Carn reached their first top-flight final after producing a heroic 3-2 victory against Buncrana in the dying minutes of the second half of extra time.
Buncrana Hearts 2 Carn FC 3 (AET)
The defeat will come as a major blow to Buncrana Hearts manager Stephen McNutt and his young squad who have aspirations this season.
Buncrana got off to a dream start when they went ahead after five minutes when Aaron McDaid released Gerard Boyle, who was originally denied at the expense of a corner by Seamus Houghton. From the corner, the ball fell to Kevin O’Loughlin to fire low beyond the goalkeeper from twelve yards.
Carn almost replied through Darragh Deery but he fired wide before Ryan Kelly headed over after 21 minutes.
Buncrana upped the tempo and had the better side in the first half, James Quigley failing to hit the target before both Boyle and Mark McFadden fired over with decent half chances.
Buncrana spurned a great chance to double their lead on 51 minutes, Eoin McNamee’s cross found Eoin Murphy but he blazed over from close range.
At the other end, Dermot Doherty saw his attempted lob drift just over the top for a goal kick.
Carn continued to probe for an equalised and found success after 68 minutes. Brandon Browne burst down the right and crossed for Doherty to slot home from six yards.
Buncrana responded and had the better chances to win the game in normal time. Firstly Liam McCarron’s glancing header shaved the post before O’Loughlin saw another header cleared off the line by Kelly.
The opening chance of extra time came early in the second period but McFadden had an effort blocked. Two crazy minutes followed as Carn took the lead when Kelly got on the end of a free kick to head home.
From the centre, the home side broke with Timlin’s deep cross superbly volleyed home by Stephen McHugh at the back post – it was all square with minutes remaining.
With penalties looming, Buncrana lost possession in midfield and Conor O’Donnell advanced before successfully unleashing a superb 20-yard effort into the bottom corner, sending Carn into their first top-flight final since the 2002-2003 season.Tags: