Celtic side proves too strong as Rangers crash out of the cup

James Costello in action against Lurgan Celtic. INBL1529-279EB
James Costello in action against Lurgan Celtic. INBL1529-279EB

Rathfriland Rangers lost out 4-1 to Championship One team Lurgan Celtic in the third round of the Bob Radcliffe Cup.

Colin Malone’s Celtic started the game boasting one of only four unbeaten teams in their league this season.

Rangers in action. INBL1529-281EB

Rangers in action. INBL1529-281EB

Rangers could nothing about Darren McGrath’s suspension and possible player of the season so far John Scanell going off with concussion but they only served to make the task harder with mistakes which have not been part of their so far unbeaten season.

Rathfriland were a goal down as early as the fifth minute when a poor kick out by ‘keeper Shane Harrison immediately gave Celtic possession who then burst through to score with a low shot into the bottom corner.

The home team then went close with a long range shot and had a goal ruled out for offside while at the other end a nervous back pass almost let Costello in on goal.

Lurgan Celtic made it 2-0 as the No.8 unleashed an unstoppable shot from 25 yards into the roof of the net.

With ten minutes to go until half time Rathfriland pulled a goal back from a corner with a powerful header from Connor Larkin and then Lee Feeney had the best chance of the game when he cleared the crossbar when it seemed easier to score.

Rathfriland had a chance to regroup at the half time break but were undone within two minutes when uncertainty between the rearguard and goalkeeper had the latter scrambling as the ball nestled in off the post for 3-1.

Rathfriland tried to get their football going but too often found themselves retreating as the home side put pressure on the ball and effectively the game was over after Celtic’s Dale Malone’s angled long ballfound his frontman to poke the ball home at the near post.

Rangers’ best other chance seen Chris Havern go close with a header but in the end Lurgan Celtic ran out 4 - 1 winners and deservedly a passage into the quarter finals of the Bob Radcliffe.