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Monday 25 Sep 2023
Intermediate Cup | First Round recap

The 2023/24 McComb's Coach Travel Intermediate Cup got underway at the weekend with no fewer than 51 ties played around the country kicking off the long road to the decider next spring.

The 'tie of the round' paired NAFL Division 1A leaders Albert Foundry with Portadown BBOB, early front runners in Mid Ulster Intermediate B, at Paisley Park.

A closely fought affair, the sides couldn't be separated after a scoreless 90 minutes but what proved to be the winner and only goal of the game came just four minutes into extra-time through former Annagh United and Dollingstown striker - and man of the match - Scott McCordick.

Holders Crumlin Star kicked off their defence of the trophy with a 5-0 home defeat of Kilmore Rec.

Fra Nolan opened the scoring in first half stoppage time before doubling up just before the hour. Stephen Smyth added a third midway through the second half with Kevin Lynch hitting Star's fourth late on - and there was just enough time left for Smyth to double his own tally to complete the scoring.

Last season's losing finalists, St. Oliver Plunkett, also hit five goals on the road to Seagoe. Eugene Reid got them off to a great start after just two minutes before the real damage was done after the break. Sean Jackson helped himself to a double with Conall Breen and Stephen O'Neill wrapping things up in the closing minutes.

Most NIFL Premier Intermediate League sides progressed to the next round, but it wasn't all plain sailing as three did exit the competition at the first hurdle, namely Portstewart, PSNI and Moyola Park.

The Seahawks went down 5-4 after extra-time to Oxford Sunnyside at Knockramer Park. Portstewart's Paul Smith bagged a hat-trick, but that wasn't enough after Daniel Smith hit Oxford's winner in the 92nd minute.

Rosemount Rec. accounted for the PSNI thanks to goals from Curtis Houston and Ryan Newberry while, in Ballymena, Jamie Houston claimed the match ball as Wakehurst defeated Moyola Park by the odd goal in nine.

Indeed, it proved to be quite the day for hat-tricks with Christopher Allan (Malachians), Jack Chambers (Rathfriland Rangers), Jamie Devenny (Lisburn Distillery), Ciaran Hyland (St. James' Swifts), Philip Kerr (Dromara Village), Ben McCaul (Immaculata), Nicholas Napier (Derriaghy CC), Jason Scott (Dunmurry Rec.) and Banbridge Town's Jourdan Shearer all hitting three goals apiece.

However, the honour of being top individual scorer on the day fell to East Belfast's Dean Annett after his four-goal haul as Islandmagee were brushed aside at East Park.

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