Courts come up short

Lincoln Courts..............................(1) 2

Hamilton(6 & 63)

Immaculata...................................(3) 6

Collins (4), Lawlor (8), Hughes (33), O’Riordan (51), Boyce (85), Adams (89 Pen)

LINCOLN Courts came up short in the Coca/Cola Irish Junior Cup Final as they lost out to an impressive Immaculata team, who won the prestigious competition for the third year in a row.

The Casuals certainly didn’t disgrace themselves as they put up a good fight and with a little more luck could have been a bit closer in the end.

The Belfast outfit were very sharp going forward, punished the Waterside men on several occasions and in the end were deserved winners.

Lincoln Courts manager Steve Nicholl was philosophical about his team’s showing in the Coca/Cola Irish Junior Cup Final.

“I don’t think that there is much doubt and I can honestly say that the best team won on the day,” he said.

“We did create chances but unlike Immaculata we weren’t as clinical in front of goal and in the end that cost us dearly.

“If we had taken the chances especially in the first half then I think we would have been level at the interval and then it may have been a different game.

“You can see why they have won this competition three times in a row now and that’s a big achievement for them.”

With so many changes in the Lincoln squad this season Nicholl was quick to praise the performance of all his players.

“To get to the final of this competition has been a great achievement for us especially with such a new squad like we had this year.

“We have had a load of changes and you could see the difference where Immaculata were much more fluent than we were.

“They caught us on the break a few times and once they got the first goal so early in the game then we were always on the back foot.

“We got back into it almost straight away but the chances we missed cost us and in the end I think the 6-2 score-line flattered them a bit.”

Despite the heavy defeat Nicholl believes that the future is bright for his squad next season.

“We have improved a lot from the start of the season and I think we will only get better next season as well, as we have a full year under our belts.

“Next season we will have a good go at the league and the various cup competitions and there is no reason why we can’t do well.

“I think we will be adding a few players to the squad and all in all the future certainly looks bright for Lincoln Courts.”

Immaculata took the lead in just the fourth minute. Daniel Collins fired in a volley from twenty yards that totally wrong footed the Lincoln keeper.

The Casuals struck back straight away through the ever dangerous Mark Hamilton. He cleverly broke the offside trap from Jason Hay’s pass, rounded the keeper and coolly rolled the ball home.

Unfortunately the Belfast side regained the lead two minutes later again. Chris Lawlor picked out the far corner with his header.

In the 32nd minute Lincoln should have been level but Trevor McDermott somehow missed from inside the six yard box.

They were punished straight away as the Belfast outfit broke quickly and Kevin Hughes finished off the move with a crisp finish.

With 51 minutes played the visitors stretched their lead when Colm O’Riordan headed home Jonathan McDonnell’s cross.

The Casuals did pull a goal back in the 63rd minute. Once again Hay and Hamilton combined with the later again finding the target.

In the 85th minute Immaculata restored their three goal advantage when John Boyce headed home from close range.

The scoring was completed in the final minute when the Belfast side were awarded a very soft penalty against keeper Lee Simpson. Padraig Adams duly dispatched the spot kick.

Lincoln Courts: Simpson, Thomas, Cooke, McDermott, McIntyre, Hutchman, Mooney, Patterson, Hamilton, Hay, Laverty. Subs: Lynch for Hutchman (H-T), Street for McIntyre (57), Adams for Laverty (71), Murray & Campbell (not used).

Immaculata: Smith, C Rowntree, Moreland, G Rowntree, McGovern, O’Riordan, Collins, McDonnell, Dynes, Lawlor, Hughes. Subs: Boyce for Dynes (62), Adams for McDonnell (77), Nelson for C.Rowntree (86), Kennedy & Fegan (not used).

Referee: Michael Henry (Donemana).