A hat-trick from Ciaran Murray helped Larne to a 4-1 win over Armagh City in a game in which the result was never in doubt.
“It was important to get back to winning ways after the disappointing result at Knockbreda and the lay-off, “ said manager Davy McAlinden. “I thought for the first 65 minutes we were outstanding and they couldn’t live with us. If we had scored seven nobody could have argued but we then took our foot off the pedal.
“We are obviously delighted with the three points especially the way we moved the ball about. The movement for our goals was also very pleasing and as the other results today showed anything can happen.”
The Reds started strongly with captain Paul Maguire back in the side but they had to wait 33 minutes for the opener. Gerald Gillan played a great ball up the park to Murray who outmuscled Ryan McGerrigan to fire the ball home.
Stuart King doubled the lead six minutes later with a cool finish.
The goal of the game came on the stroke of half time when Murray thundered in an unstoppable shot from Stuart Scott’s cross.
Murray completed the hat-trick two minutes after the restart. Fine build-up play saw Gillan deliver an inch-perfect pass for Murray to hammer a shot past Sean Morgan.
The gloss was slightly taken off the result when Liam Cullen got in behind the home defence to guide the ball past John Connolly.
Larne: Connolly, Scott (Todd 63), Bradley, McClean, Reynolds, McMullan (Robinson 82), King (McGoran 70), E. Gillan, Maguire, Murray, G. Gillan. Subs not used: McCabe, Heggarty
Armagh: Morgan, Montgomery, McGerrigan, Lennon, Grimley, Mallon, Cullen, Havern, Boyle, Donnelly, Hoey. Subs: Moore, McQuade, McNamee.
Referee: S. Gregg (Ballyclare)
Championship 1 results (March 14)
Ards 3 - 2 Carrick Rangers
Ballyclare Comrades 3 - 0 HW Welders
Donegal Celtic 1 - 1 Dundela
Knockbreda 0 - 2 Lisburn Distillery
Larne 4 - 1 Armagh City
Loughgall 2 - 1 Dergview
PSNI 2 - 1 Bangor