Belfast Telegraph

Cup joy for Larne's old boys and new ones too

Johnny Hastings
Johnny Hastings
Billy Weir

By Billy Weir

Cup joy for Larne's old boys and new ones too

It was a shame that the weather wiped out half of the planned Irish Cup matches last weekend and adds even more pressure to what has been a congested fixture list (summer football anyone?)

Stand out result of the day was Crusaders finally getting the better of Linfield for the first time this season, while holders Coleraine slipped past what could have been a banana skin in the shape of Dergview.

But for me the story of the round came in Larne. Twice.

First up was Larne Tech Old Boys from the Amateur League who made it through to the quarter-finals with a 3-1 win over Strabane Athletic from the Intermediate League.

And it was everything the Irish Cup should be, a bumper crowd huddled around the side of the pitch as Johnny Hastings and his men made it through, coupled with some golden comedy sendings-off, and they will now meet the winner of the rearranged game between Warrenpoint Town and Queen's University.

That is scheduled to be at home and I really hope it is and not switched to Warrenpoint because of their senior status because it takes away so much from the competition.

And the new boys of Larne are also in the last eight, where if Coleraine thought the last round was a banana skin, they'll think a Fyffes has jack-knifed at Inver Park next time up.

Nailed on to be Championship champions, Tiernan Lynch's side, who lost out to the Bannsiders in last year's semi-final, will more than fancy their chances of exacting some revenge.

It will be a much-changed Coleraine they face, Rodney McAree wasting no time in making it 'his' team and Tuesday night's win over Dungannon Swifts means they are now back up to fourth in the table.

Remarkably, only four players in that win turned out for the Bannsiders when they won the Cup back in May, a mixture of departures with the likes of Brad Lyons, Darren McCauley, Ciaron Harkin and Stephen Dooley moving on. And injuries too.

Still, it's a huge turnaround in playing resources and McAree is well on the way to stepping out from Oran Kearney's shadow and making the side his own.

Belfast Telegraph


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