Limavady United 2 Queen’s University 1 (after extra time)

NIFL League Cup Round 1

For this first competitive game of the new season, the absence of a many regulars gave a number of new young players a chance to show what they could do.

The game was just 5 minutes old when Paul McDonald had to leave the field with an injury to his knee and calf. Garrett Quinn took his place.

Limavady dominated the early play and Paul Owens had missed a good chance before Robbie Hume pounced at the far post to convert Paul Smith’s low cross from a yard out. Queen’s gradually got more into the game and were level when Aaron Keenan played a through ball for the speedy Nathan Jones who clipped it past the onrushing Limavady keeper Paul Wells into the empty net.

United almost scored from the restart, Lee Harkin outpacing three defenders and only being foiled by Declan Brown’s fine save with his feet at the expense of a corner. Matt Hughes free kick was easily stopped by Wells who then made a magnificent save when he got fingers to Hughes’s left foot shot which seemed destined for the top corner. Queen’s were on top at this stage and on three occasions Jones broke through Limavady’s defence but his parting shots were all saved, easily enough, by Wells.

On a warm day the first game of the season going to 30 minutes extra time was not what either team would have wanted. No much happened in a tired looking first period but Limavady grabbed the winner 10 minutes from time when Hume’s low cross found Queen’s defender Chris McIllwaine whose clearance struck fellow defender Johnny Gibson and rebounded into his own goal.

There was a flurry of chances near the end with Smith attempting a chip from thirty yards which narrowly cleared the crossbar. Queen's McIlwaine volleyed narrowly over and the impressive Joe McCready then beat three men in the box, only to have his shot blocked. The last action of the game was a spectacular overhead kick from Connor Mulholland which was just wide of the post.

Such a disappointing way to lose. The new players all did well and should feel proud of their performance against one of the teams expected to challenge again for the league title. We wish Limavady well in their second round game away to Coleraine.