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Topley finds shooting boots in the nick of time


Decisive strike: Johnny Topley takes the plaudits

Decisive strike: Johnny Topley takes the plaudits

Decisive strike: Johnny Topley takes the plaudits

Johnny Topley timed his first goal of the season to perfection as his strike sent Dungannon Swifts into the quarter-finals of the Irish Cup at the expense of Premiership rivals Coleraine.

His wind-assisted curler from the corner of the 18-yard box looked like being ruled out as the linesman raised his flag for an offside offence in the goalmouth.

Referee Arnold Hunter allowed the goal to stand, putting the Swifts 3-1 up after earlier finishes from Grant Hutchinson and Ryan Harpur, either side of a Joe McNeill equaliser. Eoin Bradley's late effort for the Bannsiders was merely a consolation.

"I picked a team of grafters and they didn't let me down," said Dungannon manager Darren Murphy.

"We knew we would be in for a battle and the boys were terrific, showing a lot of honesty and hard work to see the job through."

Standing between Dungannon and a place in the semi-finals is Ballymena United, after they produced the big story of round six by knocking Linfield out of the competition.

"We've played them three times already this season and lost by a single goal each time," said Murphy.

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"After seeing off the Blues Glenn Ferguson will be out to go all the way, but I know my players will give it their best shot."

Crusaders made it comfortably through to the last eight as Jordan Owens' hat-trick helped them to a 4-0 win over Belfast Telegraph Championship 2 side Ballymoney United – the lowest ranked team left in the competition.

Teenage substitute Curtis Dempster netted the fourth just minutes after coming on to make his first-team debut.

Warrenpoint Town and Bangor failed to muster a goal in their meeting at Milltown, with the heavy pitch cited as the reason neither team was able to create much by the way of a meaningful opportunity.

They will replay next Monday, February 17 at Clandeboye Park.

Ballinamallard United will face Glenavon on the same night after their meeting at Ferney Park was postponed.

e NORTHERN Ireland will take on Chile in the second game of a south-American tour this summer.

Last week it was announced that Michael O'Neill's team will play Uruguay on Friday May 30.

The match against Chile will take place on Wednesday June 4 or Thursday June 5.

The Chileans will then face Australia, Spain and Holland at the World Cup in Brazil.

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