Glenthorn Celtic 1 Grattan United 3 (AET)
IT TOOK extra time before Grattan United booked their passage through to the AOH Cup semi-final after a 3-1 victory over Glenthorn Celtic at Glenthorn Park.
Over the 110 minutes of football, Grattan deserved their victory as they certainly created more chances than their opponents on the day.
Solid at the back, and hard-working in midfield, they had in Christy Bullman, John Paul O’Sullivan, Gary Coughlan, and Cian Hawkins, players with the ability to break down stubborn defences — albeit — waiting until extra time to do so.
Grattan sparked into life from the off and swamped the final third with a number of forays on the Glenthorn goal at regular intervals in the opening 20 minutes.
The first was when John Paul O’Sullivan found Gary Coughlan with a pin-point diagonal pass, but the forward failed to make proper contact while in a good position.
Then, from a free, Eric Fleming was unlucky to see his fizzing effort from a free-kick whistle past the post.
And when Bullman played it neatly inside to Kevin Kenneally, he fired straight at Graham Murphy.
Glenthorn were under real pressure now as Grattan pushed them back with nice passing movements and after Cian Hawkins hammered his effort narrowly over, Fleming forced Graham Murphy to produce a marvellous save as he pushed away his effort that looked destined for the top corner.
From the ensuing corner, Anthony Burns headed over with freedom.
After surviving that early pressure, Glenthorn made an effort to find their rhythm and it was Shane Duggan who found a way in on the right, but drilled low at Byrne.
Then, from Duggan’s delivery from a corner, Edwin Buckley sent his thumping header wide of the far post.
At the other end, Kenneally got away on the left to lift his shot over from a narrow angle before John Paul O’Sullivan headed it on for Bullman who drove straight at Murphy.
When play shifted to the Grattan half, Glenthorn were awarded a free and it took a decent save by James Byrne to deal with Edwin Buckley’s awkward delivery.
But, after Gary Coughlan headed over from Kenneally’s assist, Grattan found themselves in front when John Paul O’Sullivan hammered home from the spot after Gary Coughlan was fouled inside the box on 44.
Then, in a sensational ending to the first half, Glenthorn were then awarded a penalty after John Gaffney was fouled as he was following through when Byrne spilled from Fintan Forde’s free-kick.
It was then left to Adam Lee who slammed home from the spot to make it 1-1 on 45.
Grattan threatened right from the break and it was Jamie Lewis who did well to get a foot in to deny Bullman a strike on goal.
A lovely measured pass from Bullman then played Coughlan in, but an alert Graham Murphy did enough to hamper the forward’s chance to score.
Following a throw then, Adam Lee helped it on for Jamie Dunne who skewed over from a narrow angle.
But, when Fleming’s free-kick came back off the wall, he was accorded a second bite of the cherry, but slammed past the post with a low effort.
Then, after Gary Coughlan and Cian Hawkins both missed a gilt-edge chance to get a winner, the tie was forced into extra time.
And in the first period, John Paul O’Sullivan slipped a neat one on for Cian Hawkins who reached Aaron Broderick with an accurate ball, but the Grattan wing-back failed to find the target with his header.
It was Grattan though who produced a big finish after that and when from the start of the second period of extra time, Bullman got away with possession down the right channel before cutting inside to drill low and hard into the far corner for what was an exquisite finish.
Grattan were not finished yet and applying the icing on the cake was Cian Hawkins who slammed home from John Paul O’Sullivan’s pass to make it finally 3-1 in the end.
GLENTHORN: Graham Murphy, Vinnie Keating, Tomas McGrath, Fintan Forde, Jamie Lewis, John Gaffney, Shane Duggan, Shane Geraghty, Adam Lee, Edwin Buckley, and Jamie Dunne.
Subs: Wayne Doherty for Jamie Dunne (60), Ian Cotter for Tomas McGrath (80), Marco Crowley for Shane Duggan (100).
GRATTAN: James Byrne, Aaron Broderick, Harry Goulding, Anthony Burns, Eric Fleming, Michael Kent, Cian Hawkins, Gary Coughlan, John Paul O’Sullivan, Kevin Kenneally, and Christopher Bullman.
Sub: Eric Shinkwin for Kevin Kenneally (70).
Referee: Brendan O’Regan.