Soccer: McDonagh’s wonder strike sends Cliftonvile into the Irish Cup semi-finals

Soccer: McDonagh’s wonder strike sends Cliftonvile into the Irish Cup semi-finals

Despite looking the more likely in the opening quarter, the hosts found themselves a goal behind at the break as Lyndon Kane rifled home, but managed to turn it around in the second period with Joe Gormley coming off the bench to level despite a huge suspicion he used his hand, leaving the visitors fuming and the replay seems to suggest they had a case.

However, there was no doubt about the winner as McDonagh curled home a beauty that proved to be the decisive moment for the North Belfast side.

 

The hosts were much sharper from the off and six minutes in, Jamie McDonagh swung in a cross from the right and Ryan Curran was not far away with an acrobatic scissor kick that bounced just outside the post.

McDonagh was again then instigator moments later as he weaved into the box and passed to Kris Lowe whose curling shot was well taken down and gathered at the second attempt by Gareth Deane at full stretch.

The hosts continued on the front foot with Coleraine forced to try and hit on the break, but the hosts kept coming in waves with Stephen O’Donnell blocking a low effort from Levi Ives.

It seemed the opener was only a matter of time and it was, but at the other end as on 24 minutes, Lyndon Kane broke with purpose on the right, played into Patrick Kelly and took the return pass to burst into the box and lash past Luke McNicholas to put the Bannsiders 1-0 up.

McNicholas then had to be alert to get down to smother Rodney Brown’s close-range header from a Jamie Glackin free-kick and did well to hold on with Matthew Shevlin lurking.

As the minutes ticked towards the half, the game got scrappier although Jamie McDonagh did get a shot off that flew well over the bar, while Coleraine’s Rodney Brown was not far away with an audacious effort from all of 40 years when he spotted McNicholas off his line, but the effort dropped over onto the roof of the net as the score remained 1-0 at the break.

On 54 minutes, Joe Gormley was sprung from the bench and his impact was immediate as McDonagh sent a deep cross in from the right and there was Gormley at the back post to turn it home and make it 1-1 despite Coleraine protests it had come off the striker’s hand.

Coleraine were almost back in front immediately as James McLaughlin had a header scrambled off the line and then another header seconds later that struck Lowe and although Coleraine appealed for a penalty, referee Lee Tavinder wasn’t interested as appeared to come off the Cliftonville defender’s head first.

 

As it was, Cliftonville would hit the front when Ronan Doherty showed good anticipation to nip in and gather possession before slipping to Jamie McDonagh who produced a stunning finish, curling with his right boot beyond Gareth Deane from the edge of the box to make it 2-1 on 65 minutes.

Coleraine were again fuming minutes later when Matthew Shevlin went down in the box, but was booked for simulation.

McDonagh wasn’t far away from scoring an identical goal on 72 minutes but this time his effort was just wide.

It was now Coleraine chasing the equaliser and Conor McKendry curled too high from a good position on 83 minutes.

The pressure continued to mount, but despite numerous balls into the box, the hosts held firm to seal their place in the semi-final draw.

CLIFTONVILLE: L McNicholas, L Ives, J Addis, L Turner, K Lowe, J McDonagh, R Doherty, C Gallagher (C Coates 78), R Hale (J Gormley 54), D Kearns (C Curran 69), R Curran.
Goals: J Gormley 55, J McDonagh 65

COLERAINE: G Deane, R Wilson (C McKendry 69), L Kane, R Brown, S O’Donnell, J Carson, J Glackin, P Kelly, S Lowry, M Shevlin, J McLaughlin (E Bradley 69).
Goal: L Kane 24

»Soccer: McDonagh’s wonder strike sends Cliftonvile into the Irish Cup semi-finals«

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