IT was Islandmagee who claimed the local bragging rights, with a 2-1 extra-time victory over Larne Tech Old Boys in Saturday’s Irish Cup tie at Dennis Harvey Park.
For the Tech, it’s six defeats out of seven this season, with their only victory coming in the Steel and Sons Cup over FC Ballynure.
Joint-manager Stuart Pike (inset) reflected: “I know it was only the Irish Cup, but our wee run in the competition last year did us no harm, and it could have maybe kick-started our league form.
“We could have won it, but I’m not sure we deserved it. Island wanted it more than us and in the first half, we could have been five down; we could hardly string two passes together whereas they seemed to have extra men all over the park! Maybe we could do with getting a couple of new faces in, maybe just to freshen things up, for its just not happening for us at the minute.”
While the tie ended 10-a-side, there could have been so many other early departures, with Colin Rainey at least trying to keep as many players as possible on the pitch in what was a typical argy-bargy derby.
The Wilbourne Park men really ought to have been comfortably in front before finally making their mark through an Ian McGrath free-kick.
Larne Tech came more into the picture in the second session, levelling matters when Damien McLaughlin nodded in Andy Waide’s inch-perfect cross.
It all seemed to be set up nicely for the Antiville outfit when Island’s McGrath went from hero to zero - red-carded for a bad challenge on Darren McNeill.
Yet, up against 10 men, the Tech seemed to lose their way, and it was Islandmagee who came closest to winning it in normal time.
And so into extra-time, where Island did regain their advantage through Jordan Rainey, with the Tech also losing their numerical advantage before the end when Mr Rainey’s patience finally ran out with the tough-tackling Martin Steele, brandishing the Old Boys defender a second yellow card.
On Saturday, it’s the Steel and Sons Cup where the visitors to Dennis Harvey Park are Saintfield United, shock conquerors of Barn United in the last round. Islandmagee travel to Dixon Park to take on Carrick Rangers.
Larne Tech OB: Smyth – Steele, Black, Curneen, Hunter (McNeill)– Fulton, Loughins (Thompson), Barkley, Waide – McLaughlin (McCann), Bell.