Peter Wilson reports from Inver Park
LARNE had to come from behind to beat a spirited Crumlin Star as they made it into the quarter-finals of the Tennent’s Irish Cup. After an early opener from Joe McNeill, it took a Jeff Hughes header and David McDaid brace to take the Inver Reds through to the last eight, where they will face holders Coleraine.
Crumlin had the upper hand in the early exchanges between the two sides; Barry McKervey’s well-stuck free-kick ably saved by Conor Devlin.
Tomas Cosgrove engineered a chance on eight minutes, with Shane Harrison getting himself down low to make a decent save from Marty Donnelly’s effort. A minute later, David McDaid glanced his header over from a Cosgrove corner.
It was the away side who took the lead though; Joe McNeill dinking the ball over Devlin on 13 minutes after the defence were too slow to react.
It took the home side a further 12 minutes to equalise; Donnelly whipping in the corner with Jeff Hughes duly nodding home. The Invermen came close to going ahead themselves only minutes later; Donnelly’s free-kick cannoning off the near post.
In the second period, Paddy McNally squandered a chance to give Larne the lead; turning the ball over from close range after Hughes had squared in.
It was shortly after the hour when McDaid fired past Harrison from 12 yards to put the hosts in the lead for the first time, after a penalty was given for handball.
And in one of the last kicks of the game, with Lee Lynch providing the cross, McDaid again tucked the ball into the net to send the Inver Reds through to the last eight.
Larne: Devlin, Sule, Ramsey, McEleney (McNally), Kelly, McDaid, Donnelly (Tear), Tilney (Scullion), Lynch, Cosgrove, Hughes.
Unused subs: Dougherty, Stuart, Hassin, Igiehon
Crumlin Star: Harrison, Pigent, A. McNeill, Hawkins, Burns, J. McNeill, Halfpenny (Murphy), Trainor, Doyle (Chines), Lyons, McKervey (O’Neill). Unused subs: Forbes, McIlhenny, Mullen
What’s up next?
Next up for Larne in the Irish Cup is a quarter-final tie against Coleraine on Saturday 2 March. First though, it’s back to league action on Saturday 9 February for Larne as they travel to Shamrock Park to face Portadown. Kick-off is 3pm.