Glenavon’s dreams of a third Irish Cup Final in four seasons were shattered by an 89th minute winner by Coleraine substitute James McLaughlin, moments after Greg Moorhouse had fired a shot just over the bar that could have won the game for the Lurgan Blues.
There was no lack of effort or commitment by the Lurgan Blues, and plenty of chances created but, as Gary Hamilton stated in his post-match interview, “there’s only one thing matters at the end of the day, and that’s who scores the most goals and Coleraine did that today and deserve to be in the final of the cup. We created a lot of chances but we didn’t put them in the back of the net and that’s football.”
Not much between the sides in a tight first half.
Glenavon got on the front foot from the kick off and Joel Cooper and James Singleton had shots blocked and Greg Moorhouse swivelled at the far post but put a shot just wide.
Andrew Hall volleyed a layoff by Guy Bates into the side netting five minutes before the break.
Johnny Tuffey has been called into action to make a reflex save at his near post to keep out Ciaron Harkin’s flick from McGonigle’s low cross and then he made a double save to deny former Glenavon striker Eoin Bradley who had managed to shake off his marker for once before hitting the target from a tight angle, the Glenavon keeper getting back on his feet to push the follow up round the post.
Brad Lyons bundled the ball over the line from a Ciaron Harkin corner in the 48th minute as Eoin Bradley backed in to Johnny Tuffey on the goal line.
As Glenavon pressed for an equaliser Greg Moorhouse latched on to weak clearing header and struck a good shot from the right of the box that Chris Johns saved brilliantly with an outstretched boot.
James Singleton equalised in the 69th minute, heading in at the front post from a Mark Sykes corner.
Guy Bates then saw a low shot rebound off the foot of the post as he almost caught Chris Johns out at his near post.
Less than a minute after Greg Moorhouse carved open a great chance for himself but blazed over from 12 yards, Coleraine broke down the right and Bradley crossed for the unmarked sub James McLaughlin to head past Tuffey from 8 yards.
Glenavon: Tuffey (c), Canning, Marron, Elebert (Kilmartin 84), Singleton, Hall (Sykes 60), Martyn, Marshall, Cooper, Moorhouse (Gray 90), Bates. Subs: Hamilton, Kilmartin, Patton, Sykes, Gray
Coleraine: Johns, Kane, Ogilby (c), Harkin, Mullan, Parkhill (McLaughlin 76), McCauley, McConaghie, Lyons, McGonigle (Kee 90), Bradley. Subs: Douglas, McCafferty, McLaughlin, Kee, Doherty (GK)
Referee: Raymond Crangle
Assistant Referees: Gareth Eakin, Mark O’Brien
4th Official: Ian McNabb