Loughgall see off ten-man Annagh to wrap up Boxing Day trophy

Loughgall celebrate success in the Bob Radcliffe Cup final following a 3-1 win against Annagh United. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Loughgall celebrate success in the Bob Radcliffe Cup final following a 3-1 win against Annagh United. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Second-half goals by Daniel Burns and Warner Mullen secured a 12th Bob Radcliffe Cup reward for Loughgall as 10-man Annagh United lost out by 3-1 in the festive showpiece.

The Villagers entered the match struggling for form and confidence against in-form Annagh United but proved impressive over the 90 minutes, with Scott McCordick’s red card late in the first half proving a significant blow.

Loughgall dominated the opening exchanges and took the lead on 16 minutes thanks to Stephen O’Neill’s front-post finish following a well-worked attack.

Ciaran Fox produced a smarty double save soon after to prevent Annagh from conceding a second goal - with the goalkeeper sharp to frustrate Mullen and Kingsberry in quick succession.

The Villagers’ control led to sights of goal for Steven Ferguson and O’Neill but Annagh remained in contention.

Annagh carved out an equaliser with the first opening of note around the half-hour mark.

McCordick’s teasing free-kick delivery arrived in the danger area with two Annagh players unmarked and Shea Campbell steered a glancing header into the bottom corner of the net.

A flowing Annagh counter-attack featured McCordick’s driving run and fine pass to Campbell, with Francis McCann cutting inside from the right but unable to produce a finishing touch.

McCordick proved a threat to the Loughgall backline but his final appearance suffered a premature end with a red card on 44 minutes for a second bookable offence.

Loughgall pushed hard across the early stages of the second half in a bid to maximise the numerical advantage.

Burns’ set-piece play created trouble for Annagh, with efforts by Kingsberry and Ricky Copeland.

A superb clipped pass by Ferguson found O’Neill but the striker fired a shot the wrong side of the post.

Mark Stewart and Mullen combined to carve out another opening but Annagh worked hard to block the effort.

Loughgall regained control on 76 minutes in spectacular fashion when Burns blasted home a drive from outside the box via the underside of the crossbar.

Adam Nesbitt almost enjoyed an immediate impact after joining play off the bench but his angled drive was saved by Buchanan.

Loughgall wrapped up success with an injury-time finish by the hard-working Mullen to cap good work from Burns.

LOUGHGALL: Gareth Buchanan, Mark Carson, Ryan Moffatt, Ricky Copeland, Mark Stewart, Marcus Dallas, Steven Ferguson, Chris Kingsberry, Stephen O’Neill, Warner Mullen, Daniel Burns. Subs: Ross Black (on for Carson, 92 mins), Keith Kearney, Josh Finlay, Colum Curtis (on for Kingsberry, 68 mins), Neil Alderdice (on for Moffatt, 72 mins).

ANNAGH UNITED: Ciaran Fox, Jordan Bell, Nathan Riddle, Jordan Campbell, Richard Allen, Philip Craig, Francis McCann, Steven Park, Shea Campbell, Scott McCordick, Jaime Gardiner. Subs: Paul Stretton (on for McCann, 89 mins), Shea Skelton, Adam Nesbitt (on for Riddle, 78 mins), Raymond Harpur (on for J.Campbell, 46 mins), Ryan Coulter.

Referee: Gerard Murray (referee).