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Saturday 7th April 2018
Linda Welchman Cup - Semi-final
2:00pm ko @ Fairhill, Cookstown
Killymoon Rangers and Cookstown Youth produced one of the games of the season on Saturday, as both sides battled for a spot in the Linda Welshman Cup Final.
The match was kindly sponsored by Paul Lindsay of Photo King Cookstown and saw both Cookstown teams put on a fantastic game of football for the supporters on the side-lines.
Killymoon started fast, and within the first five minutes a shot was cleared from the Cookstown Youth line. Moments later, Killymoon had another effort from Stefan Shields, this time the Cookstown Youth keeper was unable to stop the powerful strike and Killymoon took an early lead.
The game ebbed and flowed for the next 10 minutes, both teams having half chances, only to be denied by some fine last ditch defending. William Frizelle of Killymoon and his CYFC counterpart Aaron Thornton were both playing some excellent left footed over-the-top balls into the channels for their strikers - this became a theme throughout the game and a lot of chances were developing down the left hand channels.
With 15 minutes gone, Cookstown Youth mounted an attack, and after some missed tackles in midfield, the colts broke through the moon defence and striker Rene Matiko finished very well past goalkeeper Kyle Dobson to make it 1-1.
Killymoon, disappointed to concede so quickly after going in front pressed very hard for the next 15 minutes, and mounted several attacks through Richard Donaghy, Christopher McNicholl & Ryan Smith.
Finally Killymoon got back in front after a corner fell kindly to centre half Jamie O'Neill who slotted home from all of 5 yards out. 2-1.
As the first half drew to a close, Cookstown Youth played some excellent football, with Barrie Kelly linking up well with his forwards down the left-hand side. He was unable to trouble the Killymoon goalkeeper though and it finished 2-1 at the break.
In the second half, both teams upped the anti and the game got very feisty across the park. Colts players Phillip McGarvey and John Scott, alongside Killymoon midfielders David Frizelle and Declan Campbell were putting in plenty of hard hitting tackles as they battled for control of possession. Clear cut chances were few and far between, but one notable effort came from Killymoon's Ryan Smith when he struck the bar from thirty yards out.
As the game came moved into the final fifteen minutes, Cookstown were desperately seeking an equalizer, whilst Killymoon tried to find that killer goal to put the game to bed. A half-chance came to Stuart Donaghy after a deep cross from David Frizelle to the back post, but the striker who struck the ball first time, was unable to find the net.
In the 84th minute, Killymoon hearts looked to be broken, as Colts winger Piotr Gabrystak broke into the box through the tiring Killymoon Defence, and struck high and hard into the net, off the crossbar in fact, past the helpless Kyle Dobson. A great goal with lots of power, and the score line was now poised at 2-2 with added-extra time and penalties looking like a real possibility.
With the game now nearing the end, only minutes left, Killymoon pushed down the right hand side of the pitch. A great ball was delivered into the area, which went over the heads of 2 or 3 players, only to fall to the unmarked veteran Warren Smith at the back post who ecstatically hit home from 2 yards past the sprawling Colts goalkeeper. 3-2 to Killymoon Rangers in 92nd minute of play!
Huge relief and celebrations quickly followed as the referee blew his final whistle, but not before one last fantastic Cookstown Youth effort, which forced an equally fine save from Killymoon keeper Kyle Dobson, to ensure Killymoon's first cup final in six years.
A fantastic result for Killymoon Rangers, who are still unbeaten since September in the league and now have a well deserved cup final to look forward to against Carrickfergus side Castle Star FC.
The Man of the Match award, sponsored by Ozzie Tiling, picked by the supporters, went to Richard Donaghy, and was presented by ex Killymoon player Raymond Ferguson.
Man of the match, sponsored by Ozzie Tiling, picked by the supporters, was Richard Donaghy.
Photos here

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