Thrilling play-off victory for Dunloy

The Dunloy team who beat FC Antrim in Friday evening's Division 2 play-off final at the Showgrounds. INBT 21-182CS
The Dunloy team who beat FC Antrim in Friday evening's Division 2 play-off final at the Showgrounds. INBT 21-182CS


Dunloy Athletic 5, FC Antrim 3: This Leighinmohr House Hotel sponsored Division Two Play Off Final looked all over when Dunloy went 3-0 up early in the second half but then ten men Antrim staged a great comeback to level the tie at 3-3 only to be hit by two late goals by Dunloy Athletic which won them the Cup and promotion to Division One.

Dunloy took the game to Antrim from the offset with Conor McTaggart at the heart of everything good they were doing and it was him who opened the scoring on 18 minutes when he broke down the left cut inside and fired into the bottom corner of the net.

After continuous Dunloy pressure they went 2-0 up when Michael McClements got the ball on the right and cleverly chipped the ball over Antrim keeper Martin Campbell.

Antrim were given a lifeline two minutes before half time when Sean Redmond was brought down in the penalty area and they were awarded a penalty kick. Captain Shane Donnelly stepped up only for his spot kick to be saved by Dunloy keeper James Scally to keep his side 2-0 in front at the break.

Dunloy had the wind at their backs in the second half and looked to be cruising when Tony McCloskey broke the offside trap to score.

Antrim then were dealt a body blow when they had a player sent off for dissent but instead of crumbling they fought back and Oran McAuley breathed life into the match when he headed home at the back post to make it 3-1.

Substitute Simon Williams went close for Antrim soon after as he forced James Scally into a save and then minutes later he had a cross which was diverted into the net by a Dunloy defender to make it 3-2.

The comeback was completed 10 minutes from time when Simon Williams broke through and fired home to level the final.

Dunloy hit back when John McFerran beat the offside trap to slide his side back in front with seven minutes to play.

Three minutes later Dunloy clinched victory and with it a place in Division One for next season when substitute Dominic Dillon again beat the offside trap to fire home and make it 5-3.

After the final whistle Captain Tony McCloskey and injured player Conor McKinley received the Allen Cup from League Secretary Brian Montgomery and the celebrations started..

Dunloy Athletic: James Scally, Daniel McMullan, Mark McFadden, Brendan Dillon, Sean Rainey, Connor McTaggart, Michael McClements, Tony McCloskey, Kevin Molloy, Brendan McCarry, John McFerran. Substitutes: Anthony cQuillan, Domonic Dillon, Connor McWilligan, Michael McFadden.

FC Antrim: Martin Campbell, Stephen Holden, Kevin Downey, James mcCashel, Brian Williamson, John Hamilton, Shane Donnelly, OPan McAuley, Sean Redmond, John McCoy, Ryan Somers. Substitutes: Joe McKernan, Thomas Owens, Simon Williams, Stephen Hamilton, Martin Brammeld.

Referee: Mr Finlay Sloan, Assistant Referees: Mr Timmy Hume and Mr John Leith.