The ending was in keeping with a gripping, absorbing Cup tie as Lagan Harps held their nerve to overcome Bonagee United on penalties and advance to the next round of the WFAI Intermediate Cup.
Lagan Harps 0 Bonagee United 0 (after extra time, Lagan win 4-1 on penalties)
The light was fading fast over the Swilly when, finally, there was a winner as Michelle Doherty drilled home the seventh and final penalty to send Bríd McGinty’s team through.
In the shoot-out Laura Gallagher saved from Deborah Kerrigan and Niamh McGlinchey’s effort from 12 yards was off the crossbar and over. Although Shannon McBride tucked home for Bonagee, the successful attempts of Aine Deasley, Amanda Callaghan, Zoe Green and, finally, Doherty, were enough to give Lagan the edge.
Neither side deserved to lose it after a pulsating, frenetic battle, during which Bonagee were indebted to goalkeeper Denise Gallagher following a hard-fought 110 minutes that ended with the stalemate intact.
Gallagher had been a late replacement after regular custodian Denise McElhinney picked up an injury playing Gaelic football for St Mary’s, Convoy earlier in the afternoon.
Lagan had the better of the chances but it was still a contest that could have gone either way until Lagan’s numbers eventually came up in the shoot-out lottery.
In the first half of normal time, Gallagher denied Amy Boyd, whose header looked destined for the net, while she thwarted Doherty in a one-on-one after the Lagan attacker broke free.
But Bonagee, too, parted at the interval believing they could have been ahead – And they could’ve.
Alice Diver and McGlinchey combined in the 12th minute and McGlinchey, in her first appearance of the season, played a clever ball over the top for the scampering Kerrigan, who sped away, but ruffled over the crossbar.
Brenda Sweeney, after taking a sweeping pass out from Kerrigan, had a similar result when she tried her luck, but it was Lagan who perhaps held sway in part two.
Boyd drilled over and substitute Callaghan’s dangerous cross to the near post was beaten away by Gallagher, who then made a super save to beat away from Boyd’s shot.
McDevitt looked set to score from the right-hand side of the area as the clocked ticked towards its ending but, again, Gallagher made the save, before Doherty was next to find the Bonagee ‘keeper in form.
Bonagee, although without the likes of McElhinney, Anna Doherty, Taylor Feeney and Saorla McGarrigle, Grainne Gallagher and Natalie McFadden, proved a tough nut to crack with makeshift centre-back McBride, Siobhan Sweeney, Aisling Grieve and Leona Russell leading a solid defensive line for the visitors.
In extra time, Bonagee’s goal lived a charmed life as the ball stayed out through a mixture of resilient defending and good old fashioned luck, but they dug out until the conclusion only to be pipped in the most harrowing of manners in the shoot-out.
Lagan Harps: Laura Gallagher, Aine Deasley, Zoe Green, Aoife Page, Chantel Kelly, Danielle McDevitt, Emma Horgan, Sinead Campbell (Amanda Callaghan 63), Amy Boyd, Annette Pearson, Michelle Doherty.
Bonagee United: Denise Gallagher, Siobhan Sweeney, Leona Russell, Shannon McBride, Aisling Grieve (Naomi Moore 90), Alice Diver, Niamh McGlinchey, Julie McCloy, Deborah Kerrigan, Brenda Sweeney, Olivia McGinley.
Referee: Con McLaughlin.Tags: