Report by Peter Wilson
Larne got the new Premiership season off to the perfect start with a comfortable 3-0 win at home to Dungannon Swifts. Goals from Marty Donnelly, Davy McDaid and a late penalty from Ronan Hale were enough to give the Invermen a relatively routine victory.
Both teams got off to a good start and each had chances to go ahead early on.
In the second minute, a Mark Randall corner from the left fell to Josh Robinson, but he flashed his effort over from close range after arriving at pace.
For the Swifts on three minutes, Albert Watson lost the ball to James Teelan on the edge of the box. After a 50/50 challenge with Conor Devlin, Lorcan Forde picked up possession but slotted the follow-up wide.
The first goal took just 11 minutes to arrive and it was Marty Donnelly who got it. After some patient build-up play from the Invermen, Randall laid the ball off on the edge of the box and Donnelly finished, curling it into the top left.
Just two minutes later, the hosts had their second and, on this occasion, it was Davy McDaid who latched onto Mark Randall’s inviting through-ball and slid the ball low through the legs of Sam Johnston.
Dungannon had few chances in the first half, but Kris Lowe’s effort on the half hour mark wasn’t far away from reducing the arrears.
On 41 minutes, Dean Jarvis drove down the left channel and played the ball across to McDaid at the near post but he placed his effort into the side-netting.
Half-time: Larne 2 Dungannon Swifts 0
It remained relatively comfortable for Larne during the second half and there were few chances to report on.
Half-time substitute Andy Scott came close with 69 minutes gone but, after cutting in from the left, his rasping drive just inside the box crashed off the far post.
With four minutes left of normal time, Jeff Hughes was brought down in the box and Ronan Hale despatched the penalty from 12 yards for 3-0.
Hale thought he had his second goal of the afternoon when he finished from a tight angle, but the referee adjudged it to be offside.
Full-time: Larne 3 Dungannon Swifts 0
Larne: Devlin, Watson, Robinson, Herron (Lynch 87’), Sule, Randall (Scott 46’), McDaid, Donnelly, (Hale 78’), Cosgrove, Hughes (c), Jarvis
Unused Subs: Kelly, A Mitchell, Murr, Wade Slater
Dungannon Swifts: Johnston, Coyle, Teggart, King, Byers, Lowe, Hughes, Smyth (Patton 81’), Campbell, Forde (Devlin 70’), Teelan
Unused Subs: Byrne, McGinty, Brennan, O’Kane, Glenny
Referee: Christopher Morrison
Larne are on the road next week as they face Carrick Rangers at the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena, on Saturday 24 October (3pm).
Photo: Bill Guiller