Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Football: Rangers put to the sword as United hit them for four

As the Irish Junior Cup first round rumbled onto a second week, there was really only one show in town - the all-Fermanagh & Western clash between Omagh United and Enniskillen Rangers at Athletic Park.

Although United emerged comfortable 4-1 victors it wasn't the most inspiring of performances from Terry Bonner's side. Indeed Rangers will have every right to feel aggrieved at the final outcome.

Omagh moved in front after just six minutes, thanks to a stunning 35-yard Eunan Devine blast, which appeared to deceive Rangers 'keeper Gavin Connolly, who could only help the ball on its way past him despite getting a hand to it.

They doubled their advantage barely four minutes later, when Paul McCabe and Conor McCullagh combined to carve an opening for Gerard McPeake to fire home from six yards.

Rangers got back into the tie on 24 minutes, when some poor home defending allowed an unmarked Jamie Murphy to send a low Roly Williamson cross beyond Dermot McKeogh.

McPeake helped make the issue safe, though, four minutes from time when he delightfully chested down a Devine free-kick for substitute Peter Oguz to slot home from close range. Then, another McPeake, brother John, made it 4-1 deep into stoppage time, with a header from a Joe McMahon free-kick.

There was high drama at Donnelly's Holm as Beragh Swifts crept past Windmill Stars, courtesy of a 7-6 penalty shootout win.

Indeed, it was sweet revenge for the Swifts after the Carnbane League side had knocked them out of the same competition last season.

Goals from Stephen Browne and Andrew Bradley had appeared to send the Swifts through, but a second half revival saw the visitors force extra-time - and with no further goals forthcoming it was left to the spot-kick lottery to determine the winners.

After both sides had successfully tucked away their five regulation kicks, it was left to sudden death to settle it. Bradley held his nerve to give Ricky Lyons' side the edge, and when Swifts keeper David Ward saved the decisive Windmill effort, it was the catalyst for wild celebrations amongst the home support.

By and large, though, it was a mixed weekend for the local representatives. Holders Enniskillen Town United kicked off their defence with a two-goal defeat of Tullygally but, Enniskillen Swifts, semi-finalists last season, crashed out 5-1 to Crumlin Star.

Also making it safely through were Enniskillen Santos who, put four without reply past Kevlin Old Boys, while Lisnaksea Rovers hit Taghnevan Harps for six, albeit after extra-time. There were wins, too, for Clabby Strollers, Dunbreen Rovers, Omagh Hospitals and Tummery Athletic.

Making their exits, though, are Derrychara United, Glebe United, Lisnarick, Spamount Swifts, Strathroy Harps, and Sixmilecross Bohemians. Those that are left will discover their fate tonight.

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