Holders Loughgall back in Bob Radcliffe Cup final

Warner Mullen.
Warner Mullen.

Warner Mullen’s second-half double secured a 2-1 success over 10-man Annagh United to send defending champions Loughgall marching into another Bob Radcliffe Cup final.

The last-four tie at Tandragee Road proved a repeat of last year’s festive showpiece - with Loughgall, once again, gaining the upper hand over an Annagh side unable to finish with a full quota of players.

Mullen, who scored in the 2014 final on Boxing Day when Scott McCordick was sent off, handed Loughgall control on Tuesday in the aftermath of a red card for Andy Smith.

Smith, a former Loughgall favourite, picked up two yellow cards and Annagh’s problems increased seven minutes after the dismissal when Mullen stepped up to curl a free-kick home.

Annagh responded by introducing teenage winger Jake Keegan off the sidelines and he levelled the tie on 71 minutes. Jaime Gardiner capped a promising run by feeding Keegan and the substitute attacked the penalty area before eventually steering home a curling shot.

Extra-time appeared an option until Mullen made his mark for the second time by picking up Ricky Copeland’s pass from deep and drilling a low drive under the body of Marc Robinson.

ANNAGH UNITED: Marc Robinson, Mark Stewart, Bryan Pentland, Stephen Acheson, Richard Allen, Philip Craig, Andy Smith, Stephen Park, Scott McCordick, Andy Moore, Jaime Gardiner. Subs: Jordan Campbell, Jamie Smith, Francis McCann, Scott Rea, Jake Keegan.

LOUGHGALL: Gareth Buchanan, Graham Taylor, Stuart Mallen, Ricky Copeland, Nicky Hudson, Aaron Walsh, Marcus Dallas, Gary Henderson, Warner Mullen, Daniel Ryan, Jamie Rea. Subs: Wesley Boyle, Ross Wilson, John Uprichard, Josh Finlay, Mark Dane.

Loughgall will now face Armagh City at Lakeview Park on Boxing Day, with kick-off at 11 o’clock.