Institute deservedly booked their place in the Intermediate Cup final, as Stephen O’Donnell’s extra-time header was enough to see off a battling Ballyclare Comrades side.
O’Donnell, who has scored a host of big goals for the Waterside men this season, produced a man of the match display, which was capped off with his bullet header in extra-time.
Just after the half-hour mark a super flowing move ended with Robbie Hume’s teasing left-wing centre finding McMenamin at the near post, but the striker failed to hit the target.
The lively Brown broke the Stute offside trap, but the alert Gallagher raced off his line to clear the danger.
Another slick passing move ended with McMenamin’s clever back flick finding Shane McGinty inside the box, but the midfielder’s close range shot was deflected wide by a super last ditch block by Adam McCart.
Kevin Deery’s side were playing some neat and tidy football and another passing move on 49 minutes ended with McGinty firing wide from 20 yards.
Four minutes later Brown missed a glorious chance when he raced clear into the box, but with only Gallagher to beat, his two close range strikes were superbly kept out by the Stute net-minder.
Just after the hour mark a super Sean Roddy delivery from the right found Mark Scoltock, but the big defender headed wide from 10 yards.
A minute later Jamie McIntyre had a great chance but he failed to test McKnight and blasted over.
Comrades were rightfully reduced to nine men on 83 minutes when Brown, who was already cautioned, fouled Stute substitute Alex Pomeroy and like McClurg he was sent-off by referee Jamie Robinson.
Despite having a two man advantage for the final seven minutes, Stute were unable to get the crucial opening goal and the tie went to extra-time.
Early in extra-time Hume went close to finally breaking the deadlock, but his close range strike was superbly kept out by McKnight.
The winning goal came on 102 minutes when Roddy’s right wing centre found O’Donnell and his powerful header from 10 yards found the net, despite McKnight’s best attempts.
Institute: Gallagher, Roddy, O’Donnell, Scoltock, Hume; A Harkin, C Harkin, McGinty; McIntyre (Jarvis 87), McMenamin (Pomeroy 67), Brown (Mills 81).
Ballyclare Comrades: McKnight, Woods, Shannon, McClurg, McCart, McQuitty, O’Hanlon, Dobbin, Trussell, Brown, Haskins (Simpson 81).
Referee: Mr Jamie Robinson