Sports

Brown strike sends Swifts into decider

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Brown strike sends Swifts into decider thumbnailMichael Brown celebrates with team mates after scoring Beragh Swifts' winning goal against Strule United.

BERAGH Swifts booked their place in the Mulhern Cup final thanks to Michael Brown's first half strike in a dour 1-0 win at Ferney Park on Wednesday evening.

Strule United ...0
Beragh Swifts ...1

In a game of few chances, the Swifts number 10's strike was a rare moment of excitement, and proved to be enough to send Beragh into the May 12 decider for the second time in four years, after defeat to Enniskillen Town United in 2014.

A Jason Aiken header from a Craig Breen corner was the first action of the game after just a minute, but was easily gathered by Strule goalie Niall McCrory.

Ten minutes later though came a goal for Keith Hamilton's men. Swifts keeper Jordan's Newell clearance found Craig Breen in space, and his perfectly weighted loft pass was collected by Brown, who coolly slotted past McCrory.

Thereafter there wasn't much to get excited about, as Strule's pressure only amounted to a handful of corners from which nothing came. Patrick Doherty and Kevin McAleer were still doing plenty of running to try and unlock the Swifts rearguard. Strule's Steven Cunningham then shipped a heavy knock, and made way for Matthew Browne

At the other end, Beragh weren't exactly setting the game alight either, though Stephen Browne did weave through and force McCrory into a save after 23 minutes, before Breen broke down the left wing only to find his teasing cross go astray.

Beragh's defence were well able to deal with Strule's advances, and towards the end of the half they nearly doubled their lead when Browne cut in from the left to fire a dangerous shot on goal. The effort was parried away by McCrory only as far as Jamie McKeown, but the striker couldn't turn the rebound in.

The game continued in a stop-start pattern after the break, as Craig Breen's evening ended with a hamstring injury on 48 minutes. Brown then had the chance to double his and Swifts' account when a long ball over the top found him in on goal, but his strike lacked conviction and was gathered with ease by McCrory.

Like the first half, few clear-cut chances arose, however the game was not lacking a few full-blooded tackles as both sides got stuck in on a number of occasions.

On 75 minutes, Chris Leathart's found room in a crowded box to get a shot off, but it was blocked away by Doherty, as signs of fatigue were beginning to show in both teams.

Conor McCullagh came on for Strule, and immediately he came close to getting on the end of John McPeake's ball into the box.

Beragh then had the chance to put the tie to bed in the 80th minute when a lack of concentration in the Strule defence allowed Michael Brown to gallop through on goal, but his effort was brilliantly tipped past the post by McCrory.

As the game approached its closing stages, Strule attempted to push bodies forward, but as was the case all night, Beragh were dealing with any danger.

Then came a moment of late drama when Strule keeper McCrory came up the field to not once but twice to get his head on two corner kicks, almost bagging a precious equaliser. But it was not to be, and Beragh greeted the final whistle with jubilation as they took their place in the final.

Strule United: Niall McCrory, Paul Kelly, Ryan Pritchard, Ronan Taggart, Lee Brown, Steven Cunningham (Matthew Browne 26), Luke McGinn (Conor McCullagh 76), Daniel Parkinson, Patrick Doherty, John McPeake, Kevin McAleer,  

Subs not used: Johnny Winser, Eamon Rea, Shane Sheridan.

Beragh Swifts: Jordan Newell, Jason Aiken, Kyle McKane, Nigel Humphrey, Jonathan McKeown, Colin Adams, Craig Breen (Davy Clements 49), Chris Leatheret, Stephen Browne, Michael Brown, Jamie McKeown (Jason Armstrong 84).

Subs not used: Ryan Weir, Ben Thompson, Jordan Fowler.

Referee: J. Farrell (Kesh)

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