Last year’s beaten finalists Bellurgan United got their Tully Bookmakers Challenge Cup campaign off to the best start with a 3-0 win over First Division side Slane Wanderers at Tom Flynn Park.
The home side began in determined mood and on five minutes, the Slane goalkeeper made a stunning save from Ciaran Sheelan’s header after a terrific cross from Owen Traynor.
The Slane goalkeeper was again called into action again minutes later when Darryn Gaynor played Traynor in but he was denied by another stunning point blank save.
Alex Bothwell’s continued to call the shots and on 20 minutes his side made the breakthrough when Shane Finnegan struck an angled drive from the edge of the penalty area.
The overworked Slane goalkeeper managed to clear the ball outside his penalty area where teenager Finnegan was lurking with intent and his sweet drive from 25-yards flew into the net.
Bellurgan maintained the pressure and they doubled their advantage when Gaynor powered the ball across the face of the Slane goals and the inrushing Traynor was left unmarked as he tapped him from inside the six yard box.
Disaster struck the visitors midway through the second-half when they had a player red carded in an off the ball incident which was totally at odds with the spirit in which the game was being played.
With 15 minutes left to play Bellurgan put the icing on the cake when they guaranteed their place in the second round and again Gaynor was involved. Having beaten his marker close to the end line, he delivered a perfectly weighted ball to Keith Finnegan and his solid header powered past the goalkeeper.
Having left the visitors with no way back, the home side comfortably saw out the game as they moved decisively into the next round.