Rangers spring Cup shock over Loughgall

Rathfriland Rangers sent Championship One side Loughgall crashing out of the Mid-Ulster Cup with a heroic 2-0 away victory.

It was a downfall plotted by Villagers old-boys. Brian Adair and Jim Gardiner, now the management team at Rathfriland, had successful stints at Loughgall and the second goal-scorer Stevie Coulter also used to play at Lakeview Park.

Rathfriland sit three divisions below the Villagers but you wouldn’t have been able to tell that as Jonny Gibson netted the opener in a victory for the underdog.

The deadlock lasted until the break as striker Stefan Campbell sliced a good chance wide for the home side and Ally Evans whistled an effort past the post at the other end.

Within ten minutes of the restart though, underdogs Rathfriland snatched the advantage. Loughgall ‘keeper Willie McKinstry spilled what should’ve been a simple save from a weak Rathfriland shot and Whites midfielder Johnny Gibson pounced to poke the ball in and give the visitors a lead.

Ten minutes later, a corner from Ryan Evans was missed by McKinstry and former Loughgall man Stevie Coulter nodded the ball in at the back post to put his side two up, sparking jubilation among the travelling Rathfriland support.

In truth, the visitors resisted the pressure with relative comfort even when tired legs were setting in.

Darren McGrath playing up front on his own had an astonishing game, holding up the ball brilliantly and driving forward when he could. Paul Donegan, another Loughgall old boy, marshalled the Rathfriland defence and Coulter was the driving force behind his team.