Last Saturday, thirty-two teams battled it out to see who would progress to the last 16 of the Irish Cup and boy was there action to behold!
Two games were forced to penalties, Glentoran v Portadown were tied at 1 all after extra time but Glentoran beat Portadown 5-4 on penalties. Glentoran dominated the first half but Portadown played advantage when Stephen Teggart found himself with lots of space on the left wing and swung in an excellent right footed cross that Lee Bonis, challenged by Marcus Kane, nodded high into the net. Glentoran continued to dominate in the second half and had several chances but none failed to hit the back of the net until in the final minute of injury time, Jonny Frazer was fouled by Paul Finnegan in the box and the Glens were awarded a penalty. Hrvoje Plum showed a steely reserve as he stepped up and sent Edwards completely the wrong way for his twelfth goal of the season. Portadown held onto the draw throughout extra time as the Glens pressed ahead but couldn’t get the ball in the net.
And so came the penalties, the Glens took an early lead as Plum scored with Salley and Mckenna missing Portadowns first two efforts. However, there was further tension introduced when Navid Nasseri missed his penalty. Cricky Gallagher and Jonny Frazer scored the Glens next two with Lavery and Carmichael converting for Portadown. Ciaran O’Connor – bravely volunteering in his first match in four months – had his effort saved by Edwards, evening things up again. Paul Finnegan for the Ports and Paddy McClean for the Glens scored before Christopher Crane skied his effort. That meant goal the winner if Gavin Peers scored the next one. Despite Peers never having taken a penalty for the Glens before Saturday, the fans went wild when he calmly put it away. Just relief!
Banbridge Town v East Belfast game also went to penalties. Banbridge reigned victorious after beating East Belfast 5-4 on penalties after a 2 all draw at the end of extra time
The most surprising result in the Irish Cup Round 5, was underdogs Queens beating Linfield 2-1. Queens took the lead against Linfield after 41 minutes when Marc McKenna scored from a great effort from the edge of the box. On the hour mark, substitute Shayne Lavery equalized for Linfdield but it was Queen’s who surprisingly went on to claim the winner through Jonah Mitchell’s superbly taken penalty. Linfield gaffer David Healy declared that he and his team must be stronger and better for the rest of the season after suffering an “embarrassing and humiliating” on their opponents home patch at The Dub. Healy revealed that Saturday’s 2-1 fifth-round defeat to the Championship side was the lowest point of his career and would haunt him forever. Linfield have been knocked out of all three domestic cups and their only hope this season is the Premiership but their performance has been inconsistent but with one game in hand, hopefully Healy and co can dust themselves off and concentrate on the only avenue for glory they have this season.
Seventh place Premiership team Glenavon also reeled out of the Irish Cup when Coleraine beat them 2-0 and put to bed their dream of European football. Gary Hamilton’s side are clearly lacking a creative players up front and he squarely puts the blame lack of funds to attract top players. He is hoping incoming players Greg Moorhouse and Danny Purkis will bring the goods and that Conan Byrne and Dylan Davidson will provide much needed assists.
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