MILFORD CRUISE TO CUP VICTORY

BRIAN MC CORMICK SPORTS CUP FINAL

MILFORD CRUISE TO CUP VICTORY
By Diarmaid Doherty Sport@donegaldemocrat.com @dgldemocrat

PJ Hagan rolled back the years to lead Milford United to cup glory in yesterday's Brian McCormick Sports Cup final at Diamond Park, Ballyare.

Milford United 3

Castlefin Celtic 0

The striker scored Milford's opener and was a constant menace up front alongside Gary Merritt as the Moyle View men got revenge for their agonising cup final defeat to Castlefin two years ago.

Back in 2014, JP Malley scored a winner in extra time to give Castlefin a dramatic cup victory.

But after finishing runners-up to Drumoghill FC in this year's remier Division title race, Milford crowned an excellent campaign with a cup victory their performance deserved.

They were were much the better side in the opening stages and after Darren McLaughlin headed an early chance over, Gary Merritt saw his effort pushed over the bar by Castlefin keeper, Simon McGlinchey.

Castlefin did have their moments coming forward and Malley had an early sniff on goal when he headed over.

Matthew O'Rourke then found himself in on goal after a wonderful pass from Ronan Tourish, but Caolan McGettigan was quick off his line to make a decent save.

With Milford on top in midfield and Hagan and Merritt causing problems in attack, they were the side who were creating the vast majority of the chances. And they eventually made their pressure count just three minutes before the break when they took the lead.

Christopher Duffy sent a delightful ball over the top for Hagan and the striker timed his run to perfection before tucking the ball home.

Even before half time, Milford went close again, Hagan creating the pass for Merritt in front of goal, but he shot weakly straight at keeper McMenamin.

After the change-around, Castlefin started best and they had two good chances to draw level. Barry Tourish was denied by a near post save from Caolan McGettigan after JP Malley's speculative looping effort dropped back off the bar. They went closer again soon after when Malley and Johnny Doherty were both involved in the move which ended with Ian Ward volleying over from a good position.

Milford lost Christopher Duffy and Adam Serrinha to injury around the hour mark with Kyle Black and Mark Flood coming on. But it didn't upset their rhythm and they managed to double their lead on 69 minutes – Darren McLaughlin winning possession from his man and racing through on goal before shooting low to the net.

McLaughlin and Hagan then combined for the Milford third – Kyle Black producing neat control and a great finish to round off a memorable cup victory for Noel Gillespie's side.

Milford United: Caolan McGettigan, Danny McBride, Christopher Duffy (Kyle Black 55), Paddy Peoples, Johnny Logue, Damien Casey, Adam Serrinha (Mark Flood 62), Joey Cullen, PJ Hagan, Gary Merritt, Darren McLaughlin (Ciaran Gibbons 82).

Castlefin Celtic: Simon McMenamin, Damien McAnenny (Michael Dunnion 89), PJ McMenamin, Emmett White, Peter Bryson, Johnny Doherty, Ian Ward, Ronan Tourish, JP Malley, Matthew O'Rourke (Gary McCroary 46), Barry Tourish (Ronan Kennedy 89).

Referee: Marty Quinn.

Assistants: Joe McHugh, Mick Lagan.