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It's up, up and away from home for Seasiders

 

By Graham Hamilton

Bangor are going to have to do it the hard way if they are to land the Keightley Cup for the first time in their 97-year history.

The Seasiders moved two points clear at the top of the Ulster Premier League table on Saturday after toppling favourites Instonians 3-1, but their chances of claiming the title will hinge on how they cope with a heavy away schedule.

With the 14-team league soon to split into its top seven and bottom seven format, Bangor will be faced with seven away games in the last eight because they have played the bulk of the top seven at home.

Their remaining two games in the first phase are away to Newry and Queen's, and if the current top seven stay as they are, then Bangor will be away in the second phase to Instonians, Kilkeel, Mossley, North Down, and Belfast Harlequins, leaving only South Antrim as a home game.

"Our club has never won Ulster's top prize, so it's really nice to be in the mix this season," maintains coach Parker.

"There is a great buzz around the place and I would rather be at the top and looking down rather than the other way."

It was two goals from Ryan Burgess and one from Rhys Cunningham that earned them their 3-1 win over Instonians in a game which saw four yellow cards issued and one red.

Kilkeel's 8-2 win over North Down and Mossley's 5-2 win at Civil Service keeps them in the frame while Raphoe celebrated a first league win of the season, 3-2 over Antrim.

Finally, Queen's put up a brave battle at the Irish indoor finals, losing out to the Railway Union 6-3 before tiredness set in against the fresh legs of Three Rock who crushed them 17-2.

Ulster Premier League: Bangor 3 (R Burgess 2, R Cunningham) Instonians 1 (C Barnes); Kilkeel 8 (D Rae 2, D Finlay 2, E Agnew, J Aiken, J Finlay, W Annett) North Down 2 (P Templeton 2); Civil Service 2 Mossley 5 (J Robinson 3, J Cathcart, H Dow); Newry 2 (A Irwin, C McKnight) Portadown 2 (G Croft, L Bell); Raphoe 3 (T Orr, K Meehan, S Goudie) Antrim 2 (A McBride, A Linford); South Antrim 1 Queen's 1 (R Wolsely)

Irish Indoor finals: Queen's 3 Railway Union 6; Three Rock Rovers 17 Queen's 2; Railway Union 5 Three Rock Rovers 8.

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