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    Latest Club News
    03 Apr, 2008

    Jimmy rues missed chance to make final

    Photo:Lisbellaw v Immaculata 3

    In 1977 Lisbellaw United lost an Irish Junior Cup semi-final to Lowe Memorial before bouncing back the following year to take the Junior in fantastic style and become the first Fermanagh and Western team to lift the Blue Riband trophy in Junior football.

    Jimmy McGrath was involved back in 1977 and 1978 as a player and on Monday night in Loughgall he had to watch as a manager of Lisbellaw lost a junior cup semi-final they should have won.

    Needless to say, he hopes that his young Lisbellaw team react in the same manner to the setback that befell them when Immaculata won this year’s semi-final by virtue of a successful 75th minute penalty, not long after Alan Veitch had missed the best chance of the game.

    Indeed, it is the fact that Lisbellaw should have won that causes the most hurt in the wake of the defeat.

    “I suppose if we had been beaten three or four nil, then we could have had no complaints coming back down the motorway but we had the chances to win the game and that is what is hurting the most at the minute. The boys are all pretty down but we will have to bounce back because we still have something to play for in the league,” rued Jimmy on Tuesday.

    “We had several chances, the two that fell to Alan (Veitch) and then Mattie McFrederick and Keith Magowan got in behind their defence on separate occasions with men free in the middle but we could not find them. It is very disappointing and I think that had we taken one of those chances we would have closed up shop and held out. I said to the boys that of we get a chance we will have to be decisive and take it because you don’t get too many at this level but that’s the way it goes. We did not take our chances and paid the price.”

    Jimmy then paid tribute to the travelling Lisbellaw support that packed out Lakeview Park.

    “We had great support up there and it is a pity we could not give them something more to shout about. In saying that, a few years ago we were playing in Division Three so we have to look at the bigger picture and the progress that the club has made in recent years. All defeats are hard to take but it is important that we bounce back.”

    Impartial Reporter 03/04/08
    02 Apr, 2008

    'Law lack killer instinct

    Photo:Lisbellaw v Immaculata 2
    Photo:Lisbellaw v Immaculata 1

    Coca-Cola Junior Cup Semi-Final

    Lisbellaw United 0 Immaculata 1

    30 years after winnning the Junior Cup, Lisbellaw United’s attempt to make their first final since then floundered in the wind and rain of Lakeview Park on Monday night when they lost out by a single goal to West Belfast side, Immaculata.

    Indeed, the Drumad based side only had themselves to blame as they missed the best chances of the game after which they then literally paid the penalty in the 75th minute of the game, when Immaculata’s best player on the night, Colm O’Riordan was felled in the box before getting up to send James McGrath the wrong way for 1-0.

    There was no coming back from this hammer blow and Lisbellaw were out of the cup.

    Heartbreak then for Lisbellaw and their large travelling support but it is not that long ago that the former kingpins of the Fermanagh and Western were languishing in Division Three, so while this setback may be a blow to their rehabilitation, the cup run itself, suggests this defeat should be far from terminal.

    This was a typical semi-final, edgy, nervous with free flowing football at a premiuim while the strong breeze and intermitment heavy rain showers did not help the players either.

    It was the Belfast side who had the best chance after a tentative opening period when Christopher Lawlor fired over a corner but Daniel Collen headed wide when unchallenged and really should have done better.

    Slowly, Lisbellaw started to press Immaculata and they struggled to handle the strong running of Alan Veitch.

    He won Lisbellaw’s first corner with a strong run down the right but nothing came from it despite some suspect handling from Immaculata keeper Gerard Smith.

    Then Andy Reilly played the ball through for Keith McGowan who just failed to get to the ball ahead of the keeper. At this stage, Immaculata were looking less than sure at the back and Alan Veitch latched onto a poor defensive but his own header could not beat the opposing keeper who claimed the ball well.
    Then Keith McGowan beat the offside trap and tried to cross for the awaiting Veitch but Smith was down alertly to snuff out the danger as Lisbellaw clearly looked the team most likely to break the deadlock.

    Immaculata then pressed with O’Riordan hitting a free kick that McGrath parried while Sean McGovern shot wide from 20 yards after which Lisbellaw’s best player on the night, Glen McCleery made a fine last ditch tackle to cut out an excellent ball over the top.

    Lisbellaw were quickly back on the attack and Alan Veitch was presented with the first of two gilt edged chances. He again used his pace and strength to get the better of the Immaculata defence but fired over the bar when one on one with the keeper. Mattie McFrederick then got in down the right but a weak cross could not find a Lisbellaw player.

    As half-time approached, a sweet ball from Ally McCutcheon played in McGowan whose first touch took the ball too close to the keeper who was injured in the challenge. Somehow, Ian Veitch was booked for the challenge, clearly in the wrong.

    At half-time the game remained scoreless with Lisbellaw undoubtedly the most disappointed not to have broken the deadlock.

    With the wind, and now rain at their back, Immaculata came more into the game in the opening 20 minutes of the second half although Lisbellaw net minder McGrath was rarely called into action other than clearing high balls over the top.

    Immaculata did go close when McGovern fired over a great ball that Kevin Hughes just could not get on the end of.

    McFrederick went close for Lisbellaw when he let fly with a decent effort from outside the box after good work from Paul McGrath.

    The turning point of the game then ensued when Alan Veitch got to the ball ahead Smith in the Immaculata goal outside the box and with a free net to hit the ball into, Veitch delayed too long and Smith dived back to punch the ball out for a corner with the Lisbellaw centre forward only yards from goal.
    A golden chance missed, a relieved Immaculata started to up the ante and a good volley from the dangerous Hughes flashed just wide of McGrath’s left hand post.

    Then with 15 minutes to go, disaster for Lisbellaw.
    A through ball found O’Riordan on the edge of the box who was felled from a sliding challenge from Sean McNulty. The referee adjudged the foul to be inside the box and after a bit of a delay, O’Riordan confidently tucked the ball away to make it 1-0.

    Ally McCutcheon was injured in the build up to the penalty incident and McGrath fired on Niall Leonard, Kevin Gilmurray and Malcolm Little in attempt to grab an equaliser.

    It was not to be, however, as Leonard had a shot blocked and a Veitch header went wide as Lisbellaw were left to rue the chances missed before Immaculata broke the deadlock.

    Impartial Reporter 02/04/08
    27 Mar, 2008

    Goal happy Lisbellaw stay in contention

    Dunbreen Rovers 2
    Lisbellaw United 6

    Lisbellaw United are refusing to go away in the race for the Mercer League as they remain level on points with holders Enniskillen Town at the top of the table with a comfortable 2-6 win over Dunbreen Rovers, although matters are still in Town’s hands with the champions having two games in hand on their nearest rivals.

    Keith McGowan, Paul McGrath (2), Ali McCutcheon, Andy Reilly and Gary Benson were all on target for James McGrath’s side in a victory that provides Lisbellaw with the perfect boost ahead of their Irish Junior Cup semi-final clash with Immaculata on Monday in Loughgall.

    Dunbreen played with the strong breeze at their backs in the first half but Lisbellaw were quite comfortable in the early stages.

    The best goal scoring chance in the opening quarter fell to the visitors when McGowan was put through on goal, and he rounded the goalkeeper but the striker hesitated which allowed the goalkeeper to get back to avert the danger.

    It was Dunbreen, though, who were to open the scoring when referee Stuart Blair pointed to the spot after Ian Veitch was deemed to have handled the ball in the box. The penalty was duly despatched by Dunbreen to give the league’s bottom side the lead.

    Lisbellaw responded to this, and within ten minutes they were back on level terms as Paul McGrath slid McGowan in and he atoned for his earlier miss by finding the bottom corner from 18 yards.

    The away side went on to take the lead before the interval with left back Sean McNulty’s raking cross field pass finding right winger McGrath whose well timed run had beaten the offside trap, and he took the ball around the goalkeeper before rolling it into the empty net to make it 2-1 at half-time.

    After the change over it was Lisbellaw who continued to attack with the aid of the strong wind, and they increased their advantage on the hour mark.

    McGowan’s through ball picked out McCutcheon and he advanced on goal before coolly lifting the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper for his first goal of the season.

    Andy Reilly made it 4-1 with an expertly struck left foot volley, and McGrath registered his second, and Lisbellaw’s fifth, when a quickly taken free by Reilly found him in space and he slid the ball into the corner of the net.

    Lisbellaw had countless chances to further add to their lead with Alan Veitch unlucky on a number of occasions and substitute Matthew McFrederick struck the crossbar, but it was the home side who were to score next.

    They had already forced an excellent save out of goalkeeper James McGrath, who tipped a shot on to the crossbar, before they pulled a goal back.

    This was only a temporary set back for Lisbellaw and they completed the scoring when substitute Colin Domer’s corner was headed home by Gary Benson to leave Dunbreen a step closer to dropping back to Division Two.

    Impartial Reporter 03/04/08
    27 Mar, 2008

    Town and Lisbellaw ready ahead of Junior showdowns

    Lisbellaw United and Enniskillen Town will both be hoping to progress to the final of the Coca Cola Junior Challenge Cup next week when they take on Immaculata and Hill Street respectively.

    Lisbellaw will be in action on Monday night in Loughgall when they will face an Immaculata side that have really been in form this season, while the following night, holders Enniskillen Town will be looking to keep alive their hopes of back to back junior titles when they come up against Lurgan outfit Hill Street at Stangmore Park, Dungannon.

    To date it has been a wonderful season for James McGrath’s Lisbellaw side as they continue to push Town at the top of the Mercer League while they are also still involved in the Mulhern Cup, and McGrath feels that if his side can produce the type of performance that they are capable of then they will have a chance of making it through to the May Bank Holiday decider.

    However, McGrath is aware that their Belfast opponents will go into the contest as favourites.

    “They’ll be favourites as they’ve produced some excellent results this year but if we can play to our potential then we are more than capable of giving them a game,” said McGrath.

    The Lisbellaw manager took the opportunity to watch Immaculata on Saturday and he witnessed them suffer their first defeat of the season, although he felt it was a game that they dominated.

    “They lost 2-1 which was the first time this year that they lost but you could see that they are a very good team. The wind played a big part and although they were all over the other team in the second half they conceded a goal against the run of play. They move the ball very well and all their players are comfortable on the ball. We’ll be looking not to concede anything in the opening 20 minutes and then push on from there. We’ll be going there to enjoy ourselves but we’ll also be looking to make it to the final,” said McGrath.

    Lisbellaw have a doubt over Matthew McFrederick, who would be a major loss for them, but McGrath believes that his side also possess plenty of talented players, including his two sons, goalkeeper James and right winger Paul.

    “The two boys have been going well but then so have the rest of the players and it will be a great experience for them to play in Loughgall under lights,” said McGrath, who managed the side the last time they played in a junior cup semi-final when they defeated Oxford United on penalties back in 1997.

    While for all the Lisbellaw players the semi-final will be new, for the majority of Enniskillen Town’s players this will be their second successive semi-final, which manager Gerry Love feels will work to their advantage.

    “Last year we didn’t really know what to expect and very few of the boys performed well but they worked hard and we rode our luck at times to make it to the final. This time around we know what lies ahead and if we can produce the football that we’re capable of then I believe it will take a very good side to beat us,” said Love.

    The Town manager, though, states that his side will be paying former winner Hill Street the respect they are due.

    “Hill Street have a great name and are previous winners of the competition. I haven’t seen them playing yet but we know that it is going to be a very difficult match. We will be giving them the respect they deserve but as I’ve said if we can perform then we’ll be hard to beat. We’ve some exceptionally talented footballers but more importantly they will give everything for Enniskillen Town, and like their manager they’re bad losers,” he added. And Love will be expecting the Town fans to turn out in numbers on Tuesday night, as they have been doing all season.

    “These people who come out to support us every week, and I know who they are, I’m indebted to them and I think I speak on behalf of the players as well. They really get behind the team every week and they’ll arrive in their droves on Tuesday night,” he commented.

    Impartial Reporter 27/03/08