HELLO DULLY!; LEAGUE CUP FINAL SPECIAL.
Pat Dully, a 31-year-old Crusaders unknown was the unexpected hero who scooped this Wilkinson Sword League Cup win from favourites Glentoran at Windsor Park last night.
Dully signed in an injury crisis only five days ago from Dublin's Bohemians, was playing only his second game and upstaged even team-mate Stephen Baxter the Premier League's top scorer.
He was lurking at the near post for a Stuart Mellon throw-in neatly touched on by midfielder Donal O'Brien but it was a remarkable goal that cracked the deadlock in the 57th minute.
Pat evaded a challenge from goalkeeper Neil Armstrong, kept his balance and squeezed the ball through the smallest of gaps with a flick of the outside of his right foot.
And he might have had a second 10 minutes later but his 20-yard drive was just wide.
The goal gave Crusaders their first ever League Cup victory after defeats by Linfield in 1986 and Portadown last year.
Glentoran had only themselves to blame for not staying in the hunt when they had an equal share of chances.
But they blew it when skipper John Devine saw his 66th minute penalty brilliantly saved by big goalkeeper Kevin McKeown.
Devine took the kick well enough and with power but McKeown guessed right and swooped at the base of his right post to howls of delight from the Crusaders fans.
The penalty had been awarded when little terrier Darren Finlay was brought down in the box by Crusaders skipper Aaron Callaghan.
Glentoran's likely match-winner Rory Hamill passed a late fitness-test, buzzed along the front line, caused a lot of trouble and had two chances but the knee injury obviously told and he faded after the interval.
Glenn Little the Glentoran 21st birthday boy had hoped to celebrate with a medal. But he spent most of his time wide on the right of midfield and never really got into the game.
Apart from one shot direct from the second-half kick-off that was touched on to an angle of the bar by Armstrong he posed little threat.
Trevor McMullan, the Crusaders right back who had yet another top class game was named Player of the Tournament.
But the entire team really takes the biscuit. It's no wonder they are called 'The Grinders' because they seem impossible to wear down. The more they are in trouble the better they respond. They did it again in style.
Glentoran had the early edge looking for the swift goal that would have opened the door.
But they failed to hit the target despite the pressure. Keith Beatty had a shot saved by the diving McKeown after a pass from the industrious Hamill.
Then Hamill had tough luck twice inside a minute when he escaped his markers.
He flicked side-footed at a near post but it was deflected for a corner. And from that corner by Andy May he saw his header bounce off the top of the bar.
Crusaders as usual saw the danger and clamped down and became dangerous themselves on the break.
Trevor McMullan always bursting forward from right back just missed out on a goal. He fired in a shot from wide on the right and goalkeeper Armstrong fluffed a catch.
He was lucky Chris Walker cleared off the line with the deadly Stephen Baxter charging in. Baxter also came close when a header hit the bar.
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Oct 16, 1996|
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