There were over 30 goals scored in the eight Irish Cup ties played in Round Six on Saturday and there was no shortage of controversy as well, so without much further ado:-
Ballyclare Comrades 0 Glentoran 4
When the draw for this round was made some people may have picked this out as a potential banana skin but Comrades promotion charge has hit a bit of a stumbling block of late with only 3 points from the last 15 has seen them slip to 4th in the table and in the end it turned into a convincing win for the Premiership side. It was the Comrades who had the first sight of goal but Elliot Morris saved easily from Thomas Robinson and then two quick-fire goals from Curtis Allen put the Glens 2-0 up with less than 10 minutes on the clock. The Comrades did settle into the game and had some efforts on goal but it was the Glens, and Allen, who scored again before the break to complete his hat-trick and all but put the game to bed. The Glens started the second half slowly but Allen added their fourth goal 5 minutes in when he scored from the penalty spot after John McGuigan had been fouled, after this the Glens controlled the remainder of the game and went close to extending their lead further on a number of occasions.
Ballymena United 2 Ballinamallard United 2 (Ballymena win 4-3 on penalties)
It took the Mallards 6 minutes to get the ball into the Ballymena box on Saturday in the battle of the United’s but it resulted in the first goal of the game. Jason McCartney crossed to Stephen O’Flynn and the experienced striker sent his volleyed effort past Ross Glendenning in goal. Ballymena sought to find a way back into the game, Kevin Braniff had a goal chalked off for offside and Tony Kane saw an effort on goal blocked by the Mallards’ Ryan O’Reilly. Ballymena were on top but were stunned on 27 minutes when a Shane McGinty effort took a deflection and beat Glendenning for the second time of the afternoon. Ballymena did get a goal back before half-time when Jonathan McMurray got onto the end of Cathair Friel’s flick on and finished past keeper Richard Brush. The second half continued in much the same way as the first, Ballymena were in control but it took the until the 88th minute to draw level when the ball fell to McMurray inside the area and with the help of the woodwork he sent the tie into extra-time. Both sides had chances in extra-time but ultimately it was to go all the way to penalties were O’Reilly missed his effort at the crucial moment to send Ballymena through.
Cliftonville 4 Crusaders 1
There were a couple of derby matches on Saturday and it was Barry Gray’s Cliftonville who came out on top of this one at Solitude but Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter will no doubt be looking back at one crucial moment in the tie. The game was a fairly even affair until the 37th minute when Cliftonville striker Rory Donnelly made his way into the box and was fouled by Crues midfielder Declan Caddell. Referee Raymond Hetherington pointed to the spot and showed Caddell his second yellow card of the game, striker Joe Gormley stepped up but his effort was saved by keeper Brian Jensen but Hetherington then ordered the penalty be retaken as Caddell was still making his way off the pitch at the far end. Naturally, Gormley scored at the second attempt much to the fury of the Crusaders players, management and supporters. Cliftonville doubled the lead before the break and once again it was from the penalty spot after Donnelly was fouled again, Craig McClean the offender on this occasion, and Gormley stepped up to score again. Gormley completed his hat-trick in the second-half and Stephen Garrett added a fourth before Gavin Whyte pulled one back from the penalty spot after Tomas Cosgrove had handled.
Glenavon 3 Dungannon Swifts 0
Another derby game on Saturday, this time in Mid-Ulster, where Gary Hamilton’s Glenavon met Rodney McAree’s Dungannon. Glenavon started strongly with Caolan Marron going close and former Swifts striker Andrew Mitchell having a goal disallowed in the opening four minutes. After seven minutes Glenavon were awarded a penalty when Mark Sykes was brought down by Dougie Wilson but the normally reliable Sammy Clingan saw his effort well saved by Stuart Addis. Glenavon continued to dominate and found Addis in top form but he was finally beaten by Mitchell a minute before the break. Glenavon had their second goal of the game disallowed just after the break when Sykes had the ball in the net but the flag was up. Mark Patton had a less memorable day again his former side as the Swifts January signing was shown a straight red card following a tackle on James Singleton. Glenavon doubled their lead after 70 minutes when Stephen Murray’s shot was deflected past Addis and the scoring was complete thanks to Marc Griffin three minutes from time.
Coleraine 4 Institute 0
We head up to the north-west now were 2nd in the Premiership took on 1st in the Championship but it ended in a comfortable win for Oran Kearney’s side. It took Coleraine just four minutes to break the deadlock thanks to a strike from Jamie McGonigle. The game was basically over after 20 minutes as an own goal from Dean Curry and a further striker from Aaron Traynor had the Bannsiders 3-0 up and McGonigle added his second of the game to ensure a safe passage into the next round for last season’s beaten Irish Cup finalists.
Larne 6 Dundela 1
Another game that some may have picked out as a potential banana skin as in form Dundela came up against Championship side Larne but once again the result was a convincing win for the favourites. Larne were 5-0 up by the time the sides went in at half-time, with the first goal coming after ten minutes through Matthew Henry. The lead was doubled when January signing Thomas Stewart chipped the ball over Dundela keeper for fellow January signing David McDaid to finish into an open goal. Further goals were added by David Scullion, Martin Donnelly and Thomas Stewart before the break. After the break Donnelly added his second goal of the game before Jay Magee grabbed a consolation for the Duns.
Linfield 1 Newry City 0
Defending champions Linfield advanced to the quarter final thanks to this win against Championship side Newry City. Linfield went close to taking the lead within the opening 10 minutes but Mark Stafford’s header from a Niall Quinn corner was cleared off the line. Linfield took the lead soon after when Kirk Millar played in Andrew Waterworth and last season’s cup final hero finished into the far corner of the net. Linfield continued to dominate after the second half with Jordan Stewart and Kurtis Byrne going close. An issue with the floodlights saw the last 25 minutes have to be played out without them with spectators wondering if the game would have to be abandoned. Young substitute Ryan Strain went close for Linfield, while at the other end Keith Johnston fired over the bar. Both sides survived goal-line clearances in the closing stages as Linfield held on for the win.
Loughgall 2 Ards 1
There was one cup upset as in form Championship side Loughgall dumped out Colin Nixon’s Ards team. Loughgall had to come from behind to get the win after Josh Kelly put Ards into the lead after just 45 seconds. Guillume Keke missed a glorious chance to double the lead after 22 minutes when he contrived to hit the bar from six yards out with keeper Gareth Buchanan out of action. Ards would regret that miss before their break when their former player, Gary Liggett, levelled things up from the penalty spot after Michael Ruddy fouled Peter Campbell. Things seemed to swing in the home sides favour when Kyle Cherry and Ruddy were both sent off reducing Ards to ten men and later in the half Ross Clarke was dismissed reducing Ards to EIGHT men!!! Two minutes into second-half injury time Dale Montgomery’s cross was headed onto the bar by Liggett and the rebound from Nathaniel Ferris hit the post but at the third time of asking Ricky Copeland forced the ball over the line to make a miserable day even worse for Nixon’s men.
The draw for the Quarter Finals was carried out shortly after the final whistles sounded with the ties as follows:-
Ballymena United v Larne
Coleraine v Glentoran
Glenavon v Loughgall
Linfield v Cliftonville