IRISH CUP: Limavady narrowly lose at Larne

Limavady United player manager Paul Owens was bitterly disappointed after their Irish Cup exit at Inver Park.
Limavady United player manager Paul Owens was bitterly disappointed after their Irish Cup exit at Inver Park.

Limavady United’s Irish Cup campaign ended at the first hurdle as they lost 2-0 at Larne, on Saturday.

The better team won on the day although the game ended in controversial fashion as United keeper Paul Wells was sent off for a perfectly timed tackle by referee Chris Morrison, the only person in the ground who thought it was a penalty never mind a sending off.

Wells will now miss the Craig Memorial Cup final on Boxing Day.

John Donnelly and Guillame Keke both found the target for the home side as United drew a blank for only the second time this season.

Roesiders manager Paul Owens admitted that it was a bad day at the office for his team after the defeat.

“Yeah it was a bad day at the office, it’s never good when you lose a game but the circumstances at the end weren’t ideal,” he said.

“There are quite a few boys in the dressing room who are very angry after what went on at the end of the game. The decision to send Wellsy (Paul Wells) off was ridiculous; it was never a penalty and never a red card.

“However I told the players that I don’t want to hear any excuses from the players, despite what happened.”

Although there was controversy at the end of the game, Owens felt that overall Larne probably deserved to win.

“I think in the first half we matched them pretty well, however in the second half we just didn’t perform,” he added.

“We may have been a bit rusty but they same could be said for Larne because they haven’t played either. It was always going to be tough because we are a Championship Two team up against a Championship One team.

“We competed for about 50-55minutes but I have no excuses for the result, the better team won on the day.”

In the first half Larne forced a succession of corners but couldn’t find the target from any of them.

United’s best chance came in the 30th minute when Andy Devlin headed inches wide with the keeper beaten.

In the 60th minute Gareth Tommons burst clear on the left, found Cathair Friel but Paddy Flood came off his line to clear the danger.

Larne took the lead in the 75th minute; Donnelly heading home after a clever knock down from Keke.

In stoppage time they added their second; Paul Maguire burst into the box, Wells clearly won the ball, but ref Morrison, much to the anger off all the United team sent him off. Keke smashed home the penalty.

Larne: Flood, Bradley, Smith, McClean, Rogers, McGrandles, G Gillen, McCabe, Maguire, Keke, Robinson. Subs: Donnelly for McCabe (61), Irvine for McGrandles (78), Stitt, O Gillan & McGonnell (not used).

Limavady United: Wells, Devlin, L Harkin, McClelland, Carlin, McFadden, Owens, Tommons, C Harkin, Friel, Morrison. Subs: Ferris & McMullan for L Harkin & C Harkin (79), Kelly for McClelland (91), Logue (not used).

Referee: Chris Morrison (Belfast).

Cautioned: Morrison (19), Maguire (34), Carlin (58), Owens (63), G Gillen (77), McClean (87).

Sent-off: Wells (91).