Irish Cup Round One (AET)

Donegal Celtic 1-2 Belfast Celtic

Belfast Celtic sealed a victory against Donegal Celtic in the second half of extra time, taking the victory in Round One of the Irish Cup.

It was a tough match for both teams, both played excellent defence and both also on many occasions broke through and took some magnificent chances. The game could have gone either way up until the second goal for Belfast Celtic, scored by Brendan Glackin.

The first half was dominated by chances not made, Belfast Celtic had six great chances at goal during the first half, Brendan Glackin taking two, one which was saved by Donegal Celtic ‘keeper Sean McIlhone, and the other which went wide. Lee O’Brien, Anthony McGonnell and Shane McKernan each had chances also, with each either going wide by a smidgen or being expertly saved by Donegal Celtic’s McIlhone.

Belfast Celtic’s defence was strong also, and Donegal only broke through three times, but each time their chances were very well taken, with two brilliant attempts from Michael Gallagher and one from Kieran Mahon. However, it was Ryan McAuley’s breakthrough goal at the close of the first half which catapulted Donegal into the lead, with the half finishing on one goal to Donegal Celtic.

BATTLE: Both teams fought hard for the ball

BATTLE: Both teams fought hard for the ball

Donegal’s Conor Glenholmes picked up a yellow card at 53 minutes for a poor tackle on Ryan Burns.

Possession went back and forth for the next 15 minutes, with Belfast Celtic itching to get back and even the scoreline. They almost had a chance after 65 minutes when Shane McKernan took an excellent run up the left wing and shot at goal, but it went slightly wide.

DC sought to press the advantage, with a decent goal attempt from Michael Gallagher, but the shot went slightly wide of the left hand of the net.

On 68 minutes, a stinging chance from Belfast Celtic when sub Darren Murray took a free kick, only for the ball to ricochet off the crossbar. 

Murray would try again a few moments later at 79 minutes, and would have gone in had the ball been lower, but it went just over the net.

With the dying down of the second half, it appeared Donegal had held on to a good victory, but it wasn’t to be, when Belfast’s Martin Bradley took a skilful run around defence and planted the ball in the back of the net in the very last minute, ensuring the game would go on to extra time to decide who would advance.

The first half of extra time contained a few good chances, particularly from Donegal’s Niall Dixon and Shane McKernan, but both teams still came up against a strong defence and struggled to get past.

The second half was decided early when Belfast Celtic’s Brendan Glackin put the ball in the back of the net after three minutes. Donegal tried to come back, and good chances were taken, particularly one by James Larkin, but it wasn’t enough and Belfast Celtic held onto the lead.

DONEGAL CELTIC: S McIlhone, T Larkin, K Mahon, C Savage, S Morelli, R McAuley (goal 45 mins), S Morelli, B Breen, C Glenholmes, M Gallagher, T Skillen

SUBS: R McAuley for J McGrogan (68 mins), S Morelli for N Dixon (76 mins), M Gallagher for J Larkin (89 mins)

BELFAST CELTIC: P McLaughlin, C Donnellu, L O’Brien, M Bradley (Goal 90 mins), S Tully, P J Nesbitt, R Burns, A McGonnell, B Glackin (Goal extra time 108 mins), D Taggart, S McKernan

SUBS: D Murray for D Taggart (Half-time), D Snodden for P J Nesbitt (58 mins), E Kelly for L O’Brien (70 mins)