Ballymena and Provincial League weekly round-up

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With Ballynure Old Boys’ match against Brantwood falling foul of the weather, Rathcoole FC took centre-stage as East Antrim’s sole representative in the Intermediate Division.

They welcomed Magherafelt Sky Blues to The Diamond and the visitors wasted little time in making an impact.

As early as the 17th minute, the County Londonderry outfit forged ahead when Emmet McGuckin found the net. The Sky Blues then had a great chance to double their advantage from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute, but were denied by Rathcoole keeper Kyle Agnew who pulled off a superb save.

The visitors had another couple of good chances to score before Rathcoole got back on level terms with Darren Cosbie scoring right on the stroke of half-time. The second session saw both teams go for the all-important winner and it was the home side who banked the three points thanks to Jordan Armstrong’s 65th-minute strike.

Crawford Cup Round Two: Carrick-based Woodlands didn’t mess about as they thumped Cookstown Olympic 5-0. Ross Oliver picked up where he left off in last week’s barn-storming win over Desertmartin. Oliver rattled in four in that one and within 22 minutes against Cookstown he had netted twice to put the men in blue and yellow firmly in the driving seat.

Alex Haggan landed number three from the penalty spot and two more scored by Thomas Ogilvie and Paul Addis oin the 78th and 84th minutes wrapped up another big victory.

Junior Division One: A last-minute penalty saw Antrim Rovers edge past a plucky FC Whiteabbey outfit with a 3-2 win.

All the goals came in the second half as Whiteabbey’s Conor Mullen cancelled out Darryl Brammeld’s opener. With 15 minutes left, the Whites took the lead through Matthew Cousins but Darren Adair struck an 80th-minute leveller beforte Jonny Rogers converted a late spot-kick to steal the three points.

It was a day to forget for Carnmoney FC as they were hammered 8-0 by a free-scoring Mallusk Athletic. Goals from Dean Millar (two), Gerard O’Neill, Aodhan McKeating and Henry Edgar put Mallusk five up at the break. O’Neill scored twice in the second half to complete his hat-trick before Michael Frew wrapped things up in the 78th minute.

Junior Division Two: Larne Olympic had to settle for a share of the spoils at Cookstown Youth as the sides drew 1-1.

In a game of limited chances, Keith Hall put the Olympic one up on 31 minutes but the home side levelled matters after the break when Kiefer Scott found the net with a sweetly-struck free-kick. Robert Watson’s 85th-minute strike was the difference as Ballynure Old Boys B edged to a 3-2 win over Wakehurst Strollers.

Watson put Ballynure in front from the spot before John Alexander equalised for the Strollers.

Jonny Kane restored Ballynure’s lead at the break but Wakehurst got back on level terms after Adam Singleton equalised in the 65th minute. The Ballymena side looked like they had done enough for a point, but Watson made no mistake from the spot late on for his second of the afternoon.

Junior Division Three: Carrick Thistle fought back from a goal down to win 3-1 at home to Hillhead Eagles. Lee Crockett, Rowan McCormick and Ryan Clokey were on the scoresheet for Thistle.

Castle Star blazed to a 10-2 win over neighbours Red Star. Michael Dallas (three), Lloyd Watters (two), Alan Robb, Dean Meneely, Matthew McFall (two) and Andy Hall scored for Castle. Richie McNally and Glenn Heron landed Red Star’s consolation strikes.

Whitehead Rangers eased to a 7-2 win over Brantwood-Loughside. Phil Hall (two), Michael Brown, Noel O’Connor, an own goal, Stuart Thompson, Danny Hastings accounted for Rangers’ goals.

Canada Trophy: Goals from Ian Boyd, Sammy Duff (three), Marc Campbell (two) gave 3rd Ballyclare Old Boys a straightforward 6-1 success at Cookstown RBL.