Carniny Rangers shocked Ahoghill Thistle for the second time this season to reach the final of the County Antrim Post O’Kane Cup.
Robert Young’s side had inflicted Thistle’s only previous defeat of the campaign when the sides had met earlier in the season and they repeated the dose with a stunning 6-2 win to set up a Boxing Day showdown with old rivals Harryville Homers.
Carniny elected to play against a very strong wind in the first half but were still able to create the first opening in two minutes when Zack Barr broke free on the right but Stephen Watson in Thistles goal turned the shot over the bar.
This should have been a warning for Thistle for seven minutes later Dean Dunlop split the Thistle defence to put Zack Barr free and he rounded the Thistle keeper before putting the ball into an empty net.
A minute later it was all square again when Stevie Nicholl pounced on a poor clearance from Carniny to hit a shot from edge of the penalty area which then took a deflection and finished up in the net for a Thistle goal.
Carniny took control and midway through the half Shane Donnelly hit a powerful shot from 18 yards which Thistle keeper could only parry out and there was Dean Dunlop at hand to fire the rebound home to give Carniny the lead again.
Thistle had a great chance to equalise when Matt Boyd make a strong run from mid field only to be brought down 24 yards out. David Campbell took the free kick which Sean Ward in Rangers goal had to produce a great save to stop Thistle equalising.
Carniny took control after this and in the dying minutes of the half got their third goal when a Jonny Carson shot was again parried out by the Thistle keeper and Tyler Caulfield reacted before the Thistle defence to slam the ball home to send Carniny in 3-1 at half time.
The game was over as a contest seven minutes into the second half when Frazer Young was brought down in the penalty and Carniny were awarded a penalty. Dean Dunlop stepped up and hammered the ball home giving the Thistle keeper no chance.
Carniny were using the strong wind to their advantage and it was no surprise when they got their fifth goal 10 minutes later.
Ryan Bamber was turning and twisting in the Thistle penalty area when he was tripped and Carniny had another penalty.
This time Dean Dunlop found the net when his spot kick went in off the post to complete his hat trick and put Carniny 5-1 up.
Their sixth goal came after 25 minutes when a cross by Frazer Young was headed back across the goal for Ryan Bamber to head the goal over the advancing Thistle keeper and into the net. Thistle were shell shocked but kept on going and with 7 minutes left got another consolation goal when a strong run by David Tennant left him clear and he played the ball across the goals for Alan Moore to win the race with a Carniny defender to slot the ball home.
The score line was bad enough for Thistle but in the dying minutes they had a player sent off to add to their problems.
This win by Carniny Rangers sends them to the County Antrim Post O’Kane Cup Final on Boxing Day at the Main Arena Showgrounds where they met their Harryville Rivals and holders Harryville Homers.
FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION ONE
Abbeyview 1, All Saints OB 3: Saints kept up their winning form in the league with a hard fought victory over Abbeyview.
The breakthrough came three minutes before the break when a clearance fell to Barry Hamill on the edge of the box and he cut inside on his right and placed the ball in the corner of the net with his right foot.
Saints started the second half on the front foot and doubled their lead soon after.
A great move down the right ended with Peter McReynolds playing the ball to Liam Cassley who laid the ball off to Alan Telford to fire home from 18 yards out. Stephen Sexton then had two great opportunities to put the game beyond Abbeyview when he misfired when well placed.
With four minutes to go Abbeyview set up a tense finish when Roy Robinson smashed a free kick through the Saints wall to make it 2-1.
Almost immediately Saints regained their two goal lead and clinched the win when Liam Cassley dispossessed a defender and laid the ball to Gavin Burnside to curl home and seal all three points for Saints.
The only other Division One game to survive the weather was Riverdale versus Newpark Olympic, and it was the hosts who claimed all three points with a narrow 1-0 victory to keep their survival hopes alive.
FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION TWO
Ahoghill Rovers kept up their good form and kept in touch with the leaders at the top of Division Two as they ran out comfortable winners over Randalstown.
Cloughmills turned in a great display to keep up their recent good form as they recorded a comprehensive win over winless Woodside.
In the only other game played Waveney Swifts and Holywell shared the spoils in a six goal thriller which leaves both sides in relegation trouble.
FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION THREE
Leaders St Comgalls stretched their lead at the top of the table with an impressive win at home to Carniny Amateurs and Youths. The chasing pack failed to make up any real ground either with Braid United and Southside Rangers claiming a point each in a draw, while Wakehurst Star recorded only their third win of the season as they beat struggling Templepatrick.
firmus energy Division Two: Ahoghill Rovers 6, Randalstown 2; Waveney Swifts 3, Holywell 3; Woodside 1, Cloughmills 5
Clough Glasgow Rangers Supporters’ Club Sammy Moore Cup, first round, first leg: Cullybackey Olympic 2, Rubys Rovers 5
firmus energy Division Three: St Comgalls 3, Carniny Amateurs & Youths 1; Southside Rangers 2, Braid United 2; Wakehurst Star 4, Templepatrick 2
Saturday, Decemver 12 - IFA Junior Cup, round three (1.30pm): Harryville Homers v Donaghamore (Wakehurst 2).
Toals Co Antrim Junior Shield 4th Round (1.30pm): Killough FC v Ahoghill Thistle; Waveney Swifts v Dunmurry YM II (Waveney 2); St Lukes FC v Sporting Ballymoney; Mountainview FC v Southside Rangers; Ballybogey v Carniny Rangers.
firmus energy Division One (10.15am): Clough Rangers v Ballykeel (Clough); Glenravel v Abbeyview (Cargan); Newpark Olympic v All Saints OB; FC Moylena v Raceview (Forum).
firmus energy Division Two: Ahoghill Rovers v Seven Towers (Ahoghill); FC Penarol v Randalstown (Showgrounds 5); Michelin v Carnlough Swifts; Holywell v Cloughmills (Forum).
firmus energy BSML Division Three: Atletico Antrim v St Comgalls (Forum); Carniny Amateurs & Youths v Wakehurst Star (Showgrounds 7); Northend & District v Cullybackey Olympic (Dunfane 1); Ruby’s Rovers v Templepatrick.