WATERSIDE men Ardmore retained the Sentinel Cup after defeating a spirited ten man Eglinton side 2-0, at a bitterly cold Limavady Showgrounds, on Friday night.
Second half goals from Peter McLaughlin and Carl O’Kane was enough for Damien McGee’s side to get the win, however the Villagers themselves had the chances to take the lead and if they had have taken them, the out-come may have been different.
For boss Damien McGee he hopes this cup success can inspire his side onto bigger and better things this season.
“We knew it was going to be a tight match, to be fair to Eglinton they are a good side, but I always thought we had a wee edge over them,” admitted McGee.
“Our boys are used to winning, we have remained unbeaten this season and we hope to continue on with that now.
“Success breeds success, but winning the Sentinel Cup is a good start for us, but it’s going to be a long hard season and we are going to need our entire 25 man squad for the whole season.
“Our priority this year like every team is to try and win the league, then whatever cups come with it, then it’s a bonus, but we would love to get a good run in the Irish Junior Cup, we are in the last 32 now and have a tough game at Lisnaskea Rovers, but hopefully we can get a result there.”
With both sides desperate not to concede the first goal, the final as a spectacle was disappointing, however that may have changed if Barry Murray’s second minute long range strike, which had Ardmore keeper Richard Stewart beaten, came back off the post.
Ardmore themselves should have gone in front on 16 minutes when Steven Melly’s close range header was easily gathered by Eglinton keeper Joe Robertson.
Minutes later Brian Devine’s side thought they had taken the lead when after Stewart did well to keep out Peter Doherty’s drive, Murray’s follow-up effort was rightfully ruled out for offside.
Just after the mid-way point of the half Gavin McShane picked up his first caution of the final when he brought down Anthony Hargan; that booking would come back to haunt him later in the game.
The final chance of the opening 45 minutes came just after the half hour mark when Eddie McIntyre’s in-swinging corner found Pol Brown, but the Gobnascale man’s close range header failed to trouble Robertson.
On 65 minutes Eglinton were rightfully reduced to ten men when McShane brought down his name sake Conor on the edge of the box, leaving referee Mark McGarrigle with little option but to show him his second yellow card followed by a red.
The deadlock was broken nine minutes later in somewhat fortunate circumstances when Dan McLaughlin’s initial close range shot was blocked and Peter McLaughlin was on hand to bundle the loose ball home.
The Liverpool supporter then did his Luis Suárez Merseyside derby goal celebration, by running to the half-way line and diving right in front of the Eglinton dug-out.
To credit Eglinton they continued to push forward in search of an equaliser but Johnny Hume’s long range strike was saved by Stewart.
Then deep into stoppage time Ardmore broke away and added a second when substitute Barry Gormley broke from inside his own half, before calmly squaring the ball to fellow sub Carl O’Kane who made no mistake from just inside the box, firing in off the post to score against his old club.
Ardmore: Richard Stewart, Anthony Hargan, Joe McCallion, James Melly, Steven Melly, Danny Doherty, Eddie McIntyre, Peter McLaughlin, Dan McLaughlin, Pol Brown, Conor McShane. Subs: Barry Gormley for McShane (78); Carl O’Kane for D McLaughlin (83); Raymond Rogan for P McLaughlin (88); Mark McLaughlin (not used).
Eglinton: Joe Robertson, Kieran McGlinchey, Adrian O’Kane, Shaun Whoriskey, Martin Smyth, Peter Doherty, Gavin McShane, Johnny Hume, Barry Murray, Ryan Barr, John White. Subs: Sean Roddy for White (H-T); Darren Harkin for Barr (62); Johnny Brothers for Doherty (78); Emmett Kirk & Ryan O’Kane (not used).
Referee: Mr Mark McGarrigle.