Murray penalty sinks Celtic

Ciaran Murray netted the only goal of the game against Donegal Celtic.
Ciaran Murray netted the only goal of the game against Donegal Celtic.

After one of their worst opening 45 minutes of the season, Larne bounced back to claim all three points against Donegal Celtic.

Ciaran Murray’s penalty, 10 minutes from time, was the only goal of the game and proved to be the winner.

“They (DC) adapted very well to the conditions and they were certainly the better side in the first half,” said Larne boss Davy McAlinden.

“When we adapted to the way we needed to play we were a lot better. We were picking up the second ball which we hadn’t been doing and for the last 40 minutes we were the better side.”

“It was never going to be pretty but once we settled we did well and the three subs all made an impact. Maybe not having a game last week played a part on the way we started. In the end, we got the goal that mattered and I think overall we deserved the win.”

The Reds’ only chance in the opening half fell to Murray but his shot flew over the bar before Dan Smith forced a fine save from John Connolly. Just before the break the home defence failed to clear a corner from the right but fortunately for the home side the visitors couldn’t convert hitting the bar twice.

A minute into the second session Denver Taggart missed the proverbial sitter when he fired Joe Todd’s cross over the top from six yards. This was quickly followed by another let-off for the Larne when Todd’s shot struck the upright.

With 10 minutes left, Murray raced through the Celtic defence where he was upended. The referee opted to book the defender who was the last man before Murray hammered in the spot-kick.

Donegal Celtic finished the game with 10 men after Emmett Templeton picked up a second yellow for a clumsy challenge.

Larne: Connolly, Bradey, Smith, McClean, Reyolds, Scott, King, Stuart (Todd 51), McCabe (G. Gillan 71), Murray, Robinson (E. Gillan 51). Subs not used: Lowry, Stitt.

DC: McAuley, Fox, Wallace, Devine, Templeton, Downey, Taggart, Todd, Murray, Smith, Hughes. Subs: McLaughlin, Dunlop, McConnell, Martin, McErlain.

Referee: D. Hassan (Ballymoney)