Ballynure Old Boys needed extra-time to overcome Killymoon Rangers in the O’Gorman Cup semi-final at Dixon Park.
With the scores level at 1-1 after 90 minutes, strikes by Ricky Higgins and substitute Josh McIlroy secured the 3-1 win, but manager Gary Burns was not impressed.
“This was a poor performance,” he said. “We had enough possession to win two or three matches, but a combination of missed chances and stubborn defending meant we had to go to extra-time.
“We did have the ball in the net once in each half of normal time, but in each case an offside decision denied us a goal, but the decision to go three at the back in the latter stages paid off.”
Straight from the start Ricky Higgins had the ball in the net with only 13 seconds on the watch, when to applied the finishing touch to a Paul McIntyre cross.
Ballynure stopper Ryan Stewart had to retrieve the ball from the net on 65 minutes having been beaten by a close range header.
This unexpected reverse prompted manager Burns to opt for a 3-4-3 formation, with stalwart defender Barry Penny making way for striker Josh McIlroy, but the nearest they came to scoring was an Andy Forsythe drive that rebounded off the post.
In the 97th minute McIntyre brought the ball into the box, where he squared to Ricky Higgins who regained the lead. McIlroy made victory secure three minutes from time when he blasted home from 25 yards.
“Not one of our best days but we are through to the final to be played against Dunloy at Allen Park on Friday, May 20,” added Burns.
Ballynure take on Chimney Corner on Thursday.