Loughgall’s management team turned the focus to summer targets on Friday night moments after a penalty miss confirmed Armagh City as Bob Radcliffe Cup champions.
Penalty shoot-out pain for the Villagers arrived in the closing match of the campaign as goalkeeper Gareth Buchanan had his spot-kick attempt saved to seal City a second Bob Radcliffe Cup prize in three seasons, at the expense of the holders.
The 6-5 shoot-out scoreline featured saves by City’s John Connolly to frustrate Ricky Copeland and Buchanan - with Warner Mullen, Stuart Mallen, Graeme Taylor, Aaron Walsh and Daniel Ryan successful for Loughgall after scoreless play across 90-plus minutes and extra-time.
City’s scorers were Shea Campbell, Stefan Lavery, Philip Donnelly, Sean Mallon, Eamon Kelly and Andrew Hoey.
“It was an even final that could have gone to either side,” said Loughgall coach Steven Hawe. “Losing a penalty shoot-out is obviously a tough way to finish a cup final.
“But we will be looking to strengthen in the summer.
“We remain proud of the boys and will be keen to keep the squad on board.
“Overall the season featured some good moments, especially reaching the Irish Cup quarter-finals.
“Staying in the league was our main aim.”
LOUGHGALL: Gareth Buchanan, Mark Carson, Graeme Taylor, Ricky Copeland, Nicky Hudson, Aaron Walsh, Steven Ferguson, Marcus Dallas, Warner Mullen, Daniel Ryan, Jamie Rea. Subs: Gary Henderson, Thai Blevins, Mark Dane, Jose Tavares, Stuart Mallen (on for Rea, 74 mins).
ARMAGH CITY: John Connolly, Jordan Bell, Sean Mallon, Eoin Toal, Dara Noonan, Eamon Kelly, Andrew Hoey, Stefan Lavery, Shea Campbell, Philip Donnelly, Shea McGerrigan. Subs: Sean Morgan, Liam Cullen, Luke Grimley (on for Noonan, 95 mins), Tamer Ganem Atrach
Referee: Neil Robinson.