Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Portadown still lead race to Premiership

The race for the Irish FA Championship title refuses to open up after the top three sides all completed important victories last night.

Just like in the Premiership, it is all to play for at intermediate level too, with those top three all still in with a chance of taking the crown.

Loughgall continue to lead the way as two second-half goals saw them beat Ballymoney United 2-0.

Dean Smith and Ryan Evans were on the mark as the visitors sealed a crucial three points.

With Loughgall unable to take the place in the Premiership on offer to the Championship winners after deciding against applying for a domestic licence, Portadown kept themselves ahead of Donegal Celtic in the fight to replace Bangor in the top flight with a win at home to Armagh City.

The Ports — who are two points behind Loughgall with a game in hand — were made to sweat until Kevin Braniff popped up with his 22nd goal of the season a minute from time.

DC have a further game in hand over the Ports, but remain four points behind after that late winner at Shamrock Park.

Paddy Kelly’s side had no problems in brushing aside the challenge of fourth-placed Ards as they claimed a 2-0 victory at Dixon Park.

Fifth place Coagh United — who until recently were in a good position to win the league — lost 3-1 at home to Carrick Rangers.

Any Larne fans who made the long trip to Dergview were treated to a goal fest as Paul Millar’s side put five past the Castlederg-men, who managed only one in reply.

Elsewhere, Banbridge Town completed a 2-0 victory against Ballyclare Comrades at Crystal Park.

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