Irish Cup semi-final: Coleraine and Linfield snatch late wins
James McLaughlin scored a late winner to give Coleraine a 2-1 win over Glenavon and secure a meeting with Linfield in the Irish Cup final.
Brad Lyons put Coleraine 1-0 up early in the second half but James Singleton headed holders Glenavon level.
McLaughlin nodded in from Eoin Bradley's cross to clinch the victory.
Linfield sealed their place in the 6 May showpiece when Stephen Lowry scored in the 89th-minute to secure a 1-0 semi-final win over Dungannon Swifts.
Lowry had earlier failed to convert from the penalty sport when Andy Coleman saved after Dougie Wilson's trip on Jamie Mulgrew.
Just before the decisive goal, keeper Roy Carroll made a superb save for Linfield who lost to Glenavon in last year's final.
Lowry's goal was his 13th of the season and came when the match appeared to be heading for extra-time.
The former Coleraine player controlled the ball on the right side of the area with one touch and then slotted a low finish past keeper Coleman.
The first half had few chances, but the best one fell to Dungannon when Wilson headed off target from a Jarlath O'Rourke corner.
After the break, Linfield got a penalty for Wilson's mistimed tackle on Blues skipper Mulgrew, but Coleman did well to keep out Lowry's spot-kick.
Then Aaron Burns headed in for Linfield but it was disallowed for a push on David Armstrong.
Linfield's former Northern Ireland keeper Carroll reacted superbly to palm away a deflected Wilson shot and that proved crucial as Lowry popped up with the late winner.
It was another tight contest at a sunny Ballymena Showgrounds with Coleraine edging through courtesy of McLaughlin's late goal.
Chances were squandered by both sides in the first half before the Bannsiders made the breakthrough three minutes after the break.
Ciaron Harkin delivered an inswinging corner and Brad Lyons sneaked in to net from close range.
The opener sparked a strong response from Glenavon and Greg Moorhouse headed over before a deserved equaliser arrived on 68 minutes.
Again it came from a corner, with the unmarked James Singleton directing his header into the Coleraine net from eight yards.
A frantic finale saw misses at both ends but substitute McLaughlin made no mistake as he headed home from Eoin Bradley's pinpoint cross.
What they said
Linfield manager David Healy: "I am absolutely delighted to be in the final.
"We were poor in last year's final and didn't turn up, but now the players have the opportunity to redeem themselves."
Coleraine manager Oran Kearney: "James McLaughlin is the man for the big occasion. I just had a feeling that, no matter what came our way, today was going to be our day.
"It is hard to find words - I'm euphoric.
"Our players have gone too long without the big day they deserve."
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