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Friday 24 May 2024
Second half goals help Enniskillen Rangers claim Junior Cup honours

Two second half goals helped Enniskillen Rangers defeat Cleary Celtic in the fonaCAB Craig Stanfield Junior Cup final at Stangmore Park.

Scoreless at the break, goals from William Burleigh and Jason Keenan saw Rangers come through to lift the trophy for the fifth time in their history against a Celtic side making their debut in the junior football showpiece occasion.

A bright game throughout, Rangers' Stuart Rainey created the first effort of note after four minutes but his low shot from distance went just the wrong side of the far post.

At the other end Declan Monaghan will feel he could have opened the scoring after being played clear but his attempted lob of keeper Joel Peden fell short of what was required before being cleared.

Mark Cutler almost found himself in front of goal a short time later from a Jake Browne through ball but the Rangers frontman was denied by a last ditch clearance.

This sparked a bit of a purple patch for Rangers with Browne then sending an effort over from the edge of the box, followed by a Justin Palmer strike that met a similar fate.

The chances continued with Browne then threatening for the Fermanagh & Western side, but Celtic keeper Joe Goodwill gathered comfortably.

Cutler, who has scored in every round so far, squandered another chance for Rangers when he fired over from a Jason Keenan lay-off before a Nathan Khan shot from the edge of the box was blocked.

Celtic came out after the break in determined mood, testing Peden twice during the opening exchanges through Owen Donaghy and Declan Monaghan.

Monaghan then chested the ball down and attempted a volley that flew across the face of goal as Celtic looked to turn their possession into the opening goal of the evening.

However Rangers began to turn the tables a little, and caused some concern for the Celtic defence when skipper Ciaran Smith fired straight at Goodwill from inside the box, with a Keenan shot soon after being blocked for a corner.

Substitute Burleigh - who had captained the side to previous Junior Cup success - came on midway through the half, and made an immediate impact with the opener on 72 minutes when he got on the end of a Cutler cross to direct the ball past the Celtic keeper.

Looking to bounce back almost immediately, Monaghan hesitated in front of goal after being played through with his subsequent being turned away for a corner.

But Rangers had the bit between their teeth by this stage, coming close to a second through a stinging Joel Byrne effort from the edge of the box before, on 78 minutes, Keenan killed the game off after Khan had nodded a free-kick back across goal and into his path.

Cleary Celtic: Goodwill, Lavery, Donaghy, Quinn, Coulter, O'Doherty, O'Reilly, M. Hughes, Barr, Monaghan, S. Hughes subs Lennon, McCabe, Marks, Walker, McAllister

Enniskillen Rangers: Peden, White, Palmer, Browne, McManus, Robinson, Cutler, Khan, Keenan, Smith, Rainey subs Byrne, McClure, Beattie, Burleigh, Johnston