Lurgan Celtic and Loughgall book Irish Cup quarter-final places
NIFL Championship One clubs Lurgan Celtic and Loughgall have secured themselves huge Mid Ulster derby encounters against top flight opposition in the Tennent’s Irish Cup quarter-finals after successfully progressing through to the next stage with victories in Saturday’s sixth round.
Celtic can look forward to a trip to Shamrock Park to face neighbours Portadown, after an Aaron Haire header on 79 minutes wrapped up a 1-0 win in their close encounter with Knockbreda. The winning strike made up for the Hoops’ earlier disappointment at seeing Dale Malone’s earlier penalty saved by Ryan McBride.
Loughgall meanwhile, will be taking on Glenavon at Mourneview Park, following their 2-0 triumph over PSNI. Free-scoring Warner Mullan was the main man yet again with his opening goal in the 31st minute, and a 58th minute penalty sealing the win.
There was to be no Irish Cup fairytale, however, for other Championship representatives Armagh City and Sport & Leisure Swifts, who succumbed to respective 7-0 and 4-0 defeats at Linfield and Cliftonville.
In both instances, it was a case of the Premiership teams’ superior firepower with a hat-trick from Cliftonville’s Jay Donelly (and a goal from Ryan Catney) and four goals from Linfield’s Andrew Waterworth (as well as a brace from Aaron Burns and a goal from Stephen Fallon) doing the damage – and it will be able to see which of these top flight rivals comes out on top when they face each other in the quarter-finals.
Crumlin Star are the other club outside of the Premier Division remaining in the competition. Their rain-postponed sixth round clash with Carrick Rangers is now pencilled-in to take place on February 15.
If the amateurs are able to upset the odds against last season’s Championship One winners, they will book themselves a last-eight tie with Premiership champions Crusaders.
The quarter-final ties are set to take place on March 5.