NI League Cup: Carrick upset Glenavon in semi-final

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League Cup: Carrick players absolutely magnificent - Callaghan

Carrick Rangers defied the odds to reach the final of the Northern Ireland League Cup thanks to a surprise 1-0 win at Glenavon.

Tiernan McNicholl struck the deciding goal from an acute angle in the 80th minute for Rangers who are one from bottom in the Irish Premiership.

He beat three defenders before firing a shot past keeper James Taylor.

Glenavon had been favourites to progress to the 18 February final but they failed to find a way through.

The home side's closest effort was a James Singleton header just in front of the far post with Carrick keeper Brian Neeson making a great save to tip it over the crossbar .

After going behind, Glenavon threw on substitutes Ciaran Martyn, Declan O'Brien and Greg Moohouse but the Lurgan men could not find an equaliser.

Carrick will play Ballymena United who beat Coleraine 3-0 after extra time.

Carrick are into a major cup final just two months after Aaron Callaghan succeeded Kieran Harding as manager
Carrick are into a major cup final just two months after Aaron Callaghan succeeded Kieran Harding as manager

What they said

Carrick Rangers manager Aaron Callaghan: "The players were absolutely magnificent and I'm very proud as manager.

"We have been training and playing well, and are competing against teams.

"This is a bonus because we have to concentrate on improving our league position."

Carrick scorer Tiernan McNicholl: "Words cannot describe how I feel, it is amazing and everyone is buzzing in the changing room.

"I picked the ball up in our own half and dribbled it. I got a bit of luck in beating the last man, but once I did there was no doubt I was going to finish it.

"I went straight to the fans because it means everything to them."

Carrick are celebrating an appearance in a major cup final
Carrick are celebrating an appearance in a major cup final