DERGVIEW will contest their first ever senior final after a convincing semi-final victory over Moyola Park at Castledawson’s Mill Meadow on Tuesday evening.
A stunning Paul Smith double, a brilliant team goal superbly finished by Graham Young and a second half strike by Marc McConnell helped the Derg men brush aside the challenge of a Moyola side which had defeated Coleraine in the previous round.
And the historic win has set up a North West Senior Cup decider against old adversaries Ballinamallard United, who incidentally will also be gunning for their first ever success in the senior knockout competition.
Against the Premier Intermediate League outfit, Derg boss Ivan Sproule took the opportunity to reshuffle his pack a little and said he sent his players out with the simple message “to have no regrets.”
“It’s a long time since Dergview has been in a cup final and I told the players they owed it to themselves as a group,” he said.
“When I came into the club and they were in the doldrums everyone of them fought hard for me. This was something they deserved, they deserved a final.
“At the end of the day it’ll be a big occasion and hopefully the Derg public will come out in force to cheer them on.
“For the boys it’ll be a first taste of a final. Our aspirations at the start of the year was to give the league a push but with players leaving those have changed somewhat.
“But it would be nice to have a wee bit of silverware at the end of the season, if we can beat Ballinamallard in the final. We know we’ll have to work extremely hard to achieve that but the boys had a job to do tonight and I thought they did that.”
Against Moyola the visitors set the early tone and were all but home and hosed at the half-time interval having established a 3-1 advantage.
After Dale Maxwell had headed over and Mattie Callaghan had spurned a heading opportunity the Castlederg outfit forged ahead when Smith picked the ball up from deep. The attacker strode forward unchallenged before firing a low drive inside Dwayne Nelson left post from 25 yards.
Moments later Smith blazed over from close range but the Derry man struck again shortly afterwards when from a similar position as his first strike he fizzed the ball low inside Nelson’s opposite post.
Thereafter the visitors purred through the gears. Simon McGlynn headed inches over before a sweeping move instigated by Garth Falconer at left-back ended up with the excellent Young dashing in off the opposite flank to drill the ball behind Nelson’s right hand.
Moyola replied when the lively Krzysztof Silakowski crossed from the right for Michael Tolan to head home at the second attempt.
But the half ended with Dergview on top and with Young thundering narrowly wide after good play by Adam Buchanan, McConnell and Smith.
At the back Maxwell, Falconer, Philip Wallace and Mattie Buchanan offered the opposing attack little encouragement and moments into the new half Ivan Sproule’s visitors almost extended their lead but Nelson showed tremendous reflexes to acrobatically tip a McGlynn header from a Smith cross onto his crossbar.
But, moments later, Nelson was again picking the ball out of his net when McConnell dashed past a number of defenders before his rasping shot, with the help of a slight deflection, arrowed high inside his left upright.
That effectively killed off the home challenge as the visiting side, after introducing Andy Sproule, Gareth Doherty and Johnny McKeown, strived to increase their winning margin.
Adam Buchanan flashed a rising effort inches wide from 25 yards while Nelson foiled Falconer after a fast-flowing attack on the left involving McKeown, Young and Sproule.
Nelson also thwarted Doherty, again in the wake of excellent combination play by McConnell and Sproule.
Ballinamallard United meanwhile booked their place in the showpiece final with a first half effort by Ryan Morris giving Harry McConkey’s team a 1-0 victory over Limavady United.
Nelson; McAllister; Harris (O’Mullan 82); McQuillan; Cowden; Tolan; Logue: Taylor (Lundy 71); Rafferty; Taggart; Silakowski (McClelland 59).
Subs not used: Moore; McClure
Al Buchanan; Wallace; Falconer; Maxwell (McKeown 64); M Buchanan; Callaghan (Doherty 71); McConnell; Young; McGlynn (A Sproule 56); Smith; Ad Buchanan.
Subs not used: McNulty; I Sproule.
Referee: G Stewart
Dergview travel to face Portadown in the Bluefin Sport Championship this afternoon (kick-off 3pm).