Larne too strong for Ballyclare in league opener

Laura Withers in action for Larne Ladies in their game against Ballyclare Ladies at Greenland. INLT 39-026-PSB

Laura Withers in action for Larne Ladies in their game against Ballyclare Ladies at Greenland. INLT 39-026-PSB

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After picking up a valued Senior Cup point in Omagh in midweek, Ballyclare Ladies suffered defeat in their opening league fixture at the weekend.

With home advantage Larne Ladies proved to be too strong in this local derby, and ran out comprehensive 5-2 Senior 1 winners.

Ballyclare defended against sustained pressure in the first half but conceded three goals from open play, while their only reply was a Jade Purdy penalty flick for a foot fault.

Ballyclare improved after the interval and reduced the deficit through Kerry McLeod from a short corner, but the hosts finished strongly to fire in two more goals for a well deserved win.

Louise Bell had to have hospital treatment after suffering a facial injury when the ball ricocheted off her stick.

In midweek the long journey to Omagh for a Senior Cup fixture didn’t seem to bother the ‘Clare girls who turned round one up.

Team captain Sue Bell slipped past an opponent before sending a defence-splitting diagonal pass to Kerrie Bell who drilled the ball into the net.

Before the break the hosts had to defend in depth to clear a couple of penalty corners. During the third quarter Omagh had the upper-hand, but were unable to break down a resolute defence.

Home pressure was rewarded when one of their strikers beat Sara Coulter with a firm shot.

Having lost their opening fixture in Portadown this was Ballyclare’s first point in this competition, which is being played in sections on a round-robin basis.

However, now having got the two away fixtures behind them, Sue Dickey’s girls can look forward to home clashes with Larne and Ballymena, from which they will probably need four points to qualify for the knockout stages.

Ballyclare Ladies panel for both matches: Coulter, Hanley, Patterson, Holmes, McGookin, McMaw, Ashcroft, White, McLeod, Wilson, Bell, Dickey (c), McKinstry, Darragh, Wallace, Purdy.

Larne and Ballyclare were scheduled to clash again on Wednesday evening at Foundry Lane in the Senior Cup, and on Saturday the Clare girls are in Comber to play North Down in the league.