IRISH LEAGUE: Friel’s the hat-trick hero as Ballymena United go third

Cathair Friel and Tony Kane were the main men for Ballymena United. Picture by Peter Morrison/Press Eye
Cathair Friel and Tony Kane were the main men for Ballymena United. Picture by Peter Morrison/Press Eye

Cathair Friel netted a hat-trick to become the Danske Bank Premiership’s top scorer and send Ballymena United up to third as they beat Ards 4-2

Ballymena led 2-0 at the break, their front two proving the difference between two otherwise evenly matched teams.

That man Friel won the penalty for the opener - skipping inside Fra Brennan and getting a trip.

Kane converted and Friel did similar three minutes later - a tap in after superb work from his partner in crime Johnny McMurray.

Ards’ David McAllister made it 2-1 on 49 but just two minutes later, Friel restored the two goal advantage, nodding over Glendinning after a gift from the Ards back line.

Friel doesn’t need asked twice and when he sprung clear of the defence on 84, he rounded the keeper to convert his hat-trick goal.

Even Craig McMillen’s injury time goal couldn’t take the shine off a superb day for Ballymena and talisman Cathair Friel.

ARDS: Hogg, Brennan, Friars, Taylor, Ruddy, McCullough, Tommons, McMillen, McKinney, McAllister, Douglas.

Subs: Cherry (Brennan 46), Liggett (Tommons 71), McMullan, Hall, McComb (McAllister 65).

BALLYMENA: Glendinning, Owens, Flynn, Gage, Wallace, Ervin, Jenkins, Faulkner, Kane, Friel, McMurray.

Subs: Henderson, Kane, Loughran, McAuley, McCracken.