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Tuesday 13 Mar 2018
Larne, Coleraine and Cliftonville through to cup semi-finals

Larne upset the odds this evening to book their place in the semi-finals of the Tennent's Irish Cup with victory over Ballymena United at The Showgrounds.

Despite currently enjoying a long unbeaten run, Tiernan Lynch's side failed to escape the bottom six split in the NIFL Championship and faced a Sky Blue outfit that had already reached two cup finals this season.

For a while, the game seemed to follow the script and when Tony Kane edged United in front from the spot just after the half-hour mark it looked like the Larne dream was over.

However, the Championship side levelled early in the second half when the unfortunate Kyle Owens turned the ball into his own net whilst attempting to clear a Martin Donnelly cross.

And the writing was on the wall for Ballymena on 67 minutes when Donnelly once again provided the cross which Thomas Stewart met with a downward header to send Larne into the last four.

They will meet Coleraine for a place in the final. The Bannsiders - now chasing a league and cup double - booked their semi-final berth courtesy of Darren McCauley's 10th minute finish, a long effort which took a bobble on its way past Elliott Morris.

The Glens fought hard in an attempt to keep their cup hopes alive, spurning a number of opportunities after the break and late in the game, but there proved to be no way back for Ronnie McFall's side.

Holders Linfield relinquished their grip on the trophy at the hands of Cliftonville. Joe Gormley grabbed what proved to be the match winner and only goal at Windsor Park as late as the 79th minute after he was slipped through by Ruairi Harkin to coolly slot the ball past 'keeper Alex Moore.

The Reds will face Loughgall in the last four, a repeat of the 1996/97 clash between the sides at the same stage. Cliftonville ran out 3-1 winners on that occasion before going on to lose to Glenavon in the final … ironically the side Loughgall defeated this season to reach the semi-finals!