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BetMcLean Cup


26 Feb 2023
© Andrew McCarroll/Pacemaker Press Oran Kearney celebrates Coleraine's semi-final defeat of Cliftonville

No-one can argue that Coleraine don't deserve their place in next month's BetMcLean Cup final, their third successive appearance in the decider.

Oran Kearney's side had to overcome top flight opposition on three separate occasions, including a derby victory and knocking out last season's winners.

The Bannsiders began their journey with a comfortable four-goal defeat of Dergview at the Showgrounds back in September.

Evan McLaughlin opened the scoring after 11 minutes with a header from Dean Jarvis' cross.

Michael McCrudden made it 2-0 towards the end of the first half when, from a Jack O'Mahony delivery, he nodded the ball past keeper Alan Buchanan.

Coleraine's third came with just under a quarter-of-an-hour remaining after substitute Matthew Shevlin went one-on-one with Buchanan to find the net. Then, six minutes after that, McLaughlin doubled his tally with a tremendous shot from distance to complete the scoring.

The third round brought a trip down the A26 to face derby rivals Ballymena United.

Scoreless at the break, the Sky Blues had the ball in the net just after the hour but David McDaid's finish was ruled out offside.

Coleraine were awarded a penalty on 73 minutes following a foul by Mikey Place - for which the United man received his second caution - but Shevlin could only look on as Sean O'Neill dived low to his left to save the spot-kick.

However, Conor McKendry secured a last eight berth for the Bannsiders with what proved to be the only goal of the game on 80 minutes with a back post finish from Jamie Glackin's right-sided cross.

Moving onto the quarter-finals, it was back to Ballycastle Road for the visit of Dungannon Swifts.

The Bannsiders opened the scoring on 19 minutes when McCrudden found the back of the net before, a short time later, Conor McDermott teed Shevlin up to lift the ball over Swifts keeper Declan Dunne.

Dunne denied McCrudden his second of the evening with a superb save not long after the interval but the visiting keeper was beaten again in stoppage time as Evan McLaughlin came off the bench to complete the scoring.

© @Stephen Hamilton/PressEye

The last four brought a clash with Cliftonville at Solitude, and a repeat of last year's dramatic decider.

Coleraine exacted revenge but, once again, it was a game packed with incident and a nail biting finale.

The Reds moved in front with barely a quarter-of-an-hour on the clock when Ronan Hale made the most of a defensive error to nip in front of Kieran Farren and slot the ball past Gareth Deane.

The Bannsiders got their equaliser on 83 minutes after Shevlin met a McDermott cross to force extra time from close range.

Cliftonville regained the advantage on 92 minutes, however, thanks to Odhran Casey who volleyed past Deane after a Jonny Addis effort was blocked.

Remarkably Coleraine levelled once again in first half stoppage time with Shevlin's second of the evening, this time a header from Lee Lynch's cross.

With neither side finding the net again it inevitably meant the tie would need to be settled on penalties.

Coleraine were up first but Lyndon Kane saw his effort - taken at the second attempt - saved by Gartside, while Ronan Hale responded by sending his spot-kick over.

Carson, Shevlin, McLaughlin and McCrudden all successfully stroked their efforts home while Chris Gallagher, Levi Ives, Colin Coates and Joe Gormley responded in kind for Cliftonville.

That left sudden death - and up stepped Dean Jarvis to make it 5-4 to Coleraine, but the unfortunate Casey could only send his spot-kick over thus ending Cliftonville's grip on the trophy and sending the Bannsiders through to a third successive final!

Coleraine face Linfield in this season's BetMcLean Cup final on March 12th at the National Football Stadium (kick-off 3pm). Have you got your tickets yet? Buy now at