Bowls: Derby win sparks Larne's final dream
Larne's David McRandal is hoping the omens are good following his team's impressive IBA Senior Cup derby win over favourites Whitehead.
The Private Greens League boys showed that their early-season form was no fluke by turning in a classy performance which culminated in a four shots victory. Larne will now benefit from home advantage against Ballycastle in round three on June 7.
"The last time we defeated Whitehead in the Irish Cup was back in 2005 and we went on to reach the final, only to be beaten by Belmont," said McRandal.
"Hopefully, Saturday's result is a good omen for the competition.
"Our league form has been good; we've been beaten only once by Dunbarton, but in many ways, we shot ourselves in the foot on that occasion as we held an 11-shot lead across the green going into the last end and we managed to blow it."
Even though Larne will be favourites to see off Ballycastle in the next round, McRandal insists there will be no room for complacency.
"We'll be taking nothing for granted," he added. "There were quite a few shocks on Saturday, with Ballymena, Whitehead and holders Coleraine, all crashing out, so anything can happen."
Alan McLean was Larne's top performer at Whitehead, skipping his rink to a 24-12 win over JR Wilson. Paul Robinson also made a significant contribution by beating Barry Browne 23-19, while Michael Murphy had an 18-18 draw with Stephen McKinley.
Marty McHugh, who has been named in the Ireland squad for the Commonwealth Games, salvaged a little bit of pride for Whitehead by beating McRandal 25-13.
Meanwhile, the day belonged to little Ballywalter, who ripped up the form book with an astonishing 18-shot win over Ballymena.
It was a fully deserved success for the PGL Division Two side, who now face Portadown at home next month. Davy Palmer led the way by skipping his rink to an impressive 19-11 win over Andy Kyle.
IBA Senior Cup, third round: Ballywalter v Portadown, Old Bleach v Aer Lingus/Rathfriland, Dunbarton v Ballymoney, Divis v Letterkenny, Ewarts v Belmont, Banbridge v Kilrea, Bray v Portglenone, Balmoral v Bangor, Lurgan v Mossley, NICS v Cookstown, Pickie v CYM, Portrush v Musgrave/Dungannon, St James's Gate v Crumlin/Belfast, Salisbury v Dundonald, Shaftesbury v Lisnagarvey, Larne v Ballycastle.
IBA Junior Cup, third round: BETS v Whitehead, Belmont B v Railway Union/Shankill, Castle/CYM v Antrim, Pickie v Willowfield/Ards, Cloughey v Westmanstown, Coleraine v Ballymoney, Falls v Rathfriland, Dunbarton v Mossley/Newcastle, Dungiven v Divis/Belmont Park, Larne v Cookstown, Limavady v Brooke Park/Clontarf, Lurgan v Donaghadee, Old Bleach v Portadown, Ballymena v Bray, North Down/Banbridge v Lagan Valley, Portstewart/Castlerock v Carrickfergus.