GARY COUGHLAN’S 85th minute finish earned Grattan United A a place in the Mossie Linnane League Cup final following their 1-0 victory over Greenwood A in an absorbing semi-final at Lehanaghmore.
And what a final looks to be in store now as two North side giants face each other in the shape of Castleview and Grattan in Turner’s Cross on a date yet to be decided.
Grattan certainly deserved their victory as they did create more scoring opportunities then their opponents on the day, but Greenwood did make a huge contribution also by making it a very competitive semi-final.
Both sides looked cautious from the off until Anthony Harte found Christopher Bullman who turned smartly before forcing McDonnell to a low save.
And when Eric Fleming’s effort came back off a defender, Bullman pounced - only to see his effort deflect off a defender for a corner.
Bullman was showing well in these early exchanges and after collecting from Keith Harris, he turned inside his marker before making McDonnell work to collect from his effort.
Minutes later, James McDonnell was called upon to produce a top drawer save from a venomously struck effort from Bullman – again, at the expense of a corner.
From the corner, Dean Murray’s header was headed towards goal, but Gareth O’Connor was in the right place to clear his lines.
Aaron Kidney produced a decent run from deep, but as he reached the edge of the 18-yard box, a terrific tackle by Burns saves the day.
Grattan were edging it a bit now and from David Curtin’s cross, Anthony Harte’s sees his volley well held by McDonnell.
And when Keith Harris fired straight at McDonnell, the keeper produced a decent block, but from the rebound, Bullman just could not steady himself to make more than he did with the opportunity.
A lovely delivery from Greenwood’s Stephen Daly reached Mark Twomey, but it was just too high for the defender to make it count while unattended near the far post.
The final action in the half then sees Bullman heading over from David Curtin’s cross after good work by Eric Fleming.
Grattan carved a great chance with just minutes into the second period when Anthony Harte collected from a diagonal ball, but after bearing down on goal, he uncharacteristically drilled over with just the keeper to beat.
Grattan looked dangerous now and it was Bullman once again who makes McDonnell work to collect from his low strike.
Minutes later; Harte finds Murray who rifles over from outside the box.
And when Aaron Broderick collected from a throw ball before miscueing his shot, the ball runs on very kindly for Bullman who fires over from a favourable position.
At the other end, Jonathon Roche finds Ian Manning with a pass inside, but the Greenwood striker miss-cues approximately 20 yards out.
Grattan were edging the contest though and after making good progress up the pitch Curtin fires low, but McDonnell was up to the challenge as he collected comfortably.
And when Harte claimed good possession on the right, his final ball was just too high for the unmarked Gary Coughlan.
A Grattan corner followed with Murray just failing to get a touch with his head on Cian Hawkins’ floating cross.
But, the ice was broken on 85 minutes when Harte’s free kick broke off the wall and found its way into the path of Gary Coughlan who steered home a deserved winner for Grattan.
Greenwood rallied bravely as they tried in vain to break down a stubborn Grattan defence, but it was too much of a hill to climb as Grattan held on to their advantage in the end.