Reds safely through to round six of Irish Cup

Referee John Deighan steps in between Ballyclare's Johnny McClurg and Kilmore Rec's Gary Curran during Saturday's Irish Cup fifth-round clash.
Referee John Deighan steps in between Ballyclare's Johnny McClurg and Kilmore Rec's Gary Curran during Saturday's Irish Cup fifth-round clash.

Ballyclare Comrades’ three goals salvo in the opening 13 minutes signalled the end of Kilmore Rec’s interest in the Irish Cup at Dixon Park on Saturday.

However, with home fans expecting an avalanche of goals, the Amateur League side failed to buckle, and prevented the Reds from running riot, to emerge with credit from the 3-0 defeat.

Eddie Hill made one enforced change from the side that saw off Dundela, with striker Mark Wilkinson replacing midfielder Gerard McAlea who was suspended, while Johnny McClurg dropped in to the vacant midfield spot.

There was an early scare for the home fans when Traynor broke clear, but was foiled by Paddy Flood who was quickly off his line to block.

The Comrades quickly took command and McClurg opened the scoring in the seventh minute when he converted a penalty following a foul on Trussell.

Three minutes later Trussell netted his 16th of the season after neatly rounding a defender, and in the 13th minute home fans were celebrating again when Daniel Smith cut in from the left and expertly curled the ball in to the far top corner of the net.

It could have been worse for Mark Holland’s lads moments later when Wilkinson outmuscled his marker, but allowed keeper McKenna time to advance and clear.

Kilmore’s only serious threat came when Flood again raced off his line to thwart Kennedy, so the Comrades went in to the second session three up, and generally operated in cruise control.

Flood was the hero on the hour when he not only brilliantly saved Kennedy’s penalty awarded for an alleged handling offence, but he also made a reflex save from the rebound.

The Comrades had a another let-off in the 76th minute when Curran fired against the post, while at the opposite end substitute Kyle Agnew and McClurg went close to increasing the lead, but the second half proved to be an anti-climax following the early fireworks.

“After going three up so early it was difficult to maintain the tempo, so we allowed them to come back at us in for a time in the second half, but really we coasted home,” summed up manager Hill.

Ballyclare Comrades: Flood, Monteith (Doherty 63), Getty (Gage 75), Doyle (C), Cooper; Smith, McClurg, McGowan, Gray; Trussell, Wilkinson (Agnew 63). Subs not used: Simms, McCart.

n Congratulations to Chris Getty who picked up the Supporters’ Club December Player of the Month award.