Tomas Cosgrove nets winner as Larne secure fourth consecutive Co Antrim Shield crown with victory over Glentoran
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The reigning champions took a 38th minute lead as captain Cian Bolger reacted quickest after Glentoran goalkeeper Aaron McCarey produced a brilliant save to initially deny Lee Bonis from Levi Ives’ corner, only for the centre-back to fire home his first goal in 12 months.
Warren Feeney’s side wasted no time in stamping their mark on the second-half as David Fisher was played in by strike partner Junior before firing past Rohan Ferguson – much to the delight of the Glens fans sitting metres away.
Larne were ahead once again nine minutes later through Cosgrove, who headed in from Mark Randall’s corner.
Cosgrove became the first player to be booked by referee Jamie Robinson for stopping a counter attack and Paul O’Neill followed soon after having collided with Johnny Russell trying to take a throw in.
The Inver Reds came close to opening the scoring in the 21st minute, only denied by a brilliant intervention from Paddy McClean, who cleared Leroy Millar’s header off the line after Levi Ives had sent in a chipped ball from the right.
Glentoran’s biggest chance of the first-half came eight minutes later when Fisher’s curled shot from the edge of the box looked destined for the bottom corner, but it zipped off the surface past Ferguson’s post – an opportunity created following Bobby Burns’ tackle on Dylan Sloan.
One minute after Junior had sent his free-kick straight at Ferguson, Larne took the lead with Bolger on hand to tap home, pouncing on McCarey’s superb stop from Bonis’ glanced header.
Feeney’s half-time team talk certainly had its desired impact as within two minutes The Oval outfit were level with Fisher, fresh off a hat-trick in his last outing against Coleraine, striking beyond Ferguson.
Larne almost responded immediately through Bonis’ header that sailed just past the post, but Cosgrove didn’t make the same mistake soon after as he made McCarey, who spilled Leroy Millar’s initial delivery into the box which trickled out for a corner, pay the ultimate price.
Tempers flared in the 70th minute between Russell and Randall with both players booked and seconds later Aidan Wilson blazed his shot over the bar from a central position.
Feeney introduced two of his most dangerous players in Niall McGinn and Daire O’Connor from the bench and the duo almost combined in the 82nd minute, but the Northern Ireland international couldn’t connect with an incisive pass.
Another substitute, Rhys Walsh, nearly made an immediate impact but his shot inside the box was deflected for a corner, which ultimately came to nothing.
Glentoran almost found a late equaliser as Luke McCullough struck the crossbar following a goalmouth scramble, but Larne ultimately held on to secure trophy success.
GLENTORAN: McCarey, McCullough, Wilson, Burns, Marshall (O’Connor, 68), Sule, Clucas (McGinn, 75), Fisher, McClean, Russell (Walsh, 86), Junior.
Subs not used: Webber, Kane, McCartan, Lindsay.
LARNE: Ferguson, Donnelly, O’Neill (Ryan, 77), Bonis, Ives, Bolger, Millar, Cosgrove, Graham, Sloan (Randall, 33), Orozco.
Subs not used: McAdams, Thomson, Kearns, Allan, Glynn.
Referee: Jamie Robinson.