Foyle Harps claim Terry Kelly Cup
Foyle Harps deservedly secured the Terry Kelly Cup, thanks to Stephen Duffy and Bennie McFadden’s second half goals, to see off Top of the Hill Celtic, at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
Stevie Johnson’s side ran out comfortable victors to secure the cup, in what is the Derry & District's centenary year, in fact they only allowed the Gobnascale club one noteworthy shot throughout the 90 minutes, when Odhran McKane rattled the post in the first half.
However while Harps rightfully claimed the cup, Pol Brown’s side will feel that just before they conceded the opening goal they should have had a penalty but referee Mark McGarrigle waved away their appeals.
Played in glorious sunny conditions it was Harps who went close to breaking the deadlock early on but Ryan Doherty’s 20 yard left footed strike flashed over Gary Martin’s crossbar.
The woodwork denied Celtic a 14th minute lead when midfielder McKane watched his long range pile driver, which had Harps keeper Connor Brown struggling, came crashing back off the post.
Neither side created much in the hot conditions, but spare a thought for Top of the Hill Celtic defender Damien McNulty, who was hit in the midriff no less than three times in the opening 45 minutes, as he was bravely putting his body on the line.
Top of the Hill Celtic had strong claims for a penalty on 47 minutes when just as James Boyd was attempting to shoot he seemed to be brought down inside the box by Conal Houston, but referee McGarrigle waved play on, much to the Waterside men’s frustration.
Harps took the lead on 52 minutes as Calvin McCallion’s free-kick deflected right into Ryan Doherty’s path, the midfielder’s close range strike came back off the crossbar and his attempted follow up effort towards goal was headed home by an unmarked Duffy.
Celtic had a half chance to level things just after the hour mark but McNulty’s header at the back post sailed wide, after Damien McGee's corner had picked out the man of the match.
On 70 minutes Harps went close to doubling their lead as McCallion broke the Celtic offside trap to latch onto Doherty’s through ball, but his side footed effort, which was goalbound, was blocked by a back-tracking McNulty.
Moments later a Benny McFadden in-swinging corner from the right found substitute Dean Brown at the near post, but the young striker, who out jumped goalkeeper Martin, headed just wide.
Right on 90 minutes Harps ended the final as a contest when McFadden made no mistake from the penalty spot, slotting the ball low into the bottom left hand corner, after substitute Brown had been brought down inside the box by Ben Knox.
Foyle Harps: Connor Brown, Aaron McLaughlin, Shane Boyle, Jay Smith, Gareth McFadden, Ryan Doherty, Colm Paul Robb, Bennie McFadden, Odhran Scarlett, Calvin McCallion, Stephen Duffy. Subs: Dean Brown, Stevie Johnstone, Paddy Doherty, Kevin Doherty, Luke Murray, Ryan McCloskey.
Top of the Hill Celtic: Gary Martin, Ben Knox, Paddy Hargan, Dee McNulty, Paul Glackin, Matty Brown, Jack Kelly, Odhran McKane, Conal Houston, Dee, McGee, James Boyd, Neil Harkin. Subs: James McGinley, Colm McClintock, John Joe McGilloway, Ciaran Donaghey, Ciaran McLaughlin.
Referee: Mark McGarrigle.