herald

Monday 11 December 2017

bangor refuse to lie down

BANGOR CELTIC 1

BLUEBELL UNITED 1

(Bangor won 4-2 on pens)

Ten-man Bangor Celtic grabbed the Cahill Cup from the grasp of Bluebell United with a remarkable rescue mission in a sensational final at Whitehall last Wednesday night.

A goal down and a mandown, the Celts netted deep into extra time through captain Terry Gleesonbefore Stephen Conlon produced some penalty shoot out heroics to hand JohnScott's side the trophy in the most dramatic fashion. As the Celts celebrated, the Bluebell players traipsed of the pitch with theirhopes of ending the season with a trophy shattered by the late turn around.

Glen Madden had given Andy Noonan's side the lead in the first half of extratime, a lead that looked enough to hand the title to the Bell, especially afterIan Maher had been sent off. Madden's strike arrivedjust five minutes into extra time. The midfielder collected a loose pass justoutside the Bangor area and then stroked home a low effort by the despairingdive of Conlon.

The game twisted furtherinto United's favour a minute later when Maher was sent off after an altercationwith Bell skipper Niall Donnelly. Bangor manager Scott and the substituted AndyFarrell joined Maher in the dressing room as the repercussions continued. Andy Noonan's side, though, couldn't conjureup a decisive goal and as extra time wore on the 10 men started to find alittle belief.

That belief wasn'tmisplaced as Gleeson netted a stunning equaliser with just two minutes left.The Celtic captain, an influential presence throughout the game, burst throughthe heart of the 'Bell defence, latched onto a Paul Devlin knock down and thenarrowed a half volley by John McGuinness into the bottom corner.

Bangor netminder Conlonthen grabbed his moment in the spotlight. The Celtic custodian had alreadyproduced a couple of fine stops during the game to deny Trevor Molloy and ShaneStritch, but his cameo role soon become a star turn as he kept out two of thefour Bluebell penalties.

The preceding ninety minuteshad been tense, yet there was a healthy sprinkling of chances for both sides. The 'Bell started brightly, Peter Darcy popped a long range effort off the top of the crossbar while Donnelly drilled wide from just inside the area as United looked to take control.

Molloy ,enigmatic as ever, curled wide before forcing a brilliant save from Conlon witha cheeky free kick, the former Shamrock Rovers man chipping up Darcy's set up before volleying over the wall and almost sneaking the ball into the bottom corner.

The Bell continued to threaten after the break. Conlon was called on again, this time with a point blank stop to deny Stritch before Darcy had a header cleared off the line. Bangor weren't without their chances either as Paul Devlin hit the crossbar late in the game and John McGuinness tipped over Maher's effort.

BANGOR: Stephen Conlon; IanRoche, Andrew Farrell, Terry Gleeson, Barry Burke, Ian Maher, Mark Cullen, Brian Mooney, Eoin Lanigan,David Freeman, Ronan Byrne. SUBS: Paul Devlin (for Byrne 60mins), Hussain Yazdani(for Farrell 73mins), Paul Gannon (for Roche 95mins), Thomas Kenny, Joseph Courtney, Ian Nolan, Phillip Fahy.

BLUEBELL UNITED: John McGuinness; Ian Cherry, Niall Donnelly, Stuart Smith, Anthony McKeever, Darragh Hollingsworth, Alan Curry, Trevor Molloy, Shane Stritch, Peter Darcy, Anthony O'Rourke.SUBS: Daragh Kileen (for Smith 56mins, Glen Madden (for Hollingsworth 59mins), EamonLynch (for Stritch 113mins), Davy Kelly, Robbie McGuinness, Adrian Karper, SeanCoffey.

Referee: Richie Glynn.

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