SML round-up: Riverdale, Cushendall promoted via play-offs

Riverdale and Cushendall can look forward to playing in a higher division in next season’s firmus energy Ballymena Saturday Morning League.

The two clubs won play-offs at the weekend to clinch places in Division One and Division Two respectively.

Celebrations from Cushendall after winning the Paddy Dunlop Cup for the Third Division play off. INBT22-277AC

Celebrations from Cushendall after winning the Paddy Dunlop Cup for the Third Division play off. INBT22-277AC

Earlier in the week, Harryville Homers claimed the Division One title with a dramatic win over All Saints Old Boys.

FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION ONE

All Saints OB 2, Harryville Homers 3: Two goals in injury time for Homers sealed a third successive BSML Division One title and in doing so prevented Saints from finishing in the Top Four.

Saints took the lead on six minutes when Ciaran McGarry threw the ball in to Stephen Sexton and he laid the ball into the path of Gavin Burnside to poke the ball past Ryan Martin in the Homers goal.

On 13 minutes Homers drew level. Ryan Stewart swung over a corner from the right and found Ricky Nicholl unmarked; he made no mistake planting his header into the corner of the net.

Midway through the half Saints went in front once again. Barry Hamill’s left wing cross was flicked on at the near post by Philip Lynn for Gavin Burnside to nod the ball home from close range.

Saints were dealt a major blow 12 minutes from the end when they had a man sent off for a dangerous tackle. Just as it looked as though Saints were going to hold out, Homers’ Ian Russell was pushed over in the box and a penalty was awarded. David Nicholl smashed the ball into the corner of the net giving Brian Martin no chance.

Straight from the kick off Homers dispossessed Saints and drove forward with Alan Rainey down the right, he pulled the ball back across the box for Gary Baird who bundled the ball over the line to make it 3-2 for Homers and win them the league title.

After the final whistle David Fusco of firmus energy presented the BSML Division One league trophy to Harryville Homers Captain Gary Bonnes and the celebrations began.

LEIGHINMOHR HOUSE HOTEL CUP

Galgorm Blues 3, Riverdale 4: Riverdale staged a magnificent comeback to seal promotion to Division One for the first time in their history.

The Blues got off to a dream start in only 28 seconds when Lee McCaughern played Derek Montgomery through and he coolly slotted past Chris Fullerton in the Riverdale goal.

Fifteen minutes later Blues went 2-0 up again it was Montgomery who found the net, this time assisted by Andrew Courtney.

Riverdale got themselves back into the match when Neil Weir fired an unstoppable drive into the bottom corner from 30 yards.

The goal spurred Riverdale on and they drew level when a Colin Moore sent over a free kick which was flicked on by Robert Crawford for Weir to nip in and head home his second.

Six minutes later Riverdale took the lead. Martin Young swung in a corner from the left and found Robert Crawford who headed back across goal for Colin Moore to bundle the ball home.

Riverdale scored on the break when Dean Wright cut in from the right, came across goal before placing the ball in the bottom corner of the net from six yards out.

Derek Montgomery set up a grandstand finish as he raced through to complete his hat trick, but it proved too little to late as Riverdale held on to win the cup and seal promotion.

After the final whistle Brian Montgomery on behalf of sponsors Leighinmohr House Hotel handed the cup over to winning Riverdale Captain Colin Moore.

Galgorm Blues: Andrew Steele, Ryan Crawford, Craig McCaughern, Michael Montgomery, Graham Murray, Jake Armstrong, Andy Courtney, Derek Montgomery, Johnny Richmond, Lee McCaughern, Stephen Steele. Subs: David Meeke, Gordon Mairs, Jayden McLaughlin, DD Woodburn and Lewis Neill.

Riverdale: Chris Fullerton, Ryan Russell, Ricky Stewart, Neil Weir, Robert Crawford, Martin Young, Alan Fullerton, Jason Martin, Colin Moore, Dean Wright, Johnny Clarke. Subs: John McIlrath, Ryan Thomas, Denis Weir and John McIlrath.

Saturday 23rd May 2015

BALLYMENA SHAMROCKS CSC PADDY DUNLOP CUP

Cushendall 5, Woodside 2 (AET): It took extra time for Cushendall to prevail after they were pegged back from a 2-0 lead to clinch promotion to Division Two.

Cushendall dominated early on and took the lead on nine minutes. Andrew Delargy’s corner kick was partially cleared by Woodside to Niall Campbell 30 yards out on the right hand side and his first time volley flew past Chris Carleton in the Woodside goal for a spectacular opening goal.

Ten minutes later it was 2-0 when Stephen Walsh played in Niall Campbell, he slipped his marker before firing low into the corner of the net.

With 15 minutes to go Woodside were given a lifeline when a defensive mix up resulted in the ball looping over Cushendall keeper Chris McGrath and into the net.

Six minutes later Woodside drew level. Gary Freeburn whipped a free kick from 30 yards on the right into the mix and it beat everyone finishing up in the top corner of the net.

Extra time saw Woodside at a numerical disadvantage when they lost a player and had no substitutes left.

Cushendall took the lead once again when Martin McAfee headed the ball home at the back post and then Cahir McNaughton smashed the ball home from long distance to make it 4-2. Late in the second period Aidan McNaughton completed the scoring.

After the final whistle Brian Montgomery on behalf of sponsors Ballymena Shamrocks CSC handed the Paddy Dunlop Cup over to Cushendall Captain Paul McCurry and the cup remained in the Glens of Antrim for a second season.

Cushendall: Chris McGrath, Shaun O’Boyle, Ruairi Hunter, Aodhan Quinn, Paul McCurry, Stephen Walsh, Shea McNaughton, Aidan McNaughton, Andrew Delargy, Martin McAfee, Niall Campbell. Subs: Cahir McNaughton, Paddy Bannon and Martin Burke.

Woodside: Chris Carleton, Ricky Hanna, Ricky Brown, Phil Davison, Rab Blair, Paul Dunlop, Gary Freeburn, Neil Davison, Kristoff Steel, Trevor MacAuley, Paul Coulhan. Subs: David Thompson, Dean Surgenor, Rab Horn and Johnny Carson.

RAINEY CUP

Harryville Homers reached yet another final when they thrashed fierce rivals Carniny Rangers 6-0 in last week’s semi-final.

Due to an appeal to the IFA the second semi final between All Saints OB and Connor or Clough Rangers had to be postponed.

It is hoped that this game will be played on Thursday 28th May with the final being played on Saturday 30th May. Venue and times for both these fixtures to be confirmed and can be found on the firmus energy BSML Facebook page.