Maguire nets hat-trick in win over Armagh

Larne manager David McAlinden believes his players are beginning to gel.
Larne manager David McAlinden believes his players are beginning to gel.

A Paul Maguire hat-trick helped Larne to a comfortable 4-2 win at Armagh City on Saturday.

The scoreline, however, flattered the home side who grabbed both their goals in the final five minutes.

For Larne manager Davy McAlinden it was almost the perfect performance. “Apart from the last five minutes I thought we were outstanding and it is our best performance since I have come to the club.

“We brought a lot of players in and they are certainly starting to gel and to understand what we want from them, it has been a difficult few weeks but they have responded very well.

“Even at 1-0, I thought we were in control and I knew the goals would come. The front two are building up a great relationship and they are a real handful for defences. We dominated all areas and it was good to see.”

Maguire was denied the opener on 15 minutes when his header rebounded off both posts, but he made sure 10 minutes later. A Ciaran Murray delivery was met with a glancing header which was adjudged to have crossed the line despite the protests of the home side.

Larne continued to dominate but couldn’t find a second goal until 22 minutes after the break when Murray slipped the ball to Ross Davison and he picked out Maguire who found the net.

Maguire completed his treble on 67 minutes with the goal of the game. A quick interchange with Gerard Gillan split the home defence allowing Maguire to take a touch and pick his spot leaving the keeper stranded.

Gillan added Larne’s fourth from a Davison corner.

Armagh, who hadn’t been at the races, pulled one back when Shay McGerrigan fired a shot inside the near post.

As the seconds ticked away, Paul Carville added a second for Armagh with a sweetly-struck free-kick.

Larne: Connolly, Todd (Scott 72), Davison, McClean, Reynolds, McMullen, Irvine, King (G.Gillan 57), E.Gillan, Maguire (McCabe 80), Murray. Subs not used: Smith, Thompson.