Jun 8 2012 by Stuart Wilson, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
Auchinleck Talbot 5
DELIGHTED Tommy Sloan praised his Talbot troops as they bounced back from cup final heartache.
Auchinleck enjoyed a 5-1 romp over 10-man Troon as they lifted the Ayrshire Weekly Press Trophy.
And Tucker was over the moon at his team’s quick response to their defeat in the national final.
Sloan said: “Losing last week in the Scottish was a big blow but we dusted ourselves down and got on with the job in hand.
“To respond with two emphatic 5-1 victories against Irvine Meadow in the semi final and then in the final, too, was fantastic but that’s the way we are here.
“We are obviously delighted to win the cup again and the lads’ performance was excellent”.
Sloan reserved some special praise for hat-trick hero Gordon Pope, who had played for 30 minutes as a GOALKEEPER in the semi-final against Meadow.
Sloan revealed: “Gordon had to go in nets against the Meadow, but to be honest at that stage of the game he didn’t have many saves to make.
“On Saturday he was great and he has been all season for us so I was happy to see him get his hat-trick.”
The game couldn’t have started in worse fashion for hosts Troon at Portland Park when ex-Ayr United man Dean Keenan was sent off after six minutes for a hotly-disputed stamp on Talbot’s Kieran Paterson.
Jimmy Kirkwood’s men held out for a further 35 minutes before Pope grabbed the first of a penalty double before further strikes early in the second half from Keir Milliken and Mick McCann put the game out of Troon’s reach.
Stevie Wilson pulled one back for Troon with a superb strike but Pope’s late solo effort put the icing on the cake for Talbot, who added this cup to their earlier win this season in the Ardagh League Cup.
Troon General Manager, John Redmond, was left to rue what might have been as the Portland Park men simply couldn’t cope with being a man down.
He confessed: “It was disappointing to lose a man so early on as it’s hard enough playing against the Talbot with eleven men.
“Dean’s an experienced player and I was surprised he did that and with the referee only being five yards away, there can’t be much complaints about the red card.
“But Stevie Wilson arguably scored the goal of the game with a fantastic 25 yard strike and the boys can still be proud of the way the fought.
“We’ll now look to next season and hopefully build on this season’s work where we were unlucky to miss out on promotion by two points.
“Most of the players have re-signed and we’re also looking to strengthen in a couple of areas.”