Super strikers fire Rangers into Irish Cup second round

Rathfriland Rangers lost 1-0 to Dromara Village last Tuesday evening but hit straight back with their 4-0 win over Seagoe on Saturday afternoon. Paul Byrne Photography INBL1434-206PB
Rathfriland Rangers lost 1-0 to Dromara Village last Tuesday evening but hit straight back with their 4-0 win over Seagoe on Saturday afternoon. Paul Byrne Photography INBL1434-206PB

Rathfriland Rangers’ strike duo Philip Main and Darren McGrath both netted twice to ease their side into round two of the Irish Cup with victory over Seagoe on Saturday.

Two goals in the opening 10 minutes gave Rathfriland an early cushion and both frontmen doubled their tallies in the second-half in what was a brilliant all-round display from the Iveagh Park side.

The Whites have enjoyed impressive runs in Northern Ireland’s top cup competition over the past two years and manager John Kernaghan will now be hoping to guide his charges on another push.

Portadown side Seagoe travelled to Rathfriland fresh from a 5-1 league win away to Broomhedge but had shipped 10 goals in their first two games in the Mid-Ulster Intermediate B division.

And their defence sprung another leak just minutes into this game when Conor Mackin’s rasping 25-yard drive cannoned off the crossbar with Main on hand to tuck in the rebound.

The Whites struck again moments later when Brian Bird, striding forward from centre-half, played a through ball into the path of the deadly McGrath and he flashed his finish into the top corner.

Rathfriland were rampant as they showed their class and midfielder Mackin almost grabbed the goal he had earlier been denied when he broke through and lobbed the Seagoe goalkeeper only to see it bounce agonisingly wide.

Having gained a two-goal advantage so early on, Rathfriland appeared to take their foot off the pedal as the half wore on, but while Seagoe started to find their feet, Rangers ‘keeper Kieran Maguire had little to do.

After the break, Rathfriland upped their tempo again and McGrath notched his second of the afternoon shortly before the hour mark. After receiving another incisive pass from Bird, he danced past two defenders to make space for himself on the edge of the area before placing a low shot perfectly into the bottom corner, putting his side 3-0 up.

The Whites thought they had a fourth when defender Stephen Hutchinson’s thumping header from Thomas Lockhart’s swirling corner was bundled off the line, but they didn’t have long to wait for the next goal.

Bird’s adventurous nature took him deep into the Seagoe half yet again and he lifted a pass over the top of the back four which Main latched on to. The strapping striker nicked it past the keeper, and despite the best efforts of a Seagoe centre-back the ball sneaked over the line to put the result beyond any doubt.

MOTM: Brian Bird.