SML round-up: Emmanuel proves Ace in the pack for Thistle

John Stewart, vice-chairman of the BSML, presents the Ace Cup to Ahoghill Thistle captain Jason Stewart, after their 1-0 win over Harryville Homers. INBT21-239AC
John Stewart, vice-chairman of the BSML, presents the Ace Cup to Ahoghill Thistle captain Jason Stewart, after their 1-0 win over Harryville Homers. INBT21-239AC

Ahoghill Thistle claimed their second trophy of the firmus energy Ballymena Saturday Morning League season on Friday night.

Stewart McDonald’s side followed up their Top Four trophy success earlier in the campaign by beating Harryville Homers in the Ace Cup final at Connor.

Celebrations from Ahoghill Thistle after beating Harryville Homers 1-0 to win the Ace Cup. INBT21-240AC

Celebrations from Ahoghill Thistle after beating Harryville Homers 1-0 to win the Ace Cup. INBT21-240AC

When the sides had met 72 hours earlier in their potential league title decider, Homers had cantered to a crushing 5-1 victory but this time, a single goal from Emmanuel Okai-Kwai was enough to settle the tie in Thistle’s favour

ACE CUP FINAL

Ahoghill Thistle 1, Harryville Homers 0: The first half saw both defeces well on top. David Tennant and Matt Boyd had half chances to score but their goal bound efforts were easily fielded by Homers keeper Ryan Martin. David Nicholl came close for Homers with a free kick.

Thistle had a great chance to open the scoring 2 minutes into the second half when David Tennant broke away from the Homers defence and played in Emmanuel Okai-Kwai who when wel placed fired wide.

Ahoghill Thistle player Emmenuel Okaikwai-Armah who scored the only goal in the Ace Cup final with Harryville Homers. INBT21-241AC

Ahoghill Thistle player Emmenuel Okaikwai-Armah who scored the only goal in the Ace Cup final with Harryville Homers. INBT21-241AC

Thistle were making good in roads into the Homers defence and Alan Moore set up the unmarked Matt Boyd but again his shot went wide with only the Homers keeper to be beaten.Both keepers were then called into action first was Sean Ward who pulled off a good save from Homers Jasin Magill but Ryan Martin had to bring off a great save from Thistle’s Jason Stewart who felt his shot had found the net.

The opening goal came on 80 minutes when good work by Thistle’s Matt Boyd created an opening for Emmanuel Okai-Kwai and this time he controlled the ball and fired low into the net to put Ahoghill Thistle one up.

In the dying minutes Homers Captain Garry Bonnes worked an opening at the edge of the penalty area and unleashed a great shot which Thistle keeper Sean Ward fingered around the post and any hope of Holders Homers taking the game into extra time were gone.

After the Final whistle John Stewart BSML Vice Chairman on behalf of sponsors Ace Fixings Ballymena handed over the Ace Cup to Ahoghill Thistle’s Captain Jason Stewart.

Ahoghill Thistle: Sean Ward, Rodney McKay, David Calderwood, Gareth Dickey, David Campbell, Jason Stewart, Alan Moore, Ryan Sands, David Tennant, Matthew Boyd, Emmanuel Okai-Kwai. Substitutes: Gary Tennant, Andrew McClenaghan, Jordan McCullagh, Jason Armah and David Drummond.

Harryville Homers: Ryan Martin, Ricky Forsythe, Marcus Spratt, Ian Russell, Jason McKay, Ricky Nicholl, Mark McKay, Gary Bonnes, Alan Rainey, Jasin Magill, David Nicholl. Substitutes: Paul McNeill, Jason Ritchie, Jordy Craig, Jason Logan and Gary Baird.

Referee: Mr Wayne Lewis. Assistant Referees: Mr Brian Patterson and Mr Lindsay McConnell.

FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION ONE

Harryville Homers 5, Ahoghill Thistle 1: A brace apiece from David Nicholl and Gary Bonnes, helped Homers to a convincing win over title rivals Thistle and edges them closer to a third successive title.

Thistle took the lead after only five minutes when David Drummond brilliantly smashed a free kick into the top corner of the net from 35 yards out.

But after weathering some more Thiste pressure, Homers hit back and Nicholl and Bonnes both scored twice before Paul Mcneill completed the rout.

After this convincing win, Homers now require two points from their final two games away to All Saints OB and Connor to clinch the title, while Thistle will be hoping these two sides can cause an upset in order for them to be crowned Champions.

PADDY DUNLOP CUP SEMI-FINAL

Woodside 2, Rectory Rovers 1: Early pressure from Rovers paid off on 17 minutes when they took the lead. Christopher Brady and Ryan Quinn combined to set Ryan McCartney free down the left and he squared for Gerard Sloan to fire home from close range.

Rovers then almost doubled their lead when a brilliant dipping effort from Diarmuid McNally smashed against the crossbar.

After this Woodside took control with Trevor McAuley firing wide before they drew level 12 minutes before the break. Kristopher Steele and Gary Freeburn combined well to set Paul Coughlin clear and he smashed the ball past Ciaran Cassley in the Rovers goal.

Neil Davison the smashed a great effort against the crossbar for Woodside and six minutes before the break Woodside had completed the turnaround when they made it 2-1.

Paul Coughlin broke down the right and pulled the ball across the box for the inrushing Paul Dunlop to fire home what proved to be the winner.

In the other semi final Cushendall and Templepatrick played out an enthralling 4-4 draw after extra time and in the penalty shootout Cushendall overcame Templepatrick 4-3 to send them into the final and give them a shot at promotion back to Division Two.

The Final is on Saturday 23th May at Ballymena Showgrounds 10.15 KO.

LEIGHINMOHR HOUSE HOTEL CUP

Riverdale 2, Seven Towers 0 (AET): After the game had finished scoreless after 90 minutes, Riverdale got the break through when Dean Wright raced clear to fire home with 3 minutes left of the first period.

Five minutes from full time clinched their place in the Final when Towers keeper Mark Wilson failed to hold a cross and Dean Wright broke through before playing in Colin Moore for a simple tap in.

The Leighinmohr House Hotel Cup Final BSML Division Two Play Off Final Galgorm Blues v Riverdale will be on Friday 22nd May at Ballykeel with a 7pm KO.

LEAGUE MEETING

The next BSML Meeting is on Monday 25th May @ Michelin 9pm start.

All teams MUST be in attendance as Registration Forms for next season, Dinner Tickets must be paid for and Player of The Year Voting slips must be returned.

OTHER RESULTS

Rainey Cup quarter-final: Clough Rangers 8, Connor 0

FIXTURES

Tuesday, May 19 (7pm) - Rainey Cup semi-final: Harryville Homers v Carniny Rangers (Wakehurst 1)

Thursday, May 21 (7pm) - firmus energy Division One: All Saints OB v Harryville Homers (Showgrounds 5).

Friday, May 22 (7pm) - Leighinmohr House Hotel Cup Final (Division 2 Playoff): Galgorm Blues v Riverdale (Ballykeel).

Saturday, May 23 (10.15am) - Paddy Dunlop Cup final (Division 3 play-off): Cushendall v Woodside (Showgrounds 4)

firmus energy Division One: Connor v Harryville Homers (Connor).