What a weekend it proves to be for Birthday boy Jamie

Jamie McGonigle  celebrates after  a 4-0 victory over  Ballymena United during Saturday's Tennent's Irish Cup quarter final at Ballymena Showgrounds. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Jamie McGonigle celebrates after a 4-0 victory over Ballymena United during Saturday's Tennent's Irish Cup quarter final at Ballymena Showgrounds. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye

Your 21st birthday is a very memorable occasion, but for Jamie McGonigle it will carry extra significance.

The talented young striker got the key to the door on Sunday, a day after securing Coleraine’s passage into the Irish Cup semi-finals.

McGonigle fired in a brace along with strike partner Eoin Bradley as the Bannsiders completed a demolition derby over rivals Ballymena United.

It was a sort of redemption for McGonigle after his last game at Ballymena Showgrounds when several chances which came his way on Boxing Day went begging.

There was no such problem this time round though as the striker tormented the home defence from the first whistle and you could see the delight on his face after the game.

“Coming into this game we knew that we hadn’t taken our chances in the previous matches against Ballymena,” he told Times Sport.

“On Boxing Day the performance was there, but we just didn’t take our chances, I was partly to blame on the day.

“So we knew coming here today that if we could match that performance and take our chances we would run riot, and so it proved.”

McGonigle kicked things off inside 12 minutes as he slotted home at the second attempt to fire the Bannsiders into a deserved lead.

He wrapped up the scoring with 20 minutes to go with another instinctive finish to break the home supporters’ hearts and send the visiting fans into ecstasy.

“I’m just trying to do my job as a striker, and part of that is scoring goals,” he said.

“Sometimes you miss chances, but you have to pick yourself up from it and move on.”

Eoin Bradley notched up a brace at Warden Street on Saturday too, his first coming just before half-time.

McGonigle said it was important to grab a second goal going into the break, but they knew they couldn’t afford to take their foot off the pedal going into the second half.

“A 2-0 can be a dangerous score line, we know that all too well when we were two up against Ards in the League Cup semi-final last season only to be pegged back and lose on penalties,” he said.

“We knew today that we couldn’t afford to take anything for granted and that the next goal would be crucial.”

And so it proved both McGonigle and Bradley killed the game off for Oran Kearney’s men and set up scenes of wild celebration.

So it was safe to say the 21-year-old had a great weekend!

“It’s been a great day and obviously being my birthday weekend it makes it even sweeter, I’ll enjoy the celebrations that’s for sure,” he said.