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VILLAGERS CAUSE IRISH CUP SHOCK.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

VILLAGERS CAUSE IRISH CUP SHOCK. thumbnail Gary Liggett celebrates scoring in the first half.

LOUGHGALL striker Andrew Hoey insists the Villagers will aim for another Irish Cup shock as they dumped out Premiership side Ards at the weekend.

Dean Smith's troops edged out Ards via Ricky Copeland's late winner in a match that saw the visitors receive three red cards.

The Championship outfit will be underdogs once again as they travel to Glenavon in the quarter-final next month, but former Lurgan Blues man Hoey is plotting another upset at Mourneview Park.

"It was a great result for us last weekend and fully deserved," Hoey said.

"I was delighted to get off the bench as a striker because we were always going to find space against eight men.

"It felt like the winner was never going to arrive, but thankfully big Ricky stepped up to the plate." The 20-year-old joined Glenavon at the age of 13, but decided to leave after falling down the pecking order at Mourneview Park.

"I was at Glenavon from the age of 13 and carried on through to the first-team," Hoey added.

"I scored on my debut against Glentoran, but unfortunately my chances were limited due to the players at the club.

"Moving away was the best thing for my development and I'm really enjoying it at Loughgall." The former Northern Ireland youth international believes the Villagers will 'relish' their trip to Mourneview Park - in a repeat from an Irish Cup quarter-final match between the two sides in March 2016.

"We were narrowly beaten by Glenavon that day, but hopefully we can upset the apple cart and go through to the semifinal this time around," Hoey continued.

"Our players will relish going to Mourneview Park as it's a great ground to play football.

"Getting this far is brilliant for everyone involved with the club and I'm sure they will enjoy their day out.

"I don't think I've anything to prove going back there as it's all water under the bridge and I left on good terms.

"Glenavon are one of the top teams in the country and fair play to Gary Hamilton for completely rebuilding the club." There was further cheer for Loughgall last week as they confirmed their place in the top six of the Bluefin Sport Championship, courtesy of a 5-1 win against Dergview.

"It was a great result for us when the pressure was on," Hoey concluded.

"We were right up for the game and it was good to finally cement our place in top six.

"It means we have something to play for until the end of the season and I'm sure we will play a major factor in who wins the league and finishes runners-up."


Villagers earn Cup upset

RICKY Copeland's last-minute winner saw Loughgall book their place in the Tennents Irish Cup Quarter Finals, for the second time in three seasons, where the Villagers will face Glenavon. The victory over Ards at Lakeview Park provided real entertainment with a late goal and three red cards for the visitors.

The win, Loughgall's fifth in a row, capped off a great week for Dean Smith's side as they also cemented their place in the Bluefin Sport Championship top six with a stunning 5-1 victory away to Dergview last Tuesday.

The visitors made the best possible start and were ahead after only 45 seconds when Luke Kelly curled into the top corner from outside the penalty area.

Ards' 'keeper Sam Johnston had to be alert on 18 minutes to quickly reduce the angle when Nathaniel Ferris broke through the middle of the pitch and save with his feet.

On 22 minutes the Newtownards side missed a gilt-edged chance when Ross Clarke's low cross was cushioned by Cameron Stewart for Guillaume Keke.

The striker somehow managed to miss an open net when he hit the bar from within the six-yard box with Loughgall 'kee per Gareth Buchanan on the ground.Loughgall levelled from the penalty spot through ex-Ards striker Gary Liggett after Michael Ruddy fouled Peter Campbell.

The game irreversibly changed during the opening 15 minutes of the second period when Ards saw two red cards being brandished. Firstly Kyle Cherry received two yellow cards in quick succession and then Ruddy was dismissed for a two-footed lunge on Dale Montgomery.

The hosts tried hard to break down a resolute Ards side with the best chance falling to Peter Campbell on 79 minutes when substitute Marc McConnell's low cross across the face of goal evaded everyone until Campbell's weak effort at the back post was saved by goalkeeper Johnston .

With two minutes remaining Ross Clarke also saw a straight red card for another two-footed challenge to cap a miserable debut for the on-loan Linfield winger. And his side's defensive resolve was broken two minutes into injury time in frantic fashion when Montgomery's cross was headed off the crossbar by Liggett. The ball rebounded to Ferris who hit the post and it was Ricky Copeland who showed the Loughgall strike force how to do it with a finish from close range.

LOUGHGALL: Buchanan, Montgomery, Ballard (Hoey '80 mins), Copeland, Stewart, Mullen (McConnell '70 mins), Campbell, Ferguson, Dallas, Liggett, Ferris.

Unused subs: Robinson, Stretton, Neill, Finlay.

ARDS: Johnston, Glendinning, Byers, Taylor, Ruddy, Clarke, Josh Kelly, Cherry, McAllister (Hanley '64 mins), Keke (McLellan '70 mins), Stewart (Davidson '58 mins).

Unused subs: McIlmail, McAleenan, Hogg, Mitchell.

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