GAVIN MCGLANAGHY’S HAT-TRICK helped Arranmore United to a 4-2 win in the FAI Junior Cup against Ballybofey United at the Finn Valley Centre tonight.
Ballybofey United 2-4 Arranmore United
The treble meant it’s now 16 goals in seven outings this term for the potent striker as Jerry Early’s side (pictured above by Kayla Early) created something of a shock against the team from the Twin Towns, who have picked up 10 points from 12 in the CT Ball Division 2 this term.
It was a thoroughly entertaining contest from start to finish under the lights at the Stranorlar-based athletic club; the first time the islanders had ever played a competitive fixture under lights.
Both teams created numerous chances but it was the capability of Arranmore – currently three from three in the Old Orchard Division 1 – and particularly McGlanaghy to take those chances that proved to be the difference.
On 17 minutes he struck the opening goal. It was a masterfully created opportunity, with Conor Proctor waiting for the perfect moment to release the ball in a crowded midfield and set McGlanaghy away with no hint of offside. His finish was, too, top drawer, waiting on Ballybofey United goalkeeper Christopher Patton to commit himself before dinking home.
Three minutes later, Arranmore’s lead was doubled and, again, it was another wonderfully created goal.
The move started with Ruane Reynolds releasing Christopher McGlanaghy down the left wing and his cross was cushioned back into the path of Jason O’Donnell by Conor Proctor’s head. O’Donnell gave the move the conclusion its approach play deserved.
Ballybofey were two down but still very much in the game with Mark Marley going close twice early on. On 33 minutes, their perseverance was rewarded when, from a Patton clearance that caught Arranmore a little square, David White finished well, driving into the bottom corner.
The concession of the goal before half-time might’ve been a concern for Early but his side produced the perfect response.
Two minutes into the second half, from a long punt forward by Arranmore goalkeeper John Green, Conor Proctor – with his third assist of the night – flicked on and McGlanaghy’s half-volley made the score 3-1.
Ballybofey pushed and pushed and even though they trailed by two, the nature of the contest meant that if they could even pull one back everything would’ve been there for play for again.
And they had their chances.
Marley missed the target from a close range header, Damien Glackin’s shot on the turn was inches wide and then, on 53 minutes, David White’s volley from the edge of the penalty area was perfectly struck only for Green to make a brilliant save to his left.
Playing on the break suited Arranmore to a degree with Christopher McGlanaghy comfortable coming forward in possession and Gavin McGlanaghy playing on the shoulder of the last defender.
Twelve minutes from time, Gavin McGlanaghy completed his hat-trick with a simple tap-in at the back post following a free-kick from Declan Proctor.
Ballybofey’s evening was a frustrating one, but they did pull another goal back on 80 minutes when White scored a penalty after he had been adjudged to have been fouled by Michael McHugh.
The hosts had further chances to score but Arranmore held on for a win that sent them and their vocal supporters off into the dark of night to catch the 11:30pm ferry from Burtonport home. And they did it with a spring in their step.
Ballybofey United: Christopher Patton; Sean Duffy, Gavin Doherty, Justin McBride (Paddy Hannigan 45), Niall McCloskey; Michael Lynch, Shaun McGowan, Mark Marley, Ryan Kelly (Darren Kelly 83); Damien Glackin, David White.
Arranmore United: John Green; Danny Rodgers, Michael McHugh, Ruan Reynolds (Martin Proctor 54), Frankie Early (Dion Byrne 84); Conor Proctor, Jason O’Donnell, Philip Boyle (Paul Early 88), Declan Proctor; Christopher McGlanaghy, Gavin McGlanaghy.
Referee: James Malseed.Tags: