Darren Stuart (09)
Stephen O'Neill (42)


Shea Campbell (66p)


Darren Stuart scored Larne's first goal of the season (Picture: Kevin Scott/PressEye.com)


Larne got their season off to an ideal start with a 2-1 win at home to Armagh City in the NIFL Championship opener.

Darren Stuart grabbed Larne's first goal of the season on nine minutes. Samuel McIlveen sent in a teasing cross from a free kick on the left and Stuart glanced a head past John Connolly into the corner of the net.

Larne doubled the lead three minutes before the break. Michael Smith burst into the box and had the presense of mind to square the ball along the edge of the six yard box for Stephen O'Neill to tap home at the back post on his competitive debut for the club.

Philip Donnelly got in behind the Larne defence once in the first half, but he blasted his shot high of the bar. Joel Madison, in the Larne goal, also had to think quickly to prevent a Kevin Bradley own goal.

In the second half, neither team conceded too many chances initially, but City had the chance to get themselves back into the game from the penalty spot. The referee deemed that Matthew Henry had fouled Donnelly inside the penalty area. Shea Campbell stepped up and netted the spot kick on 66 minutes, but Joel Madison was unlucky not to see his intervention keep the ball out of the net.

The Inver Reds almost restored their two goal lead immediately. O'Neill got clear and saw hit shot and two subsequent rebounds saved by Connolly before it was scrambled clear.

James McCabe had a great chance when Gary Dorrian found him at the back post, but his header was off target. McCabe also managed to get in behind the Armagh defence. He rounded Connolly and only excellent work from Dara Noonan prevented a goal.

Larne: Madison, Bradley, Buckley, Rodgers, McKenna, McIlveen, Irvine, Smith, Stuart, O'Neill, Maguire subs Thompson (not used), Kane (not used), Dorrian (replaced Irvine 77), Henry (replaced Stuart 58), McCabe (replaced O'Neill 73)

Armagh City: Connolly, Toal, Mallon, Lennon, Noonan, Kelly, Mullen, Bell, Murray, Donnelly, Carville subs Campbell (replaced Mullen 62), Grimley (not used), McGlone (not used), Clarke (not used)

Referee: Peter McGrath

Tags:  Armagh City  Larne