went through one on one but Sean Morgan was well out to block his shot. After 12 minutes a back pass to the Killymoon goalkeeper saw Cillian Sheridan put him under pressure but McElhatton raced out and hit the ball so hard that it was heading for the top corner of the City net at the other end. Sean Morgan got across to turn the ball away and then moved to his left to catch it. It seemed to most City supporters in the stand that he had kept the ball in play but the assistant referee flagged for a corner which wasn’t properly cleared and when Kelly crossed it back into the middle centre half McMullan was there to head the first goal of the game.
Killymoon were on top for some time after this, though Morgan was tested only once, but City began to come more into the game. Liam Cullen found debutant James Cullen who skillfully beat a defender and crossed to Gavin Cusack who shot over the bar when he should probably have done better. In City’s next attack Cusack did well to find Sheridan whose shot took a deflection and went out for a corner. Maxwell was next to create a chance but McElhatton turned his shot away foranother corner. The equalizer finally came after 38 minutes when Liam Cullen beat a defender near the bye-line, side stepped the goalkeeper and drove the ball goalwards. It may have taken a slight deflection but City deservedly went in level at half time.
The fact that many of the City team had never scored in intermediate football suddenly became irrelevant just after the kick off in the second half. City played the ball forward on the right wing and Cillian Sheridan controlled it, saw the goalkeeper at the near post and, judging the wind to perfection, lofted the ball over McElhatton’s head and into the far corner of the net. If that was seen a an excellent goal what followed was unbelievable as James Cullen, photographed in last week’s Ulster Gazette as Man of the Match in the Youth Cup Final, got possession on the right in the 50th minute and sent in a powerful shot to the top corner of the net for a magnificent goal. This was a great two minute spell for the travelling City fans.
Killymoon weren’t finished and Sean Morgan did well to punch away a free kick and to hold an inswinging corner kick. In the final quarter of an hour City got on top again and a great piece of ball control by Dale Montgomery was followed by a great through ball to Barry Quinn who slotted the ball past McElhatton only to hit the side netting. Matthew Hynds went even closer when Barry Quinn made space and pushed the ball in front of Hynds whose shot hit a post. At the other end Purvis sent the ball past Morgan but as it rolled towards the empty net Montgomery caught up with it and backheeled it to safety.
The only disappointment for City was a foul by Liam Cullen near the end and as he had already been booked there was little doubt that he would miss the rest of the game and the start of next season. In stoppage time at the end of the match City won a corner and Cusack’s kick was headed down by Ultan Lennon for Barry Quinn to drive it goalwards. A defender stopped the ball with his hand in front of the goalkeeper and the players immediately called up Sean Morgan to take the kick and he coolly placed it into the corner of the net.
So after suffering five defeats by three or more goals in the first half of the season City completed the second half without even a two goal reverse. Clearly the youth players who came into the team to replace those who chose to leave at Christmas have done a very good job and manager Marty Rice can hold his head up and look forward to next season.
Killymoon Rangers: Gareth McElhatton, John Scott, Stephen Purvis, Stephen McElhatton, David McMullan (yc) (Philip McGarvey 80), Gerald Moore (Simon Young 80), Mark Harkness (yc), Gary Crooks (Warren Smith 46), Cameron Stewart, Allister Young, Kevin Kelly
Armagh City: Sean Morgan, Dale Montgomery, Ryan McGerrigan (yc), Ultan Lennon, Dara Noonan, Gareth Grimley, James Cullen (Matthew Hynds 80), Liam Cullen (two yc), Gavin Cusack, Cillian Sheridan, Chris Maxwell (Barry Quinn 57)
Referee: John Deehan