October was a busy month, right from the very start, heading to Dungannon on the first day of the month to see Linfield get a win at Stangmore Park.

That was followed a few days later by another away day, to a very wet Wilgar Park to see Linfield grind out a 1-0 win over Dundela.

The following night, it was the Ulster Hall to see Beabadoobee in concert.

Back on the road the following Saturday to see Linfield draw with Coleraine.

Then it was back to Ulster Hall to see Paul Weller.

Two days after that, it was Linfield v Glentoran, the less said of that the better.

The following day was a lot more enjoyable, making the most of a football free Saturday to check out Murlough Bay.

Over the next seven days came two Linfield home matches, against Glenavon and Larne.

The following week, I was off to Manchester, my first visit to see Erik Ten Hag’s United in the flesh, against Sheriff Tiraspol.

While I was there, I got some photos from a stroll along a canal, some Street Art (of course) and a walk up Hartshead Pike.

The month ended with a trip to Newry to see Linfield get some much needed three points.

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Dundela v Linfield

Beabadoobee live at Ulster Hall

Beabadoobee live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Coleraine v Linfield

Paul Weller live at Ulster Hall

Paul Weller live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Linfield v Glentoran

Murlough Bay Nature Reserve

Murlough Bay Nature Reserve Photo Album

Linfield v Glenavon

Linfield v Larne

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album

Manchester Canal Walk

Manchester Canal Walk Photo Album

Manchester United v Sheriff Tiraspol

Manchester Untied v Sheriff Tiraspol Photo Album

Hartshead Pike

Hartshead Pike Photo Album

Newry City v Linfield


September began with a trip to Ballymena to see Linfield get their season back on track with a 4-0 win at Ballymena.

Football then took a break for a bit, but I was back on the road, and visiting a new ground as Linfield travelled to Moyola Park in the League Cup.

More travelling followed, not as far, three days later as Linfield faced Crusaders at Seaview.

Having a football free Saturday, I got up early for a long overdue trip to Giant’s Ring to get some photos as the sun was coming up.

Two days later, was an unexpected Public Holiday, so I headed on the North Down Coastal Path, starting at Helen’s Bay for a change, making my way to Bangor West. I think.

On the following Saturday morning, I made a long overdue return to Belvoir Park Forest before heading to Windsor Park at teatime to see Northern Ireland face Kosovo.

My final adventure of the month was a first concert since June, to The Odyssey to see George Ezra.

Ballymena United v Linfield

Moyola Park v Linfield

Crusaders v Linfield

Giant’s Ring/Terrace Hill Gardens/Minnowburn

Giant’s Ring/Terrace Hill Gardens/Minnowburn Photo Album

North Down Coastal Path

North Down Coastal Path Photo Album

Belvoir Park Forest

Belvoir Park Forest Photo Album

Northern Ireland v Kosovo

Northern Ireland v Kosovo Photo Album

George Ezra live at The Odyssey

George Ezra live at The Odyssey Photo Album

DUNDELA 0-1 LINFIELD 4.10.2022

It was a match every bit as slippery and uncomfortable as the weather, but Linfield got the job done, which is all you ask for in cup competitions, especially with cup defeats to Ballyclare Comrades and Queen’s University still a recent memory.

As it turned out, this would be a night of shocks, but not at Wilgar Park.

Usually a pre-season fixture, this was certainly more competitive than those games.

The last time I went to Wilgar Park, I had a gun pointed at me. Relax, it was only a Temperature Gun.

That match I was at, was a County Antrim Shield match between Dundela and Queen’s University in October 2020.

I hadn’t been to a football match in seven months. It felt great to be back.

Unsurprisingly, Linfield’s starting eleven saw some changes with some players being rested in the middle of a busy run of fixtures.

There was a pleasant surprise on the bench, as I spotted Chris Johns making his way to the bench.

I was unaware that he had won his appeal against his red card against Dungannon earlier in the day.

All that effort just to sit on the bench. It’s the principle that matters.

Chris McKee had the first shot of the game but his effort from a wide angle on the edge of the box was saved and held low by Dundela’s keeper.

Worth a hit on a wet night.

Ethan Devine then had a volley saved from the edge of the box.

It wasn’t all one way traffic, Dundela weren’t slow in having a go, with David Walsh being forced into some saves.

Midway through the half, Linfield start to ramp up the pressure, and it looked like it was only a matter of time before they scored.

Dundela were able to see that out.

The fickle nature of football fans was played out when Tony Kane argued with the Linesman, and somebody from the crowd shouted back in response “SHUT YOU UP KANE, HE’S DOING A GREAT JOB!!!”. Under thirty seconds later, that same person was screaming “YOU HAVEN’T A CLUE WHAT YOU’RE DOING!!!” when he flagged for a free-kick to Dundela.

Eetu Vertainen was next to be frustrated when his low shot from the edge of the box was sell saved in slippery conditions.

Stephen Fallon and Andrew Clarke came on as Linfield searched for an opener.

They had a lot of the ball but no chances

Even at this early stage, it was crying out for Joel Cooper to come on.

Especially as Benny Igheon cut inside and had his shot well saved when it looked like he was going to score.

From early on, it was clear that this had the potential to be a very uncomfortable night for Linfield if they went 1-0 down.

Joel Cooper and Robbie McDaid were summoned from the bench as Linfield looked to win this inside the regulation 90 minutes.

Immediately, there was a greater attacking intensity to Linfield’s play.

It is a bit worrying how reliant Linfield are on Cooper. If he was to get injured or suffer a loss of form, they could be in real trouble.

There was no loss of form from him in this game as he got straight to work trying to get an opener for Linfield.

That came very quickly, when his crossed was flicked back by Andrew Clarke for Robbie McDaid to fire home from close range.

It was Linfield’s first real attacking moment of quality, and it resulted in a goal. This football lark is easy.

There was almost a second assist for Cooper when his cross fell to Andrew Clarke in a similar position to where McDaid scored his goal, but Dundela’s keeper was able to make a save.

The way that Dundela had played, Linfield were never going to see the game out comfortably.

There was still time for one last Dundela chance, with Tony Kane having a low effort saved by David Walsh.

Linfield did hold out for a hard fought win in difficult conditions.

It was great to get an opportunity to visit a ground I only ever to see Linfield play friendlies in.

Time to dry off and wait for the draw for the next round.

Photo Album

Dundela v Queen’s University 2020

Dundela v Linfield 2019

Dundela v Linfield 2018

Dundela v Linfield 2017

Dundela v Linfield Swifts 2016

Dundela v Linfield 2016


I’ve never seen so many trees at a football ground in my life. A very scenic view of my first visit to Mill Meadow to see Linfield get a win that was a lot more comfortable than people were expecting at half-time.

I don’t usually bother with League Cup ties, but a chance to visit a ground i’d never been to before was too good to turn down.

With a trip to Crusaders in the League three days away, it was unsurprising that David Healy made some changes.

It was more a case of who wasn’t starting, with Chris Johns, Chris Shields, Matthew Clarke, Jamie Mulgrew and Stephen Fallon all watching as the match kicked-off.

Linfield took a while to get going. They were always a little bit short in attack if you know what I mean.

Passes were either too long or too short. There was no real attacking fluidity.

That was never going to last though, with this much of the ball, Linfield were always going to get a chance and make it count.

Kirk Millar almost made it 1-0 when his shot flashed wide of the post.

Eetu Vertainen was almost presented with an opportunity when Moyola’s keeper kicked the ball straight at him, hitting him in the chest, but was denied at the expense of a corner as he looked to make the most of his mixed fortunes.

Chris McKee was denied by a last gasp slide as it looked like he was going to be played through, then was denied again when he headed home, only to see it chalked off for an infringement.

Linfield were having a lot of the ball but not creating many clear chances. There was no real panic but Moyola Park were having a lot of set pieces.

All it needed was for one of them to get lucky, and we could have another Queen’s.

Eventually, Linfield got the lead when a cross from Kirk Millar was volleyed home from close range by Niall Quinn.

Still a bit of work to do, the game was far from won, but a lead that was more than welcome.

It didn’t last long though, as Moyola Park responded immediately.

Straight from kick-off, they worked themselves into a shooting position, with Jake McNeill eventually hooking the ball home from the save.

Having taken a hold of the game, Linfield had given it up straight away.

There was not a similar response from Linfield.

Again, Moyola Park had a few set pieces.

I am usually worried whenever the opposition have the ball, no matter where it is.

In truth, the set pieces didn’t really worry Linfield, but you are still always worried that one might get lucky.

A match that was already tricky didn’t need to become even more trickier.

As the half neared it’s end, Linfield got a vital second breakthrough, if that is even football terminology.

Kirk Millar got on the end of a ball in behind Moyola Park’s defence, before the onrushing keeper to put the ball into the net.

Both players were injured in the collision, but were able to continue.

There would still be a bit of work for Linfield to do in order to see the game off, but they would have a better starting point to do so in the second-half.

I think the theme of the half-time chat was to try and get an early goal in the second-half to kill the game off, as that is what happened inside the opening minutes of the half.

A headed clearance from a free-kick fell perfectly for Andrew Clarke to fire home to make it 3-1.

Not quite the name in the hat for the next round, but near enough.

Just don’t do anything stupid like conceding a goal to make it 3-2 and give Moyola Park any form of encouragement.

It looked like that 4th goal was going to come when Eetu Vertainen capitalised on a mix-up in defence to hook it goalwards, only to be denied by a goal line clearance, which fell to Chris McKee, who hit the post from the rebound.

The last thing that Moyola Park needed to see was some of Linfield’s big name subs making an appearance, as Joel Cooper came on to get that elusive 4th goal, the closest they came after the 3rd goal was an effort from Andrew Clarke that went over the bar.

It eventually came when Eetu Vertainen was played in and made no mistake with a low finish. It was one of those, you were celebrating as soon as he got the ball as you knew there would be only one outcome.

Game won, time to relax, but there was still time for a 5th goal for Linfield when Ethan Devine crossed low for Robbie McDaid to finish in off the post.

I actually thought it was an own goal, hitting a defender on the way in.

Nope, TV replays proved me wrong. I think I might need to go to Specsavers.

A bit dicey in the first-half, but the two goals in a couple of minutes either side of the break ultimately made it a comfortable night for Linfield.

Mill Meadow is easy to find and is handy for watching football. They even had a barbecue on.

I even had a wee nosy in their bar, which was surprisingly quiet.

The draw for the next round handed another away trip for Linfield, to Dundela.

Easy to get to ground and should be a good night. Linfield usually played a pre-season game there in recent years, but not since 2020.

I wasn’t at that game, so this will be my first trip to see Linfield there since 2019, although I did go to see Dundela take on Queen’s University in 2020, my first football match in the flesh for seven months due to you know what. I really just wanted to go to a football match.

Even though they are in The Championship, it is potentially tricky, especially as they set up this tie by beating Crusaders.

A good omen is that the last two meetings (both in the County Antrim Shield) were 5-0 to Linfield with the added bonus of a hat-trick (Peter Thompson, Niall Quinn) for a Linfield player.

That would be greedy, just a win would do, by any score.

Photo Album


February didn’t get off to the best start, as I headed to Windsor Park to see Linfield exit the Irish Cup against Crusaders.

Things got better the following Saturday as Linfield came from 2-0 down to score a last minute winner against Coleraine.

It got a lot better the following Saturday as Linfield beat Ballymena United to win the NIFL Cup.

Finally, it was time for my first concerts of the year, going to see Chvrches at Ulster Hall, then Razorlight at The Limelight the following evening.

That was followed by some more football, as Linfield took on Ballymena United again, this time in the League, and then a midweek trip to Newry to see Linfield grind out a 1-0 win.

Linfield v Crusaders

Linfield v Coleraine

NIFL Cup Final

NIFL Cup Final Photo Album

Chvrches live at Ulster Hall

Chvrches live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Razorlight live at The Limelight

Razorlight live at The Limelight Photo Album

Linfield v Ballymena United

Newry City v Linfield


February’s football watching was spent at Windsor Park, where I spent every Saturday of the month.

It began with Linfield exiting the Irish Cup to Crusaders, then come from 2-0 down to beat Coleraine with a last minute winner, beat Ballymena United to win the NIFL Cup, and then beat them again in the League.

The month ended with a trip to Newry to see Linfield secure a late and dramatic 1-0 win.

Linfield v Crusaders

Linfield v Coleraine

Linfield v Ballymena United (NIFL Cup)

NIFL Cup Final Photo Album

Linfield v Ballymena United (League)

Newry City v Linfield


Linfield fans aren’t really that used to seeing their team in the League Cup Final. I wouldn’t be surprised if some went to Newry on Friday night for a League game and were wondering where everybody else was, their last win coming in their last Final back in 2008.

Ballymena fans are a lot more familiar with the League Cup Final, with this being their third successive appearance, reach four of the past five overall.

Of those previous three finals, they had won one (2017) and lost two (2015, 2018) with the two defeats being at Windsor Park, an omen that Linfield would hope would continue.

Curiously, David Jeffrey was manager and Jim Ervin was playing the last time both Linfield and Ballymena United won this competition.

Even more curiously, the two were in the Linfield camp when the two sides met exactly eleven years to the day, Saturday 16th February 2008, a 4-0 win for Linfield.

It would have been greedy to ask for a repeat, just 1-0 would have done.

Having changed formation last week, Linfield reverted back to 4231, which meant a change in personnel. There was a shock in the starting eleven, as the absence of Joel Cooper from the matchday squad, presumably due to injury, meant a starting place for Matthew Clarke, with Niall Quinn pushed into centre midfield.

It was Ballymena who had the first meaningful attempt on goal in the game, when a James Knowles shot was deflected onto the post.

Linfield responded with a Kirk Millar cross causing panic in Ballymena’s defence, where a header just about denied Niall Quinn a certain goal.

Linfield were in the mood for an early goal and got it when Josh Robinson ventured forward only to see his attempted pass to Andrew Waterworth be blocked, before Niall Quinn made it second time lucky, for Waterworth to finish low into the corner.

A frustrating thing about Waterworth is that he sometimes doesn’t shoot until there is an absolute certain clear shot at goal. He made enough room for himself to fire home. I was in The Kop in the first-half, and it was in from the moment it left his foot.

Linfield couldn’t quite kick on from this and get a second, though Niall Quinn and Andrew Waterworth had shots saved by Ross Glendenning, they were saves you would expect him to make.

Ballymena almost immediately responded to Linfield’s goal when Josh Robinson lost possession trying to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick, the ball going across the goalmouth, though thankfully, there wasn’t a Ballymena player following up.

The big flashpoint of the half came in the final minutes of the half when Jim Ervin was booked for a reckless tackle on Jamie Mulgrew. It should have been a red. The referee was sure of his decision, brandishing a yellow card immediately.

Due to this, the match threatened to boil over. It was lucky that half-time was approaching.

The half-time whistle came with Linfield 1-0 up. Slightly better but not dominant, Linfield offered more of an attacking threat going forward, and were good value for their 1-0 lead.

If they could make it 2-0 early in the second-half, there would be no way back for Ballymena.

However, it was Ballymena who were the more likely to score in the early moments of the second-half.

That pressure on the Linfield goal resulted in a glorious opportunity for Cathair Friel, who managed for fire over when faced with an open net from three yards out.

I was at the other end, the corner of The Kop and Railway Stand by this point, and it looked bad. Seeing it again on TV replays backed that up. It defied science. It could easily stand up to anything on a Danny Baker Own Goals And Gaffes video.

It was the sort of miss that would make you want to hide in a darkened room, which is certainly a better option that staying up all night throwing tantrums on Twitter.

Even though they were struggling to get out of their own half, Linfield were able to create opportunities, with Kyle McClean having a shot blocked by a Ballymena defender, denying a certain goal.

Having missed from three yards out, Cathair Friel tried to use his head, nipping in ahead of Chris Casement, only to see his header turned around for a corner by Gareth Deane.

Ballymena had all the momentum by this point. There was a danger that if they did score, Linfield would be playing for extra-time and hope to get themselves together for those thirty minutes.

Ballymena needed to score for that situation, but Linfield held firm.

Linfield’s first, and as it turned out, only substitution of the game, saw Michael O’Connor come on for Jordan Stewart, an extra body up front giving them more of their attacking threat, as they looked to extend their lead rather than hold on to it.

A Niall Quinn cross saw a hooked clearance deny Kirk Millar a certain goal as Linfield looked to make it 2-0, while a Josh Robinson header from a corner went agonisingly wide.

With each passing minute, Ballymena’s belief drained. With every block by a defender or save by Deane, they knew they weren’t going to score.

Gareth Deane’s match ended with a yellow card in injury time for “Timewasting”.

And yet, apart from Sean O’Neill a few weeks ago, when have you ever seen an opposition goalkeeper booked for timewasting?

A bit of consistency isn’t too much to ask.

As Linfield held out for the 1-0 win, Deane was celebrating a first clean sheet since it was confirmed that Roy Carroll’s season was over, which will be a good confidence boost.

Not that he needed it, as he was happy to lambast his defence when he felt they were making him exposed.

Despite Ballymema’s possession and attempts on goal, a lot of the saves that Deane was making were saves you would expect him to make.

The award for Man Of The Match was announced over the tannoy as Jimmy McLean of Linfield, whoever he is.

That announcement was later corrected as Jimmy Callacher. Part of his prize is a trip to London. If you’re reading Jimmy, feel free to take me.

This match was the first of two successive meetings at Windsor Park between the sides. If the Irish Cup tie against Crusaders had worked out better, it would have been the first of three meetings between the sides at Windsor Park in fourteen days.

Next week’s game is in the League. This result will have no bearing on that game. It represents a great opportunity to really get a stranglehold on the League title, to go nine points clear (albeit with a game more played) and put the pressure on Ballymena to keep up with us.

There will be no time to dwell on the result, with midweek games following that. Ballymena face Cliftonville. Hopefully, they’ll still be enjoying a new manager bounce. They kept a clean sheet in Paddy McLaughlin’s first game in charge, that practically makes him a miracle worker.

Linfield are away to Newry that night. There’s no reason why that can’t be moved to Saturday 2nd March as both teams are out of the Irish Cup. Cliftonville face Glenavon that day, a match that would only have been confirmed last Tuesday, so there’s no reason why the match can’t be moved. Hopefully, the Weather Gods intervene.

If there was a complaint about the marketing of this game, it would be that no tickets were available on the day. Also, that a lot of the communications regarding tickets referred people to Ticketmaster, but didn’t list where Ticketmaster outlets were based. It’s the little things.

Later that night, Edinburgh City went out of the Irn Bru Cup. I was at their First Round game and was hoping they’d go all the way.

Hopefully, Linfield will be back in the competition next season. Without being rude, but if Connah’s Quay can reach the Final, why not Linfield?

This week, it was announced, somewhat prematurely it would seem, that there will be and Irish Champions League clash in November between the Irish League and League Of Ireland Champions. Hopefully, Linfield will be involved. I’ll comment later regarding this idea once Linfield’s destiny for this season is confirmed.

And finally, work started this week on Harland and Wolff Welders new ground, due for completion in January 2020. I’ve had a wee look at it already and hope to get some photos as it progresses and then visit it when it is completed.

So, one trophy in the bag, two more to go for.

Onto the next game.

Photo Album


February 2017 began for me in Manchester, heading over to see United take on Hull City, while also getting some Street Art photos.

Back in Northern Ireland, I was on the road to Drumahoe to see Linfield take on Institute in the Irish Cup.

The next day, I was out on my bike for my biannual (usually February and August) visit to Belfast Peace Wall to get some photos of the Wall Art on the walls.

The following Saturday, another road trip, to Carrickfergus to see Linfield at Taylor’s Avenue

The following weekend, it was back to Windsor Park for Linfield, and a disappointing draw against Portadown.

The morning after, I was out on my bike to get photos of a Jamie Dornan mural in Belfast City Centre.

Later that day, it was another cup final, the NIFL Cup Final between Ballymena and Carrick.

The following weekend, I was Oval bound to see Linfield get a 1-0 win against Glentoran.

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album

Manchester United v Hull City

Manchester United v Hull City Photo Album

Institute v Linfield

Belfast Peace Wall Art

Belfast Peace Wall Art Photo Album

County Antrim Shield Final

County Antrim Shield Final Photo Album

Carrick Rangers v Linfield

Linfield v Portadown

Be My Valentine

Be My Valentine Photo Album

NIFL Cup Final

NIFL Cup Final Photo Album

Glentoran v Linfield


February’s football watching began for me at Old Trafford on the first day of the month, to see Manchester United held to a 0-0 draw by Hull City.

Three days later came the first in a trilogy of road trips, first to Drumahoe to see Linfield take on Institute, then to Ballymena to see Linfield win the County Antrim Shield, and then to Carrick to see Linfield take on Carrick Rangers.

That was then followed by a visit to Windsor Park to see Linfield held to a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Portadown.

The following day, I was Seaview bound to see Ballymena United take on Carrick Rangers in the NIFL Cup Final.

The football watching for the month ended with a trip to The Oval to see Linfield get a 1-0 win against Glentoran.

Manchester United v Hull City

Manchester United v Hull City Photo Album

Institute v Linfield

County Antrim Shield Final

County Antrim Shield Final Photo Album

Carrick Rangers v Linfield

Linfield v Portadown

NIFL Cup Final

NIFL Cup Final Photo Album

Glentoran v Linfield


When Cliftonville exited the League Cup at the Quarter-Final stage in November, it was guaranteed that the League Cup would be leaving North Belfast after residing at Solitude since 2013. When it was announced that Seaview would be the venue for this year’s final, the trophy would be metaphorically and literally leaving North Belfast.

It wouldn’t be leaving too far, a short journey up the motorway to Ballymena or Carrickfergus.

Carrick were hoping that my presence would inspire them. I’ve been something of a good luck charm for them in recent years, being there when they won the Steel and Sons Cup Final, at Seaview funnily enough, in 2014, and for their penultimate game of the season in 2015 against the PSNI, a vital win which set them up for promotion if they won their final game, which they did.

The early minutes saw Ballymena pressure but nothing come of it. Despite that, there was still no opportunity for Carrick to relax. They didn’t help themselves, creating pressure for themselves when a clearance hit one of their own defenders and put them back under pressure. Later on, Brian Neeson punched a corner away, hitting one of his defenders. Fortunately for Carrick, the ball bounced out for another corner.

Allan Jenkins had Ballymena’s first attempt at goal when his header went over. It was Carrick who had the first real chance of the game when TJ Murray fired over from inside the penalty area when unmarked. It wasn’t a clear goalscoring opportunity but he should have done so much better, keep it low and at least make the keeper make a save.

Ross Glendenning was eventually forced into a save from a long range shot from Carrick’s other Murray, Martin. It was one of those saves usually referred to as a “Photographer’s save”. He did get lucky that there were no Carrick players close enough to capitalise on his parry, as he picked up the rebound.

Ballymena’s first real attempt on goal came when Johnny McMurray’s long range shot had to be tipped over by Brian Neeson. McMurray’s next attempt at goal was a snapshot that went just wide.

It looked like being a frustrating evening for Ballymena, until Willie Faulkner ran at Carrick’s defence to create space to get a cross in, which was finished by Allan Jenkins to put Ballymena 1-0 up. For the second successive Saturday, Carrick found themselves going in at half-time to a goal in the final minute of the half.

Carrick, who were set up to win 1-0, now had to win this 2-1.

Carrick actually made a good start to the second-hal, knocking Ballymena off their stride. Despite that, it never looked like an equaliser was inevitible.

There was more frustration for Ballymena when McMurray, Kane and Jenkins all missed chances to score. A 2-0 lead, no matter how long was left would have been enough to secure the trophy. Jenkins miss was the worst of the lot, firing over from close range when, like TJ Murray in the first-half, all he had to do was keep it low and get it on target.

It looked like Ballymena were going to be made to pay for it when a header from a free-kick fell to Adam Salley. He got enough to header it over the onrushing Ross Glendenning, but not enough for the ball to loop in. That was Carrick’s big moment. It never looked like Carrick were going to get another chance like that.

It was another set piece which provided Carrick’s next chance, a low shot from a free-kick teed to Nathan McConnell was saved by Ross Glendinning when it looked like it was going to sneak in.

Unsurprisingly, as the team trailing 1-0, Carrick had a lot of the ball in the final minutes of the game, but Ballymena always looked like holding firm, despite their unusually high amount of goals conceded this season for a team in the top half.

The biggest moment of worry for Ballymena came when TJ Murray went down in the box. I was not far from the incident and didn’t think it was a penalty at the time. Looking back at the incident, i’ve seen them given. If you’re Carrick, you’ll scream for it, if you’re Ballymena, you’d be fuming if it was given against you. It’s a decision that would be easier for the referee to give if the ball was in the middle of the park.

The Ballymena defender did just enough to get his body in the road to stop Murray getting through.

As the game approached injury time, Ballymena got a second on the counter attack when Conor McCloskey was played through and smashed it home from a wide position. It was a goal that deserved to have Alan Partridge commentary.

Carrick’s players were fuming as the game wasn’t stopped in the build-up for TJ Murray to get treatment for an injury sustained in the tackle which won the ball for Ballymena to counter.

For the second successive Saturday, Carrick lost 2-0 as a result of goals in the final minute of each half.

Interesting day in the Glendenning household, with Ross winners medal being trumped by Reece’s hat-trick for Linfield Swifts earlier in the day.

Ballymena fans celebrated their first major trophy since 1989, and now both teams turn their attentions to the rest of the season. Ballymena fans dreaming of Europe either via winning the UEFA Cup Play-Off Final or the Irish Cup. Carrick aren’t dreaming of Europe, but rather Linfield, Glentoran, Ballymena and all the other top flight clubs they will be hoping to visit for League games next season.

Photo Album