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Sunday 13 Mar 2022
Eagles squeeze through to Intermediate Cup semi-finals

Above: Conner Byrne is mobbed by his Armagh City team-mates after saving for the second time in the penalty shoot-out. (Credit: Gary Hancock)

Armagh City made it through to the last four of the McComb's Coach Travel Intermediate Cup after a penalty shoot-out defeat of Newington at Holm Park.

The Eagles, currently top of the Premier Intermediate League, squeezed past the Steel & Sons Cup holders after twice coming from behind and will be joined in the semi-finals by Limavady United, East Belfast and Rathfriland Rangers.

The 'tie of the round' got off to a brisk start with both sides trying to win the midfield battle and both 'keepers on top of their game, with perhaps the best chance of the scoreless first half coming just before the break when City keeper Conner Byrne turned the ball onto the crossbar.

However, the deadlock was eventually broken just before the hour after Richard Gowdy found Gary Warwick unmarked inside the area and he made no mistake with a clinical finish beyond Byrne from around eight yards out.

Armagh got back on level terms less than 10 minutes after that through Stefan Lavery with a downward header at the near post past Nathan Kerr.

Tied at 90 minutes, the Swans regained the advantage three minutes into extra-time courtesy of Jack Reilly's 20-yard free-kick that bypassed everyone to nestle in the bottom corner.

It looked to have been the goal that would ultimately win the tie but, deep into stoppage time, Conor Mullen stabbed home Armagh's equaliser to force the game into penalties.

With the sides inseparable after the first five spot-kicks it was into sudden death, with City eventually emerging victorious 6-5 after 'man of the match' Byrne saved from Daire Rooney (after also previously denying Reilly) to ensure progression for Shea Campbell's side.

Elsewhere, goals from Josh Tennant, Ryan Doherty and Dean Brown saw Limavady United get past Lisburn Distillery in the other all PIL clash at The Showgrounds while East Belfast and Rathfriland Rangers swept to comfortable wins over Ballymoney United and Crumlin Star respectively.