Harryville Homers fired out an early warning to would-be challengers for their firmus energy Saturday Morning League title.
Robert Duddy’s side, aiming for a fourth successive championship, opened their defence with an 8-0 win over Abbeyview.
But they were trumped in the scoring stakes by Ahoghill Thistle - tipped to be one of Homers’ main rivals - who plundered 10 goals past FC Antrim in their opening game.
FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION ONE
Harryville Homers 8, Abbeyview 0: Last year’s top scorer, Gary Bonnes, took just ten minutes to open his and Homers account with a curling left foot shot leaving the visitors keeper helpless.
His strike partner Paul McNeill, provided the ammunition for Homers’ second cutting in from the left before squaring for Jordy Craig to slot home from close range.
The Harryville side ran riot in the second half against their beleaguered opponents with six additional unanswered goals with Mark McKay arguably scoring the pick of the bunch. The midfielder latched onto a loose defensive clearance fully thirty yards from goal before lofting the ball back over the stranded keeper’s head and into the unguarded goal.
Gary Bonnes capitalised on a defensive error to score his second while Jordy Craig also scored his second soon after with a close range volley. Paul McNeill opened his account with a sharp, left foot drive from the edge of the box while substitute Jasin Magill converted from close range for the champions’ seventh and the same player completed the scoring.
All Saints OB 4, Newpark Olympic 2: The opening goal came on 18 minutes when a ball into the Saints box from Stephen Brown caused a mix up and and the ball ended up in the Saints goal.
Ten minutes later Saints drew level when Philip Lynn kept the ball alive and crossed to the back post for Gavin Burnside whose header hit the bar and fell to Peter McReynolds to knock home. The home side now were in the ascendancy and got themselves in front when Gavin Burnside played the ball in behind for Peter McReynolds who coolly slotted home.
Eight minutes into the second half Saints gave themselves a two goal cushion when Philip Lynn pulled the ball back to Gavin Burnside 12 yards out and he smashed the ball into the corner of the net.
Saints made it 4-1 when Ciaran McGarry was fouled in the box and the penalty was awarded. McReynolds fired into the corner of the net to complete his hat trick. Newpark got a goal back with five minutes left as Steven Brown pulled a free kick back to the edge of the box for Ben Armstrong to drill home.
CO ANTRIM POST O’KANE CUP
The first Saturday of the season saw the O’Kane Cup kick off in earnest with the second round ties being played, and there was no shortage of goals scored in the fourteen ties played. Holders Homers hit Atletico Antrim for five with Darren Campbell scoring a hat trick. Carniny Rangers made light work of Holywell with Dean Dunlop claiming four goals as they eased into the next round with a 10-2 win.
Newpark and Raceview both hit 10 in their respective wins over Cloughmills and Steadfast, with William Davidson and Ben Armstrong both hitting hat tricks for Newpark while Colin Craig and David Calderwood also fired hat tricks for Raceview.
Michelin were also highs corers as they hit seven without reply as they saw off Templepatrick. Clough Rangers fired six past fellow Division One side Connor as they bid to go one better than last years beaten final. Four different scorers helped Saints overcome a tricky away tie against FC Moylena while Abbeyview overcame Glenravel by the slimmest of margins in the other all Division One tie. Ahoghill Thistle were made fight all the way in Larne against newboys Ruby’s Rovers as they eventual came through 4-2 victors.
Woodside got the better of Penarol by a 1-0 score in the only all Division Two tie. The all Division Three tie between Wakehurst Star and Southside Rangers was a goalfest with the game finishing 3-3 after normal time and extra time before Wakehurst Star progressed 11-10 in an epic penalty shootout.
In the only First Round tie played Randalstown overcame Cushendall 2-1 to set up a second round tie against Braid.
FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION THREE
Southside Rangers 1, Ruby’s Rovers 0: The battle of two of the league’s newcomers went the way of the Ballymena side.
The decisive goal came after half an hour when striker Sam McNiece headed home from 6 yards following good work from Dylan Graham and Gareth Williams.
County Antrim Post O’Kane Cup 1st Round: Carniny Amateurs 2, FC Penarol 4.
firmus energy Division One: Carniny Rangers 7, Connor FC 2; FC Antrim 0, Ahoghill Thistle 10; Glenravel 1, Ballykeel 3.
firmus energy Division Two: Michelin 4, Holywell 2; Carnlough Swifts 5, Cushendall 0; Cloughmills 3, FC Penarol 3; Seven Towers 1, Randalstown 1; Sporting Ballymoney 5 Galgorm Blues 0; Woodside 2. Ahoghill Rovers 2; Carnlough Swifts 2, Galgorm Blues 0
firmus energy Division Three: Steadfast 1, Cullybackey Olympic 5; Atletico Antrim 1 Templepatrick 0; Braid United 2, Carniny Amateurs 1; Wakehurst Star 3, Northend & District 0; Southside Rangers 1, Ruby’s Rovers 0; Braid United 9, Northend & District 1.
Tuesday, August 18 (6.45pm) - Division One: Abbeyview v FC Antrim (Forum 4); Ballykeel v Ahoghill Thistle (Ballykeel); Carniny Rangers v All Saints OB (Wakehurst 1); Clough Rangers v Raceview (Clough); Connor v Harryville Homers (Connor); Riverdale v Glenravel (Wakehurst 2); Newpark Olympic v FC Moylena (Forum).
Wednesday, August 19 (6.45pm) - Division Two: Carnlough Swifts v Michelin; FC Penarol v Waveney Swifts (Showgrounds 5); Galgorm Blues v Cloughmills (Galgorm); Holywell v Woodside (Forum 5); Randalstown v Cushendall; Seven Towers v Ahoghill Rovers (Showgrounds 4).
Division Three: Atletico Antrim v Carniny Amateurs (Forum); Cullybackey Olympic v Wakehurst Star (Tober Park); Northend & District v Ruby’s Rovers (Dunfane 1); St Comgalls v Braid United (Sandy Bay); Templepatrick v Southside Rangers (Forum 6).
Saturday, August 22 (10.15am) - Division One: Abbeyview v Carniny Rangers (Forum 4); Ahoghill Thistle v Clough Rangers (Ahoghill); Connor v Riverdale (Connor); Glenravel v All Saints OB (Cargan); Harryville Homers v FC Antrim (Wakehurst 2).
Division Two: Cushendall v Sporting Ballymoney (Sandy Bay); FC Penarol v Galgorm Blues (Showgrounds 5); Holywell v Ahoghill Rovers (Forum 5); Michelin v Seven Towers; Waveney Swifts v Carnlough Swifts (Waveney 2); Woodside v Randalstown (Wakehurst 6/Ballykeel).
Division Three: Templepatrick v Braid United (Forum 6); Ruby’s Rovers v Cullybackey Olympic (Sandy Bay); Southside Rangers v Atletico Antrim (Wakehurst 1); Steadfast v St Comgalls (Galgorm); Wakehurst Star v Carniny Amateurs (Dunfane 1).