Ardagh Glass Sectional League Cup



By Martin Rogan

Few would have anticipated such an overwhelming victory for the visitors but after just 15 minutes it was clear that Muirkirk would run out easy winners.

Home keeper Ronnie Davis had to punch away a shot from Graeme Condon off Darren McIntyre's pass in the opening minutes.

The watch was showing just four minutes played when Muirkirk took the lead. Marc Maguire sent in a corner from the right and, with defenders slow to react, Paul Millar headed the ball into the net.

Barely a minute later the Lugar defence was dissected again and when Ross Ballantyne's shot was parried by Davis the only one to react was Maguire who knocked in the loose ball.

Lugar attempted a response and almost got a goal back when Andy Struthers put pressure on Robbi Wilson and the ball was lost by the keeper only for Stuart Anderson to clear the danger right on the goal line.

A lob from Stuart Milligan almost deceived Wilson but the game was over as a contest when Condon sprang a malfunctioning offside trap and passed to Ballantyne who netted goal number three.

A reaction from the home side might have been expected but it was not forthcoming and Davis came to Lugar's rescue when he diverted a Ballantyne drive past the post then dived to his right again to save a McIntyre effort after Ballantyne had put him through.

The introduction of Robbie Crolley to shore up the collapsing home defence had some effect but three minutes from half-time Muirkirk grabbed a fourth goal. McIntyre fired in a free-kick which Davis could only push out and, yet again, the tardy reactions of the defenders allowed Ballantyne to net the rebound.

After the break Muirkirk still looked more likely to score than Lugar and a Condon effort from the left side of the penalty area came back off the base of the far post with Davis beaten.

Ballantyne dispossessed Jordan Malone on the edge of the box but couldn't produce a shot to beat Davis on that occasion then the same player fired over the bar after Condon had knocked the ball down.

At the other end, Wilson was rarely troubled at all although he did save one effort from Lewis Blair following good work by substitute Jamie Conn on the left wing.

Seven minutes from time Muirkirk underlined their superiority with a fifth goal. After a corner-kick to Lugar was cleared, the ball fell to Ballantyne wide on the right and he struck an outrageous lob that slipped through the keeper's fingers and the ball dropped into the net completing an evening of joy for Muirkirk but a night of horror for the home side.

LUGAR BOSWELL THISTLE: Davis, Montgomerie, Lowe, Malone, Drummond, Curtis, Orr, Struthers, Milligan, Blair, Shirkie.

Subs: Birrell, Brown, Conn, Crolley, McFarlane.

MUIRKIRK: Wilson, Ross, Peck, Rodgers, Anderson, McIntyre, Maguire, Millar, Condon, Ballantyne, Murtagh.

Subs: Campbell, Stevenson, Kiltie, Barrie, Platt.