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Newry chalk up their sixth victory as nearest rivals lose ground

Lough 41 Championship

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Darren Mullen. Credit: David Maginnis

Darren Mullen. Credit: David Maginnis

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Darren Mullen. Credit: David Maginnis

Newry City opened up a five point gap at the top of the Lough 41 Championship after a hard fought 2-0 victory away to Queen’s.

Newry boss Darren Mullen had warned his side to expect a tough battle at the Dub and that’s exactly what they got from Peter Thompson’s team.

Right now though the border outfit are showing character to push over the line with Saturday’s success their sixth league win out of six.

Promising talent John McGovern gave the away side the lead at the break but in the second period Queen’s went close to an equaliser with Newry goalkeeper Steven Maguire making a superb save late on to keep them out. Moments later at the other end Stephen Lawless found the net to given Mullen’s men breathing space and another three points.

If Newry’s players were delighted with the outcome as they left the pitch, they would have had an extra spring in their step when hearing results from the other Championship fixtures.

Nearest challengers Ards were held to a 1-1 draw at Dergview who were reduced to 10 men after Kym Nelson gave John Bailie’s side the advantage at Darragh Park. The dismissal of Kieran Farren looked to be a killer blow for the Castlederg club but they displayed a fighting spirit and discipline to earn a point courtesy of Keelan Diver.

Loughgall were third ahead of kick-off in their local derby with Annagh United at Lakeview Park but Dean Smith’s team weren’t at their best as Ciaran McGurgan’s newly promoted side won 1-0 with Peter Duffin the goalscoring hero in the 53rd minute following a Craig Taylor cross. It was an important result for Annagh who moved into third, eight points behind leaders Newry and just three adrift of Ards.

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As for Loughgall, they have dropped to sixth with Ballyclare and Harland & Wolff Welders jumping above them. Boss Gary Smyth was a happy man as the Welders triumphed 2-1 at Ballinamallard with goals from Michael McLellan and Craig Harris. BJ Banda netted a penalty in injury time but it was too little too late for the Fermanagh club.

At Dixon Park Ballyclare drew 2-2 with Knockbreda, Ethan Devine scored early on for the visitors with a cracking strike only for Liam McKenna to net twice for Comrades. Knockbreda grabbed a point with a Lee Rea goal in second half.

Institute made it two wins out of two as new boss Brian Donaghey took charge for the first time with his side overcoming bottom team Dundela 2-1 at the Brandywell. After seeing his 30th minute penalty saved Liam Walsh followed up to net the rebound prior to Brendan McLaughlin doubling the lead with the east Belfast men grabbing a late consolation.


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