GARY Kennedy’s reward for causing the biggest shock in the Irish Cup sixth round is an opportunity to lead Kilmore Rec to his former stomping ground in the quarter-finals.
Thoroughly deserving of their victory over Institute in Drumahoe, the Amateur League Premier Division side will certainly appreciate the shorter trip to Cliftonville after successive visits to the north-west.
In fact Kennedy, who was close to tears after Saturday’s shock, refused to take any of the credit, insisting that the win was fashioned by the tough shift put in my his players on the day.
“They deserve all the credit,” he declared afterwards. “Each and every one of them worked their socks off and they had to do that if we were to defeat Institute.
“I’m over the moon for the players and while Institute certainly had more of the play, we pressed them from the start and the win came down to hard work.
“Our game plan was to press them early. We know how good a footballing side Institute are. We got an early goal which helped settle us down but the most important thing was to continue to work hard if we were to win and, thankfully, the players did that.
“I’m absolutely delighted for the players, for the club and, of course, for our supporters, particularly those who made the two hours journey.
Andrew Telford put his side into the driving seat before two minutes had elapsed when racing onto an under-weighted back-pass before drilling a low shot to the net.
Telford also played an integral role in Kilmore’s second strike from the penalty spot after he had been upended by Graeme Taylor who was shown the red card for his last-man challenge.
Stephen Douglas netted the spotkick for a 2-0 lead and ‘Stute were in trouble with 50 minutes played.
The home side’s woes were compounded when they were reduced to nine men, defender John Curran receiving a straight red card for what appeared an over-robust challenge on Telford five minutes after the second goal.
The only disappointment in what has proved an historic day for the club was the dismissal of Johnny Cheevers in the 88th minute, the centre-half having been shown a second yellow card for dissent.
Institute – Gallagher, Gray (McKeever, 57), Taylor, Curran, McLaughlin, Crown, D. McCauley, Walsh, Parkhouse (Mullan, 57), McCrudden, Semple (McFadden, 57).
Kilmore Rec – McKenna, Douglas, Miskelly (Larkin, 74), Holland, Cheevers, N. McCauley, Lewis, P. Telford (Hardy, 67), A. Telford, Traynor, Curran (Bell, 74).