McAuley’s strike sends holders crashing out

Sencer Yilmaz in action for Larne Tech OB in their game with Crumlin Star. INLT 13-047-PSB
Sencer Yilmaz in action for Larne Tech OB in their game with Crumlin Star. INLT 13-047-PSB

Larne Tech Old Boys produced one of the performances of the weekend, taking the 1-0 Clarence Cup scalp of holders Crumlin Star in Saturday’s fourth-round tie.

Manager Johnny Hastings was understandably delighted with thedisplay. “It was absolutely superb from 1 to 14 – up against arguably the best team in the Amateur League,” he said.

It was the Belfast side, though, who had the first real offering after just three minutes but Jackie Wallace made a timely block as Paul Brown raced through on goal.

At the other end, the unmarked Gary Montgomery might have done better than to nod the ball over the bar after Sean Ward had flicked on Sean Cahill’s near-post corner.

The Tech took the lead on 17 minutes when Keelan McAuley intercepted a loose pass, before storming through from his own half of the pitch with his early shot pawed into the net by keeper Thompson.

Star did their best to respond and the Tech lived dangerously when efforts from Brown and Fra Murphy whizzed just wide.

After the break Lee Thompson forced a fine save out of his namesake, the Crumlin custodian. McAuley, too, almost grabbed a second when his looping effort clipped the bar.

Star finished the game with 10 men when skipper Paul McLarnon was dismissed.

The Old Boys face a tough trip to Drumaness Mills in the next round. Next up, it’s back to Dennis Harvey Park for the league visit of Downpatrick.

Larne Tech OB; Wallace – Hyslop, Steele, R Thompson, Campbell – Cahill, McAuley (Monaghan), Montgomery, Ward (Wilkinson) – Yilmaz (Mulvenna), L Thompson.

Also in 1a this weekend, Wellington Rec, UUJ and Barn United, who had no games on Saturday, are back in action.

Graham McConnell’s Wellington really need to win all five remaining games to have any hope of avoiding the drop, even though they’ve just one win in the last 12. They face a tough trip away to fourth-placed Rathfriland Rangers.

UUJ, unbeaten in their last four, entertain Abbey Villa at the Factory Grounds, while Barn are also at home base, with Orangefield Old Boys the visitors.