SML round-up: Late goals earn George McAuley Cup success for Michelin

Michelin celebrate their 2-0 win over Ahoghill Rovers in Friday evening's George McAuley Cup final in Kells. See page 45 for the latest news from the Ballymena Saturday Morning League. INBT 20-171CS
Michelin celebrate their 2-0 win over Ahoghill Rovers in Friday evening's George McAuley Cup final in Kells. See page 45 for the latest news from the Ballymena Saturday Morning League. INBT 20-171CS

Two late Michelin goals saw them lift the George McAuley Cup for the third time with a 2-0 win over Ahoghill Rovers in Friday night’s final.

This game was always going to be a tight affair with very little separating the sides in the two league games and also only a point between them in the table.

Michelin players congratulate team mate Curtis Nicholl (front) after he scored his team's second goal in their 2-0 win over Ahoghill Rovers in Friday evening's final of the George McAuley Cup final in Kells. INBT 20-173CS

Michelin players congratulate team mate Curtis Nicholl (front) after he scored his team's second goal in their 2-0 win over Ahoghill Rovers in Friday evening's final of the George McAuley Cup final in Kells. INBT 20-173CS

It was Michelin who settled best in the game and went close early on when Paul O’Neill latched onto a Rovers error at the back but with only Aaron Fulton to beat he pulled his shot wide.

With the game confined to a midfield battle neither side were able to get their foot on the ball with a set piece looking the most likely way of a goal coming and Colin Corry whipped a corner in from the right and the ball was half cleared to Derek Montgomery who back pedalling knocked the ball towards goal but his effort clipped the bar and went over as the half finished in stalemate.

The decisive moment came nine minutes from time and it came for Michelin.

Mark McAllister clipped a free kick from the left into the box which Gareth Hill challenged for and the ball broke to Derek Montgomery, but his shot which was heading for the top corner was handled by a Rovers defender and the penalty kick was awarded.

Paul O'Neill (right) is congratulated by Michelin team mate Curtis Nicholl after scoring his team's opening goal from the penalty spot in their 2-0 win over Ahoghill Rovers in Friday evening's final of the George McAuley Cup final in Kells. INBT 20-175CS

Paul O'Neill (right) is congratulated by Michelin team mate Curtis Nicholl after scoring his team's opening goal from the penalty spot in their 2-0 win over Ahoghill Rovers in Friday evening's final of the George McAuley Cup final in Kells. INBT 20-175CS

After the referee gave the Rovers player his marching orders, Paul O’Neill stepped up and placed the ball into the top corner of the net to give his side a lead.

Michelin sealed the victory in the dying minute of stoppage time when Derek Montgomery rode two tackles down the right before coolly picking out Curtis Nicholl who controlled and slotted home to give Michelin the victory.

After the final whistle Bertie and Alex McAuley brothers of the late George McAuley handed the Cup over to the winning Michelin Captain Gareth Hill and the celebrations began.

Ahoghill Rovers: Aaron Fulton, Mark Taggart, Chris Duff, Lee Megaw, Ryan Morrow, Ryan Cameron, Phil Aicken, Jonny McCormick, David Chesney, David Murray, Alan Jones. Subs: John McKeown, Lloyd Young, Lewis Neill, Chris Rock and Phil Cromie.

Bertie McAuley presents the George McAuley Memorial Cup to Michelin captain Gareth Hill while looking on are Alex McAuley (right) and Bradley McAuley. INBT 20-172CS

Bertie McAuley presents the George McAuley Memorial Cup to Michelin captain Gareth Hill while looking on are Alex McAuley (right) and Bradley McAuley. INBT 20-172CS

Michelin: Mark McFerran, Neil Tully, Sammy McCullough, Geoff Tweed, Gareth Hill, Tommy McCullough, Brendan McMullan, Derek Montgomery, Gerard Spurgeon, Colin Corry. Subs: Curtis Nicholl, Joey Patton, Leroy Kennedy, Mark McAllister and David Fusco.

FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION ONE

All Saints OB 1, Harryville Homers 3: Homers turned in an impressive first half display which was enough for them to claim all three points and keep them on course for a fourth successive league title.

It took Homers only five minutes to open the scoring when Jason Logan dispossessed a Saints defender wide on the left and played the ball into David Nicholl who rolled his marker before planting the ball in the corner of the net giving Brian Martin in the Saints goal no chance.

Seven minutes later Homers doubled their lead.

Alan Rainey picked the ball up deep on the right and he played a great long ball into the path of Jason Logan who controlled brilliantly before curling the ball left footed into the corner of the net.

Homers were rampant now and made it 3-0 on the half hour mark.

David Nicholl wriggled free and slipped in Alan Rainey who beat the offside trap to slot the ball home.

In the second half, Saints looked like they had got a goal back just before the hour mark when Noel Crossey rose highest and headed a Barry Hamill corner goal ward but his effort was handled on the line by a Homers defender and the penalty was awarded.

After some argument the Homers player was dismissed, but Alan Telford dragged his penalty wide of the post as the score remained 3-0.

Saints got a goal back with 17 minutes to play with their best piece of football in the game. Joe Scullion held the ball up well and laid it off to Peter McReynolds who drove forward and slipped in Ryan Wilkinson and he found the net with a brilliant curling shot in off the post.

Carniny Rangers 1, Ahoghill Thistle 2: Ryan Sands, Thistle’s in-form man, opened the scoring in the 15th minute picking up the ball on the right and showing great composure to beat Macauley Cairns and put his side ahead.

In the 57th minute the home side drew leel after they were awarded a free kick twenty yards from goal.

Zach Barr stepped up to strike a marvellous effort giving Stephen Watson no chance in the Thistle goal.

Thistle began to get on top and substitute Matthew Boyd then showed his class with 20 minutes to play when he turned his marker and shot for goal from 10 yards out to give his team a vital win in their pursuit of a first ever league title.

OTHER RESULTS

firmus energy BSML Division One: Abbeyview 1 Harryville Homers 4

Ace Cup Semi Finals: All Saints OB 3 Newpark Olympic 0; Ahoghill Thistle 2 Carniny Rangers 0

firmus energy BSML Division Two: Michelin 4 Carnlough Swifts 0

Paddy Dunlop Cup Division Three Playoff Semi Finals: Southside Rangers 6 Ruby’s Rovers 3; Carniny Amateurs & Youth 1 Braid United 2.

Montgomery Cup - Group A: Templepatrick 0 St Comgalls 2; Southside Rangers 6 Braid United 1; Steadfast 1 A Cullybackey Olympic 2; Templepatrick 2 Southside Rangers 3.

Montgomery Cup - Group B: Carniny Amateurs & Youth 5 Ruby’s Rovers 2; Wakehurst Star 1 Atletico Antrim 3; Carniny Amateurs & Youth 3 Wakehurst Star 0.

FIXTURES

Tuesday, May 17 (7pm) - firmus energy Division One: Harryville Homers v Raceview (Wakehurst 2); Glenravel v Carniny Rangers (Cargan).

Wendesday, May 18 (7pm) - Montgomery Cup Group A: St Comgalls v Cullybackey Olympic.

Thursday, May 19 (7pm) - firmus energy Division One: Harryville Homers v Ahoghill Thistle (Wakehurst 2).

Paddy Dunlop (Division Three Playoffs) Final: Braid United v Southside Rangers (Ballykeel).

Montgomery Cup - Group B: Northend & District v Atletico Antrim (Dunfane).

Saturday, May 21 (12.30pm): Ace Cup Final: All Saints OB v Ahoghill Thistle (Connor).

firmus energy Division One (10.15am): Harryville Homers v Clough Rangers (Wakehurst 2).

Leighinmohr House Hotel (Division Two Playoff) Cup Semi Finals: Ahoghill Rovers/Michelin v Cushendall (Ahoghill/Michelin); Seven Towers v FC Penarol (Showgrounds 4).

Montgomery Cup Group A: Steadfast v St Comgalls (Galgorm); Cullybackey Olympic v Southside Rangers (Tober Park).

Montgomery Cup Group B: Wakehurst Star v Northend & District (Dunfane); Atletico Antrim v Ruby’s Rovers (Forum).