Ballynure battle back for a well-deserved point in Dunloy

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Two Mark Leckey penalties and a Ricky Higgins strike earned Ballynure Old Boys a 3-3 draw in Dunloy.

Twice the north Antrim side were two up, but Gary Burns’ lads stormed back in the second half to salvage a point.

With regular keeper Paul Hughes out injured, Ryan Stewart donned the gloves, pulled off two smart saves early on. At the opposite end, Andy Forsythe had the ball in the net but an offence had been spotted.

Two goals in the space of 10 minutes put Dunloyn in the driving seat superiority, but on the half hour Leckey opened Nure’s account with a ‘wrong way’ penalty after Ricky Higgins had been fouled.

The hosts restored their two-goal advantage against the run of play from a free-kick on the hour.

But straight from the restart Ricky Higgins cancelled that one out with a header which nestled in the bottom corner.

Burns introduced all three substitutes for the final fifteen minutes - Josh McIlroy, Robert Watson and Johnny Robinson – and opted for a 3-5-2 formation.

The tactical change bore fruit five minutes from time, when Paul Leckey converted his second penalty following a hand ball.

There was an unsavoury end to the contest when the dismissal of the home keeper and Ricky Higgins prompted a fracas.

“There was scarcely an over robust tackle in the game, so the melee at the end was completely unexpected,” said Burns. “In the end we were glad to get a draw against a team that has recently beaten title challengers Desertmartin and Newtowne. The return of GAA players has strengthened Dunloy in recent weeks and they will now pose a serious challenge for the remainder of the season.

Ballynure OB: R Stewart; Penny, M Leckey, Forsythe, M Curlett; R McFall, Duff (C), D Leckey, McIntyre; R Higgins, D Higgins. Subs: McIlroy, Robinson, Todd, Watson.