Enniskillen Rangers 0 Lisnaskea Rovers 1

Lisnaskea Rovers sprung the surprise of the season so far, with a Brian McDermott goal knocking Enniskillen Rangers out of the Mulhern Cup at the Ball Range on Saturday.

After a yearlong unbeaten run Rangers finally came up short against an inspired Rovers side, with manager Michael Kerr admitting that his team were below par on the day.

“They rode their luck at times and we had a couple of chances at the end, but we just weren’t at our normal level of performance,” he said.

“It was our first defeat in 12 months but I said to the boys that they have to be immensely proud to have been on a run like that because it is very uncommon.

“No team, at any level, wins every game. I told them not to be too disappointed about it. It was just one of those things. There was a lot of disappointment in the changing room afterwards but we did not take them lightly. We prepared for that game like any other and trained really well Thursday but it was just an under par performance.

“We would have loved to try to win the Mulhern and on Saturday we tried to win the game, but we just came up short. They came with a game plan and it worked for them. We will not dwell on it. We will look back and see what we can improve on, but it’s now about how we can react.

“We are still in a good position. The league is still in our own hands and we are in the semi final of the Junior Cup and I would have taken that at the start of the year.”

Rovers’ assistant manager Noel Phair was delighted with his team’s efforts, and felt they merited the victory.

“When we missed a chance just before half time I thought that it wasn’t going to be our day, but in the second half the more the game went on the more confident we got.” he said.

“We didn’t really sit back except for maybe the first 20 minutes. After that each team went at it, but we cancelled each other out to a certain extent. I couldn’t single anyone out. All the young lads played good football and it was a good win that showed we have learnt from some defeats during the season.

“In the last few minutes you could call it a bit of luck, or good goalkeeping or good defending. They maybe should have scored but I thought we deserved it in the end. It was an excellent result against a pretty successful team. It’s good to be in the next round but we won’t be getting carried away just yet.”

The first half yielded few goal scoring opportunities, but Stuart Rainey had Rangers’ best chance. Ciaran Smith won possession in midfield and his pass released Rainey but when faced with the keeper his shot rose over the crossbar.

James Turley also had a half chance but fired narrowly wide from a half volley.

Rovers’ sole first half sight of goal came in the dying minutes of the half. Rangers only partially cleared a corner and it fell to Adam McKenna but his effort was off target.

Midway through the second half Rovers netted the goal that would take them through to the next round.

Mullaney and Curran combined to clear the ball into the Rangers half, and Brian McDermott pounced on Neil Coulter to win possession before rounding a defender and goalkeeper Jerome Carleton.

Rangers tried to respond immediately and Jason Keenan rattled the crossbar straight from the kick off.

Rovers lost goal scorer McDermott to injury and had a penalty appeal turned down when Paul Og O’Reilly went down inside the area, but as the game entered the last ten minutes Rangers started to pile on the pressure.

Mark Cutler broke down the wing and whipped in a dangerous cross. Ciaran Brough failed to make a good connection and the ball came back off the keeper, but bounced off Jason Keenan and rolled wide of the post.

Conor Watson then provided a cross for Willie Burleigh but his header was saved and scrambled wide of the post before Currie could pounce on the loose ball.

The home team then had vigorous appeals for a penalty waved away when Burleigh went down under a challenge.

Rovers though held on to take the win and they will now face either Mountfield or Kesh in the quarter final.