Dollingstown 2-0 Newington
Dollingstown have won the Intermediate Cup for the first time with a 2-0 victory over Newington.
Former Glenavon striker Gary Liggett and man of the match Johnny Kernaghan got the deserved second half goals for what was a convincing performance by Stephen Uprichard’s side at Annagh United’s Tandragee Road ground.
Although their supporters weren’t allowed through the gates to see it, the victory marks the proudest day yet in the club’s 41 year history.
It all seemed a long way away when East Belfast knocked the Dollybirds out of the competition in the second round but, when the Amateur League side were thrown out of the competition for fielding an ineligible player, Dollingstown took advantage in the most spectacular style.
They dominated large swathes of a keenly contested final, with Kernaghan finding regular space between the lines in front of accomplished midfield duo David McCullough and Stephen Jones.
Kernaghan went closest to opening the scores in the first half when ex-Newry forward Keith Johnston seized on a slack backpass from Anto McGonnell and chipped the goalkeeper only for Newington's outstanding defender Aodhfionn Casey to dash back and clear it off the line.
Former Glenavon forward Liggett also hit a sweet strike from the halfway line, attempting to catch Newington stopper Maybin off his line but didn't have the height to beat the keeper.
At the other end, the Belfast side were limited more and more to brief forays forward Ethan Devine beat Aaron Rogers on the right-wing and whipped in a dangerous cross that Tiarnan Mulvenna couldn't stretch to convert.
Dollingstown’s reward for their dominance arrived just two minutes into the second half, when Johnston did well to win possession on the half-way line and combined with Kernaghan to work space for a right-wing cross that was perfect for Liggett, who beat outrushing goalkeeper Marc Maybin to head into the empty net.
Newington did enjoy their best spell of the game soon after and Stephen Maguire had to be alert to tip a viciously-deflected Sean O’Reilly effort over the bar.
A new quirk of the game, however, worked to their disadvantage as the second half waterbreak allowed Dollingstown to regroup and just two minutes later, the second goal arrived.
Once again Maguire was the architect, this time with a blistering run down the left flank before he cut back and delivered an inch-perfect cross for Kernaghan to volley an equally impressive finish in off the post for a thoroughly-well deserved goal.
Newington did push to restore the nerves to the closing stages but Devine volleyed over and Daniel White’s header from one of fellow sub Michael Gallagher’s dangerous crosses was deflected wide of the near post.
At the other end, Kernaghan threatened to cap an impressive display with his second but curled a free-kick inches wide of the top corner.
In the end, it wasn’t to matter as his side eased out a convincing victory to crown a memorable success.
Here's the game as it happened: