SML round-up: Thistle hold off Carniny comeback to claim Top Four Trophy

Matt Boyd and Sean Ward were the heroes as Ahoghill Thistle won the Mortgage Solutions Top Four Trophy final for the first time last week.

Boyd scored a first half brace in the 2-1 win over Carniny Rangers, before a brilliant second half display from goalkeeper Ward in which he made a string of saves including a penalty save to seal the victory.

Celebrations from Ahoghill Thistle after they defeated Carniny Rangers 2-1 to win the Top 4 Final. INBT07-244AC

Celebrations from Ahoghill Thistle after they defeated Carniny Rangers 2-1 to win the Top 4 Final. INBT07-244AC

Elsewhere, Harryville Homers’ dream of back to back Junior Cups remains very much alive as they defeated Coleraine and District side Kilrea United 1-0 in a very tight game.


Ahoghill Thistle 2, Carniny Rangers 1: Thistle were on the front foot from the first whistle and their pressure paid off on 11 minutes when a cross from the right from Daniel Brown found Matt Boyd, he skipped past his marker and drilled the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

Eight minutes later Thistle doubled their lead when a long through ball from Steven French found Boyd who brilliantly controlled before drilling into the top corner giving James Gracey no chance.

Joe Burrell of Mortgage Solutions, along with Lyndsey and Adam Hydman presents the Top 4 trophy to Ahoghill Thistle captain Jason Stewart. INBT07-243AC

Joe Burrell of Mortgage Solutions, along with Lyndsey and Adam Hydman presents the Top 4 trophy to Ahoghill Thistle captain Jason Stewart. INBT07-243AC

Boyd almost completed a first half hat trick when he poked a corner kick from Alan Moore just wide with twelve minutes of the half remaining. The second half saw Thistle soak up pressure from Carniny, who started to create openings with Frazer Young breaking clear only to be denied by a brilliant save from Sean Ward.

Carniny was then awarded a penalty kick when Michael McQuitty was fouled in the box.

McQuitty stepped up to hit the spot kick but he found Ward his equal as he dived full length to save.

Darren Kidd saw his delicate lob tipped onto the bar by Ward, who was looking unbeatable.

With three minutes to go Carniny gave themselves a glimmer of hope when they eventually found a way past Ward when Darren Kidd found the net with a well placed shot after a long ball from James Gracey. Carniny threw everything forward in search of the equaliser after this but Thistle stayed strong to hold on and win the cup.

After the final whistle Joe Burrell, Lyndsay Hyndman and Andrew Hyndman of Mortgage Solutions (Mill Street) handed the Top Four Cup over to Thistle Captain Jason Stewart and the celebrations begun.

Ahoghill Thistle: Sean Ward, Steven French (sub Gary Tennant), David Drummond (sub David Calderwood), David Campbell, Garteh Dickey, Jason Stewart, Daniel Brown, Ryan Sands, David Tennant, Matt Boyd, Alan Moore (sub George Courtney). Subs (not used): Paul Aiken, Paul McBurney

Carniny Rangers: James Gracey, Ryan Curry, Ryan Balmer, Adam Coulter (sub Leslie McCaughern), Tyler Caulfield, Shane Donnelly (sub Darren Kidd), Alan Telford (sub Dean Dunlop), Ryan Bamber, Michael McQuitty, Jonathan Spence, Frazer Young. Subs (not used): Craig Greene, Stephen Greene.


Harryville Homers 1, Kilrea United 0: Jason Magill’s late goal ensured that the cup holders remain on course to defend the trophy.

In game that ebbed and flowed, with chances at both ends, the all important opening goal came with eithy minutes left when Paul McNeill split the Kilrea defence for substitute Jason Magill to race on to and delicately chip the ball into the net.

Homers are now the last remaining BSML representatives in the competition after Raceview were beaten 4-0 at Rosemount.


Michelin 2, All Saints OB 1: Midway through the first half, Saints were almost hit a sucker punch when Gareth Hill hit the post with a header.

Saints were awarded a penalty three minutes before the break when Donald Crawford was fouled.

Gavin Burnside’s original spot kick was saved by Mark McFerran but the referee made it be retaken and Gavin Burnside made no mistake with the second attempt to give his side a slender half time lead.

Michelin hit back six minutes into the second half when a free kick from Brendan McMullan was headed down from Gareth Hill to Owen McMullan to head home from close range.

Then in the fifth minute of stoppage time a long ball from Dessie Birt found Gavin Burnside who was bundled over in the box and a penalty was awarded. Stephen Sexton this time stepped up and smashed the penalty into the corner of the net to win the game for Saints.


Sporting Ballymoney 0, Rectory Rovers 2 (Rectory Rovers win 5-4 on aggregate): Rovers travelled to Ballymoney knowing that after the first leg 4-3 defeat they needed to win by at least two clear goals to progress to the semi-final.

Their early pressure paid off on eight minutes when Alex Telford flicked the ball on and Diarmuid McNally reacted quickest to fire the ball home to level the tie on aggregate.

Seven minutes later Rovers were in front with an almost carbon copy of the first goal. A long ball from Paul Donegan was cushioned down by Telford for McNally to slot home from close range.

In the dying minutes Ballymoney almost snatched the tie with a goal when Peter Brown fired a shot against the post as Rovers held out to set up a semi final with Randalstown.


firmus energy Division One: Connor 2, Abbeyview 4; FC Moylena 2, Ballykeel 2; FC Penarol 2, Clough Rangers 8.

firmus energy Division Two: Ahoghill Rovers 2, Carnlough Swifts 3; Braid United 2, Cullybackey Olympic 1; Cloughmills 3, St Comgalls 4; Glenravel 1, Lisnafillan Swifts 2; Holywell 2, Seven Towers 5; Waveney Swifts 1, Riverdale 4.

firmus energy Division Three: Randalstown 3, Cushendall 1; Wakehurst Star 3, Templepatrick 4; Woodside 2, Steadfast 3


Saturday, February 14 - Rainey Cup, round one (10.15am): Lisnafillan Swifts v Harryville Homers; Waveney Swifts v Braid United (Waveney 2); Wakehurst Star v Newpark Olympic (Dunfane).

Rainey Cup, round two: Sporting Ballymoney v Connor FC; Cloughmills v Cullybackey Olympic; Rectory Rovers v Ballykeel (Waveney 1); All Saints OB v Galgorm Blues (Showgrounds 5); Ahoghill Thistle v Abbeyview (Ahoghill); Michelin v Raceview; FC Moylena v Carniny Rangers (Forum).

firmus energy Division One: Clough Rangers v FC Antrim (Clough).

firmus energy Division Two: Carnlough Swifts v Seven Towers; Glenravel v Ahoghill Rovers (Showgrounds 4); Riverdale v St Comgalls (Wakehurst 2).

firmus energy Division Three: Cushendall v Templepatrick; Steadfast v Atletico Antrim (Galgorm); Randalstown v Woodside.