Football: Moyola Park delight as they advance to Craig Memorial final


A first half hat trick by Chris Dowie sent Moyola Park on the way to a first Craig Memorial Cup Final since Boxing Day 2006.

That day a 4-2 victory against Institute completed a run of five wins in seven years.

Championship One side Limavady United were outplayed during the opening half giving Mervyn Pattison’s side a relatively easy task of reaching a sixth final since 2000.

Dowie opened the scoring after 12 minutes when he cleverly directed an overhead kick past Conor Brown from close range. Four minutes later Dowie doubled his tally when he took advantage of an excellent through ball from Eugene Gallagher.

Midway through the first half Brown did well to prevent Sean McConnell’s header entering the Limavady United net, the latter having got on the end of a Davy Paul through ball from midfield.

As the half hour mark approached a Michael Walsh corner kick on the left created the opening for Eugene Gallagher to notch Moyola Park’s third goal past Brown’s outstretched hands.

Conor Deane shot narrowly over the Limavady United crossbar three minutes before the interval, but there was still time for Dowie to complete his hat trick when he slotted the ball into the visitor’s net following a well worked free kick by Walsh.

Timmy Dixon’s side came out for the second half with much more spirit and within six minutes Gary McFadden opened their tally giving his side a much needed boost.

Just beyond the hour mark Declan Logue missed a good opportunity to bring his side back into the tie but he failed to test Marty Farniok. One minute later Gallagher’s pass found Darren Walls who scored from the edge of the six yard box to renew Moyola Park’s four goal advantage.

Moyola Park manager Mervyn Pattison made three substitutions in quick succession, Steven Kenning replacing Deane, Maurice Curtis replacing Gallagher and Stephen McConnell replacing Dowie. Ten minutes from the end Johnny Hume beat Farniok with an excellent strike from just inside the penalty area.

Two minutes later a McFadden effort on goal was saved by Farniok. Just before the final whistle an excellent pass from Kenning put Sean McConnell through on goal but he blasted the ball over the Limavady United crossbar.

Moyola Park: Marty Farniok, Damian Maguire, Gareth Stewart, Steven McQuillan, Michael Walsh, David Paul, Sean McConnell, Eugene Gallagher (Maurice Curtis), Chris Dowie (Stephen McConnell), Conor Deane (Steven Kenning), Darren Walls. Subs not used: Sean McCabe, Stewart Lennox.

Limavady United: Conor Brown, Mark Duffy, Bryan McClelland, Aaron McGregor, Ryan Brown, Lee Harkin, Aaron Mullan, Gary McFadden, Blaine Morrison, Declan Logue, Johnny Hume. Subs: Jack Heaney, Tony Clyde, Thomas Burke, Stephen Harley, Matt McGraw

Moyola Park get back to Championship Two action on Saturday 26th October with a home fixture against Wakehurst at 3pm.