EAMON McGrath helped himself to a stunning hat-trick as Ardstraw came from 2-1 down to run out comfortable winners against their Mid Ulster opponents in the first round of the Irish Cup.
McGrath opened the scoring following a good break on the left and a dominant early spell by the visitors however Ardstraw lost their way for a period during which Ambassadors netted twice in quick succession to seize the initiative.
Ardstraw though were back in business on the stroke of half-time when Sammy McKelvey found the keeper’s top right hand corner with a spectacular free kick.
That proved the turning point and the Tyrone visitors duly kicked on.
McGrath slotted home in similar fashion to his first before Lee McCullagh scampered forward and cut in from the left to fire across the Ambassadors net-minder to make it 4-2.
Safe passage to the second round was then sealed when McCullagh was brought down in the area and McGrath converted the spot-kick to take home the match ball.
Ardstraw’s assistant manager Stephen Campbell said it was a much improved performance by his team.
“We started very well, then lost out way for a period, before recovering to secure a well deserved win,” he said.
“Overall it was a good improvement and it’s good to be in the next round. A big shout out to the younger lads who all did well.”
In this week’s second round draw the north Tyrone were rewarded with a trip to Greenisland while neighbours Strabane Athletic were drawn at home to Holywood.
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