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Welders clock up a vital win ahead of festive showdown


Tight call: Welders’ Ryan Deans with Dundela’s Stephen Gourley

Tight call: Welders’ Ryan Deans with Dundela’s Stephen Gourley

Tight call: Welders’ Ryan Deans with Dundela’s Stephen Gourley

With festive challenges on the horizon, Harland & Wolff Welders and Loughgall enjoyed mixed fortunes on Saturday.

Steel & Sons Cup finalists the Welders celebrated a 3-2 east Belfast derby win over Dundela, while Loughgall's Bob Radcliffe Cup final preparations were spoilt by Armagh City at Holm Park.

The Welders didn't have everything their own way against the relegation-threatened Duns, however, and it was Mark Snodden's men who took the lead at Tillysburn thanks to a strike from Aaron Keenan.

Midfielder Sammy Devine then levelled the scores in the well-attended clash before Dundela re-took the lead just before the break when defender Kyle Owens headed home.

The Championship's top goalscorer, Michael McLellan, registered the equaliser to set-up a grand-stand finish and it was perhaps no surprise that it was the experienced and lethal force of David Rainey who broke the deadlock.

The former Crusaders man grabbed a late winner that gave the Welders the points and lifted them into third position in the table as well as delivering a timely boost heading into Christmas Day's Steel Cup showdown against Carrick Rangers at Seaview.

Loughgall, meanwhile, suffered a 1-0 defeat to near rivals Armagh City.

Striker Steven Murray scored the only goal of the game as the Eagles downed the Villagers, who must now pick themselves up for the Boxing Day battle with Annagh United - 4-3 victors over fellow Mid-Ulster side Dollingstown and now fourth in the Championship Two standings.

Lurgan Celtic confirmed their place at the top of the tree with a 2-0 win over Ballymoney United, whose derby foes Glebe Rangers enjoyed a 2-1 win over Tobermore United.

Elsewhere, there was success for two Championship One teams in the Intermediate Cup third round. Knockbreda beat Crusaders Reserves 2-1 at Breda Park, while overcame Shankill United 5-3 at Darragh Park to ensure that 13 of the division's 14 clubs will compete in the last 32.

Avoiding the frustration of a football-free weekend, Ards beat Bangor Amateurs 7-0 in a friendly.

Striker Shane Dolan - who netted twice - joined goalkeeper Aaron Shanahan on trial for Ards, while former Northern Ireland international Keith Gillespie guested for the Amateur League outfit.

Belfast Telegraph