Ten-man Strand Rovers came from behind to win the Voodoo Venue Cup for the first time.
Strand Rovers 2
Oldtown Celtic 1
Down the home stretch, Strand - a man down following the 12th minute sending off of Stephen Glackin - turned the afternoon on its head.
Gio Peoples’ penalty, in the opening minute of the second half, had Oldtown on course for a League and Cup double at The Diamond Park.
Strand had other ideas and Ryan Brennan levelled on 80 minutes before player-manager Shane O’Donnell headed in a match winner that will be remembered in Maghery for some time.
O’Donnell headed home a rebound after Michael Gibson made a super save to turn onto the crossbar. The lurking O’Donnell reacted quickest to head in, sparking huge scenes of celebrations from the big Strand support.
That came just four minuets after Brennan held off his man to prod past the advancing Gibson on the left-hand side to level the sums.
Strand, beaten finalists in this competition by Arranmore United in 2017 and two years later by Glencar Celtic, were dealt a hammer blow when, just 12 minutes in, they were reduced to ten men.
Goalkeeper Kevin McGovern was unable to hold a Tommy McLaughlin corner. Kevin McGrath’s header looked destined for the bottom corner, but full-back Glackin flung himself out and made contact with his hand. Referee Mick Lagan had little alternative but to reach for his hip pocket and show the Strand man the red card.
McGovern, though, saved Luke Nelis’ penalty, giving his side a reprieve.
A combination of Gerard Patton and Kyle Gormley had put Aaron Ward off his stride when the Strand attacker surged away in the second minute Ryan Brennan wasn’t far off target with a 16th minute header.
A wicked, spinning effort from Peoples flew inches over McGovern’s crossbar and Patton stooped to nod wide with Oldtown beginning to turn a screw.
Oldtown were in front just a minute after the re-start, power taking Peoples’ penalty beyond McGovern after Nelis was taken down.
Oldtown were in again when Sean Cleary was fed by McLaughlin, but McGovern saved.
After the pendulum swung there was still time for drama, but Brendan Brennan cleared from the line when Cleary looked to force extra time.
Oldtown Celtic: Michael Gibson, Paddy McLaughlin, Kyle Gormley (Luke Friel 67), Ciaran Gibson, Chick McLaughlin (Joe McCarron 72), Gerard Patton, Luke Nelis, Kevin McGrath, Gio Peoples, Tommy McLaughlin, Sean Cleary.
Strand Rovers: Kevin McGovern, Stephen Glackin, Karl McGee, James McCole, Michael Ward, Shane O’Donnell, Brendan Glackin (David McCarron 77), Doalty Boyle, Ryan Brennan, Aaron Ward, Michael Curran (Brendan Brennan 67).
Referee: Mick Lagan.
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