Irish have it in them to improve performances


GLASGOW Irish put their name in the hat for the next round as they chased cup glory but were left to rue missed opportunities as their cup win was followed by two league defeats.

Their long journey to Dunfermline in the Sunday Trophy Scottish Cup was rewarded with a victory over Norries AFC, which kept their cup dreams alive, but was unfortunately followed by two defeats on league duty at the hands of Coltness and Greenbank.

The two league games saw the Irish absent of the drive which saw their visit to Dunfermline end so fruitfully, and a combination of bad luck and poor refereeing left the Irish (above) empty-handed after the double header.

In their crunch cup-tie, however, they took the game to Norries early on and were rewarded when captain Tony Garth won the ball on the edge of the opposing penalty box and, after some quick footwork, rustled free to slot the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

On a less-than-perfect surface the Irish kept the ball moving and worked to keep the pressure on their hosts, but some wasteful attacking play limited their reward to a single goal lead approaching the halfway point.

The half-time break saw the Irish go in with a renewed vigour, though, with Tony Garth having doubled their lead with an excellent free-kick which he put directly into the top right-hand corner of the goal from the edge of the area.

The focus of the Irish play turned to defence in the second period, with a toughness and steel in evidence as they defended their lead. After the Norries striker headed in off the bar on 55 minutes it looked like a nervy end to the game, but the Irish back line held firm and rebuffed a wave of attacks—culminating in a flurry of high balls into the box—to escape from Fife with the victory.

The following matches in the league were less than perfect preparation for their efforts in the cup, and with a postponed match against Motherwell Albion thrown into the mix it was no surprise when Irish—going further into cup competition than the club has ever managed—found themselves in a serious battle against Newarthill.

Going a goal down early on in the match the Irish rallied to level things, but it was not to be their day on this occasion, conceding a further twice after the break to finally bow out of the competition.

Thoughts now turn to league competition, where the Irish hope they can begin to turn around their fortunes and to bring some of the performance against Norries into the next round of fixtures.

On the East Coast, meanwhile, Edinburgh Harps kept the flag flying high as they made the most of the chance to take the field amid cancelled and postponed fixtures by going toe-to-toe with East Linton Amateurs in the cup.
Harps were immediately in a battle as the snow was falling, but the festive setting wasn’t matched by the spirits of East Linton who gave little away in the match.

With snow falling from the first quarter of the match, the referee finally gave in to the elements and called a halt to the game with only 20 minutes remaining. There was frustration on the part of East Linton, who felt they were well in control and heading for a good cup victory, but the relief of Harps comes at the fact that they were trailing 3-1 and now live to fight another day in the competition.