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Champions Immaculata spot on for Clarence Cup glory

Immaculata 0-0 Downpatrick (Immaculata won 3-1 on pens)

By Martin Mawhinney

Immaculata ended the Amateur League season on an incredible high at Breda Park last night with their defence of the Clarence Cup.

The victory, decided on penalties, completes a super week for the Grosvenor Road club, who last Thursday sealed their first Premier Division title triumph.

The game began with these two well-organised outfits showing exactly why they both finished in the top four, as they proceeded to cancel each other out with some disciplined defending.

In fact, the only time either goalkeeper was truly tested in the first 20 minutes was a low drive from Tony Heagney, which Michael McKenna got down to save well before reclaiming it to prevent Colm O'Riordan following up on the loose ball.

Midway through the first half, Downpatrick probably should have scored from Barry Treacy's free kick, as Stephen Galbraith stretched out a foot to Aaron McGarry's connecting header in vain, when a header would have been a better option.

Ten minutes later, another Treacy free kick produced a top save from Gerard Smith.

Downpatrick kept up the pressure with Treacy firing narrowly over from 35 yards and Galbraith breaking clear only to be denied by the feet of the diving Smith, and a low Treacy free kick fingertipped just past the post.

In the second half Immaculata had chances as O'Riordan had an effort saved at close range, while McKenna also kept out a header from Tiarnan McGreevy.

Downpatrick fired another warning shot in the 65th minute, as Galbraith's 25-yard free kick whizzed past the upright.

Both teams squandered golden opportunities in the last 10 minutes of normal time. Traynor volleyed wide while McGreevy rattled the bar.

A tense extra time came and went, with the game decided by penalties. Treacy was Downpatrick's only scorer with Galbraith, Eoin Boyle, and McKenna all denied by Smith, while Sean McGovern, Colm O'Riordan and Kevin McGovern all scored for Immaculata to cancel out the disappointment of Daniel Largey's saved penalty.

Immaculata: Smith, Haughey, B McGovern, Larger, S McGovern, O'Riordan, Heagney, McClenaghan (Lawlor 77), McGreevy, Adams (Carson 97), Oliver (K McGovern 70).

Downpatrick: McKenna, Fitzsimons, Connolly, M Holland, Walsh, Sharvin, Treacy, Kerr, Traynor (Boyle 97), Galbraith, McGarry (C Holland 100). Sub not used: Bell.

Ref: Iain Banks (Carrickfergus)

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