Officer pulls the strings as ‘Nure earn first league win

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A shrewd substitution by manager Gary Burns earned Ballynure Old Boys their first league win of the season.

With midfield regulars Mark Leckey, Mark Moore and Andy Forsythe missing, top scorer Ronnie Burns was dropped back to help fill the gaps, but when the experienced David Officer (ex Dundela and Ballyclare Comrades) came off the bench to take control in the engine room, the tide turned against Carniny.

This Ballymena Premier League fixture was staged at McKelvey Park in Cullybackey where three second-half strikes gave the ‘Nure lads a merited 4-1 win.

In the first half Simon Gibson and Jonny Robinson saw headers rebound off the bar, before Burns nosed his side ahead from the penalty spot, after Ross Miskimmin had been hauled down by the keeper.

When Carniny drew level in the 55th minute, Gary Burns brought Officer in to bolster the midfield, and moved his brother back to his favoured spot up front, where 10 minutes later he regained the lead with a shot into the bottom corner of the net.

Burns soon completed his hat-trick following a fine build-up involving Miskimmin and the impressive David Higgins, recently recruited from the Comrades.

Ballynure were now in complete control and Higgins and Burns had efforts well saved before Miskimmin completed the rout five minutes from time.

Club chairman Michael Graham told the Times: “We are now up and running even without five regulars, so we have a lot of potential and we should be major contenders for honours this season.”

Ballynure OB: Hughes: Robinson, Gibson, M Curlett,Gray; Miskimmin, McGreevy; S Duff, M Duff, Burns, Higgins. Subs: Officer, Goodman, Harbinson.

On Saturday Ballynure start their Irish Cup campaign against Immaculata, an Amateur League Division 1B side.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Rathcoole FC lost 4-0 to Magherafelt Sky Blues at Spires Park. The result means the league’s new boys have just one win from three.

FC Ballynure, in action in the Steel and Sons Cup, lost 4-0 at home to Linfield Swifts at Parkview. The Blues side featured former Ballyclare Comrades loanee goalkeeper Ross Glendinning. Their goals were scored by Gary McBride, Conor McMenamin, Dale Patton and Carl Devine.