ONLY three East Antrim teams progressed in the Clarence Cup after Saturday’s third-round matches.
Wellington Rec, Barn United and Nortel booked their passage to the next stage, but six local sides were sent packing.
Perhaps the biggest shock came at Wilbourne Park where Premier Division Islandmagee were knocked out by Lisburn Rangers of Division 1B.
Two second-half goals sealed the deal for Paul Kirk’s visitors, with Darren McCall netting a 70th-minute penalty, before Thomas Neill made sure with a close-range finish. Islandmagee were reduced to 10 men after Chris Harris was sent off. He’ll be out this weekend, as Stephen Donald’s men entertain Malachians.
Also out are Fra Miskelly’s UUJ. They were involved in an eight-goal thriller away at Ards Rangers but they were on the wrong end of a 5-3 scoreline. Paul Esler, Ryan Kelly and Pádraig Scollay netted the students’ goals.
Wellington Rec, currently sitting in sixth spot in Division 1A, had something to shout about as they defeated Saintfield United 4-1 in their own back yard. This week Ciaran Kelly will be hoping his side can open open up a significant gap against ninth-place Rosario when the two sides meet at Ulidia Playing Fields.
It’s back to the bread and butter of Division 1C for Newington Rangers following their 3-0 home defeat to St Oliver Plunkett of 2A. Davy Rollo’s men have no game this weekend, but they welcome Kilroot Rec to The Knowe for an East Antrim derby on February 16.
Nortel progressed to the next round of the Clarence Cup with a comfortable 4-1 win over 4th Newtownabbey. Next up for Paul Foy’s young guns is a tasty home clash against bottom club Larne Tech Old Boys.
The Tech, struggling in the Premier League with a meagre four points from 11 outings, put up a good fight against Albert Foundry at Dennis Harvey Park. Andy Bell was on target from a free-kick, but the Belfast side just had too much for them, and emerged with a 2-1 win.
Jim Pherson’s Barn United left it late at Newtownbreda. The Carrick men needed extra-time to see off the 2B outfit and it was Nicky Sharples who broke the deadlock with his neat touch and finish in the 118th minute. It won’t go down as a classic, but the result stretches Barn’s unbeaten run to seven games.
RATHFERN Rangers may be top of Division 1B, but Saturday’s 5-1 defeat away at Rathfriland Rangers means they will be spending the rest of the campaign looking over their shoulders. Eighth-placed Rathfriland have played nine games to Rathfern’s 18, and are favourites to be challenging for top spot at the end of the season. Also breathing down David McCrea’s side’s neck is the impressive Immaculata. They occupy second spot and are six points behind with seven games in hand.
Rangers will be hoping to get back to winning ways on Saturday when they entertain Dunmurry YM at The Diamond.
In Division 1C, Garry Campbell’s improving 18th Newtownabbey took home a point from their game at Donard Hospital.
The talismanic Jackie Moore netted his 12th goal of the season in Saturday’s 1-1 draw. This weekend the Monkstown men are in Clarence Cup action as they make the short trip to the Valley Leisure Centre to take on Greencastle Rovers (1:30pm kick-off).
There is no light at the end of a tunnel for rock-bottom Kilroot Rec after they succumbed to their 18th league defeat on the spin with a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Groomsport. With the goals against column registering 99, and a whopping 15-point gap between them and second-bottom club Shorts, their exit from the Intermediate football stage beckons.
Elsewhere, Whitehead Eagles lost 3-2 at home to Bangor YM in 2B, while Greenisland FC won 4-1 at Wesley in 2C.