Maguire nets hat-trick in Irish Cup win

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Larne booked their place in the fifth round of this season’s Irish Cup when they edged past Wakehurst 3-2 after extra-time on Saturday. Not for the first time this season, the Reds had captain Paul Maguire to thank as he got all three goals - with two coming from the penalty spot.

The visitors shocked their hosts going ahead in the second minute. A loose pass was pounced on by Connor Gregg who took advantage of sloppy defending to slip the ball home.

The lead only lasted five minutes as Maguire stepped up to convert from 12 yards after Brian McClean had been fouled. Larne then took control but failed to make their chances count.

Larne edged ahead again on 67 minutes. This time Maguire was taken down by keeper Mark Maybin before comfortably firing home the penalty.

Wakehurst, to their credit, battled back and a cracking finish from Gregg levelled things up again.

The tie was finally settled a minute into the second period of extra-time. Andy Simms curled a free-kick onto the edge of the six-yard box for Maguire to find the net.

Manager Graham McConnell was relieved to get through. “We made it hard for ourselves. To be fair to Wakehurst, they provided a bigger challenge than I expected,” he said.

“We didn’t apply ourselves well enough and I thought when they scored so early it would waken us up and it did but after that we were very flat. We didn’t do the basics right which disappointed me but it will be a wake-up call for the players before the game against Warrenpoint on Saturday.”