Homers thrash rivals Carniny to reach fourth straight Junior Cup final

Alan Rainey celebrates after socring his and Harryville Homers' second goal in tonight's Irish Junior Cup semi-final against Carniny Rangers. Picture: John McIlwaine.
Alan Rainey celebrates after socring his and Harryville Homers' second goal in tonight's Irish Junior Cup semi-final against Carniny Rangers. Picture: John McIlwaine.

Harryville Homers cruised into a fourth straight Irish Junior Cup final after a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Carniny Rangers in tonight’s semi-final.

Robert Duddy’s men remain on course for an unprecedented third successive triumph in Northern Ireland junior football’s biggest trophy after easily overcoming their Saturday Morning League rivals at the Showgrounds.

Alan Rainey scored either side of half-time for Homers and the game was effectively settled before the hour mark when Paul McNeill added a third goal.

Substitute Jason Logan rounded off a convincing display by Homers with a fourth goal late on.

In front of a bumper attendance, it was the cup holders who settled quickest and they were in front inside four minutes.

It came from a corner after David McWhirter’s strong run down the left to the bye-line forced Carniny keeper Sean Ward to save with his feet before the ball was cleared.

From the resultant corner, swung in by full-back Ryan Stewart, Alan Rainey arrived unchallenged to head home from six yards.

That goal rocked Carniny and they struggled to settle into the game until Shane Donnelly had their first effort of the game on 12 minutes - a low snap-shot that was confidently fielded by Homers keeper Alex McCosh.

Homers came close to doubling their lead on 23 minutes when Darren Campbell’s strong run ends with the ball getting caught among the midfielder’s feet but it falls nicely for team-mate Richard Reid, whose curling first-time drive hits the side netting on its way past.

Rainey spurned a gilt-edged chance to double his and Homers’ account on 29 minutes as he found himself free to meet a cross from the left but he completely missed his kick with only Sean Ward to beat.

Homers started the second half in the ascendancy again with David McWhirter’s rasping 25 yard shot straight down the throat of Ward, while James Gracey saw a shot deflected narrowly wide.

Rainey atoned for his earlier miss as he grabbed his and Harryville’s second goal on 54 minutes.

The wideman collected a Gary Baird pass on the right hand side of the penalty area and drifted past a couple of challenges before firing a left foot shot beyond Ward.

Almost immediately Homers almost grabbed a killer third goal but Paul McNeill’s clever attempted chip was turned behind by Ward.

But a third goal wasn’t far away and it came on 59 minutes after a lightning quick Homers attack ended with David McWhirter’s low cross from the left flank being turned in at the near post by Paul McNeill.

With the game effectively over, the second half went into something of a lull before Homers added a fourth goal with 11 minutes left when substitute Jason Logan latched onto a long through ball and steered a shot beyond Ward.

Carniny’s misery was compounded with three minutes left as defender Dean Magill was sent off for a second booking, after a late challenge on Ryan Stewart.

Harryville Homers: McCosh, R Nicholl, Stewart, Russell, Gracey, Baird, Campbell, McWhirter, Rainey (sub Logan 74), Reid (sub Magill 73), McNeill. Subs (not used): McKay, Spratt, D Nicholl.

Carniny Rangers: Ward, Fullerton, Balmer, Magill, Norton, Caulfield, Donnelly, Bamber, Perkins (sub Nixon 64), Young, Kidd (sub Clarke 64). Subs (not used): Crawford, Greene, Robinson.

Referee: Rowan Vernon (Belfast)