Coleraine cruise it
Coleraine 2 Dungannon Swifts 0
Coleraine will get the chance to do the treble over Glentoran when they meet in the Co-Operative Insurance Cup final on March 27.
The Bannsiders booked their place in the showpiece with a comfortable 2-0 win over Dungannon Swifts last night thanks to goals from Northern Ireland hopeful Rory Patterson and Northern Ireland international Stephen Carson.
All eyes were on Patterson with Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington sitting in the stand on a spying mission ahead of naming his squad for the friendly in Albania next month. And he certainly would not have been disappointed with the former FC United of Manchester striker’s contribution.
His first sniff of goal wasn’t his greatest effort of a prolific season as he blazed over from 25 yards but it was an early sign of his confidence in front of goal.
If the Bannsiders were going to find a break-through, Patterson certainly seemed the most likely.
His first clear sight on goal came on 21 minutes when he out-paced the Dungannon back line before testing Alvin Rouse from just inside the penalty area but the keeper was equal to the task with a smart, diving save.
Three minutes later their luck ran out however and it was no great surprise that Patterson bagged his 27th goal of the season.
Full-back Gareth Harkin whipped the ball to the front post and Patterson’s prowess in and around the goal shone as he got ahead of his defender to cleverly flick the ball past Rouse from close range.
Dungannon had offered very little as an attacking force but came close to levelling within five minutes of going behind.
Michael Ward slipped the ball through to winger Marc McCann and with Davey O’Hare charging off his line, his shot from 12 yards bounced off the inside of the post before being scrambled clear.
After the break Dungannon upped their game.
Ward should have done better with a near post header from Timmy Adamson’s cross on 47 minutes as Coleraine were caught cold, but he headed over.
Two minutes later Patterson thought he should have had a penalty after a heavy challenge from Johnny Montgomery in the penalty area but referee David Malcolm was having none of it.
But the Swifts continued to ask questions at the other end. Midfielder Alain Emerson failed to test O’Hare with a firm header from 10 yards.
Ten minutes later, however, Coleraine booked a final date with Glentoran when Carson pounced on a defensive blunder.
A long ball out of defence appeared to be harmless but Rouse and Fergal McAliskey left it to each other and Carson nipped in to head into the empty net.
COLERAINE: O’Hare, Beverland, Mukendi, McVey, Harkin, Dooley (Tommons 84), McCallion, Hegarty, Carson (Gibson 90), Tolan (Boyce 70), Patterson. Subs not used: McCormick, Canning.
DUNGANNON SWIFTS: Rouse, McAliskey, Montgomery (Murphy 74), McMinn, McClean, McCann, Emerson (C Forker 77), Ferguson, McIlmoyle (Coney 65), Adamson, Ward. Subs not used: Morgan, A Forker.
Referee: David Malcolm (Bangor).