Harkin’s winner secures League Cup for Rovers

Claudy Rovers defender Connor Johnstone tussles with Ardmore's Damien McGee, during Friday night's League Cup Final.
Claudy Rovers defender Connor Johnstone tussles with Ardmore's Damien McGee, during Friday night's League Cup Final.
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Clinical finishing meant that Claudy Rovers saw off Ardmore 2-1, to secure the League Cup, in Friday night’s final, at Limavady Showgrounds.

Although Ryan McDaid’s side were second best in terms of the possession stats, their goalkeeper Kieran Reilly didn’t have much to do throughout the 90 minutes, in fact it was his opposite number Bernard Doherty, who in truth kept the score down.

Doherty made a host of top drawer saves as Rovers continued to hit Damien McGee’s side on the counter attack particularly in the second half.

It was Ardmore who took the lead after just nine minutes thanks to Calvin McCallion’s low strike, which somehow went through Reilly.

Ardmore continued to dominate things in the opening quarter with Pol Brown in particular running the show and it was his pass which found Damien McGee but the manager’s son saw his drive from the left flash just wide.

Rovers levelled things on 24 minutes when Eoin McGahon’s fantastic right wing cross found an unmarked Chris Monteith and he made no mistake powerfully heading home past Doherty.

Two minutes later Harkin was inches away from scoring when he created himself some space on the left hand side of the box, but his drive rattled against Doherty’s post.

On 54 minutes Cormac Carlin went close for Ardmore when his close range shot was deflected wide by Paddy Hargan and Carlin’s close range header from McGee’s resulting corner flew over the bar.

Just after the hour mark Harkin had a glorious chance to give Rovers the lead when he broke clear of the Ardmore defence, but he was denied by an out-rushing Doherty.

Moments later Doherty was called into action again this time at full stretch the keeper tipped substitute James Boyd’s long range strike over the bar.

The winner came on 73 minutes when an inch perfect pass by Boyd found an unmarked Harkin, who controlled the ball before slotting home past Doherty.

McGee’s side piled on the pressure in the closing stages to grab an equaliser with McCallion going close to scoring a second, but his long range drive, which had Reilly beaten, smacked against the post.

Ardmore: Bernard Doherty, Damien Campbell, Niall Murry, Conor Brown, Dan McIntyre, Pol Brown, Dee McGee, Paul McLaughlin, Cormac Carlin, Calvin McCallion, Gavin Doherty, Conor Deeney, Jordan McLaughlin, Darren Crossan, Johnny Hume, Kieran McLaughlin.

Claudy Rovers: Kieran Reilly, Ciaran Hargan, Connor Johnstone, Paddy Hargan, Gerald Kelly, Connor McDermott, Fergal Hargan, Eoin McGahon, James McGinley, Darren Harkin, Chris Monteith, James Boyd, Liam Healy, Shane McGahon, Charlie Lees.

Referee: Colin McDaid.