CHAMPIONSHIP 1: Larne 4 Armagh City 4

Larne skipper Paul Maguire went off injured in the draw with Armagh City.
Larne skipper Paul Maguire went off injured in the draw with Armagh City.

Larne and Armagh City drew 4-4 at Inver Park where the Reds led three times but, in the end, needed a late equaliser from John Donnelly to salvage the point.

The home side started brightly with Donnelly forcing an early save from John Connolly. They opened the scoring on 12 minutes when Stuart McMullan forced home a Gerard Gillan corner. Within two minutes the sides were level. The home defence were stranded as Shea McGerrigan raced clear to drive the ball low past Paddy Flood.

Another two minutes on the clock and another goal as Larne skipper Paul Maguire continued his rich run to hammer the ball home. He almost doubled his tally moments later, but his snap-shot flew inches over the bar.

Poor defending led to the second Armagh goal on 20 minuutes. A corner from the right broke to McGerrigan whose shot was blocked, but Gary Lawless made no mistake with the follow-up. With 32 minutes gone, a superb finish from French striker Guillaume Keke restored the Larne lead.

Yet again City bounced back when Jordan Bell was first to react after Flood had parried Stefan Lavery’s penalty.

The visitors then took the lead for the first time on 68 minutes. A corner from the left side wasn’t dealt with and Lavery provided the finish.

Michael Smith, who again impressed for Davy McAlinden’s side, set up a chance for Keke 15 minutes from time, but his header flew wide of the mark.

However, with nine minutes left, Donnelly picked up the ball and his sublime lob sailed over Connolly into the net.

Larne pushed forward in numbers searching for the winner but they had to settle for a deserved point.

Larne will now be sweating on the fitness of Maguire and Robinson for Tuesday night’s County Antrim Shield semi-final against Ballymena United, after they both went off injured.

Larne: Flood, Bradley, Rodgers, McGrandless, McMullan, Gillan, Donnelly, Maguire (McCabe 51), Keke, Robinson (McGonnell 59). Subs not used: Todd, E.Gillan, McClean.

Armagh City: Connolly, Lawless, McGerrigan, Grimley, Toal, Mallon, Hoey, Bell, Lavery, Donnelly, McGerrigan. Subs: Carvill, Masterson, Walker, McNamee, Keegan.

Referee: N. Robinson (Portadown)

NIFL Championship 1 results

Annagh United 1 - 1 Ballyclare Comrades

Bangor 0 - 3 Lurgan Celtic

Larne 4 - 4 Armagh City

Donegal Celtic 2 - 6 Dergview

Knockbreda 2 - 2 Loughgall