Immaculata defy the odds to reach first final
Amateur League outfit Immaculata made it to the final of the Steel & Sons Cup for the first time in their history, by defeating Championship One side Ballyclare Comrades 3-1 in the semi-final at Seaview.
Goals from John Boyce, James Haughey and Jonathan McDonnell gave the Belfast side a famous victory and set up a Christmas morning cup final against 22-time finalists Dundela.
Although Immaculata won the game, it was the Comrades who grabbed the first goal of the night. It came in the 23rd minute when Ricky Higgins took advantage of an error by Immaculata goalkeeper Gerard Smith to cut the ball back for Chris Trussell to roll into the unguarded net from six yards.
With Eddie Hill's men in the ascendancy, Immaculata's 32nd minute equaliser came as something of a surprise. James Haughey's corner kick was met with bullet header from Boyce, that gave Immaculata the equaliser.
Immaculata took the lead in the 38th minute after a mix-up saw the ball hit the crossbar and drop into the path of Haughey, who stooped low to head the ball home from inside the six yard box.
Trussell thought he had the equaliser a minute into the second half when he tapped the ball home from close range, but the linesman on the near side ruled him offside.
Things went from bad to worse for Ballyclare in the 59th minute when full back Darren Doherty picked up a second yellow card and then Ballyclare had another goal disallowed.
Immaculata put the result beyond doubt in the 73rd minute after substitute McDonnell scored.
Ballyclare Comrades: Flood, Doherty, Buckley, McAlea, Doyle, Getty, Agnew (55 Gray), McCart (17 McGowan), Trussell, Higgins, Simms. Subs: Wilkinson, Smith, Forsythe.
Immaculata: Smith, Prigent, Hughes, Largey, S McGovern, O'Riordan, Hagney, Dorrian (75 Begley), Murray, Boyce (81 Adams), Haughey (68 McDonnell). Subs: B McGovern, K McGovern.
Referee: Mark McCurdy (Bangor).