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Saturday 03 Feb 2024
Clearer Water Irish Cup | Sixth Round recap

Ballyclare Comrades and Newington grabbed the headlines on another day of high drama and excitement as the Clearer Water Irish Cup reached the sixth round stage.

The Championship sides overturned Premiership opponents on the road to book their places in the last eight and will be joined in those quarter-finals by Institute, Linfield, Larne, Portadown, Cliftonville and Glentoran.

Stephen Small’s Comrades twice came from behind to defeat Dungannon Swifts by the odd goal in five at Stangmore Park.

The Swifts led at the break after Cahal McGinty had opened the scoring on 37 minutes with a header from Kealan Dillon’s free-kick.

Ballyclare levelled on 69 minutes when Gary Donnelly floated a free-kick into the far corner, but Thomas Maguire restored the home advantage just five minutes after that.

Back came the Comrades just moments later when Alan McMurtry found the bottom corner before, with just three minutes remaining, Darius Roohi popped up with the winner when he turned a Liam Hassin through ball in off the upright.

At The Showgrounds Newington also rallied after falling behind to get the better of Newry City.

All the goals came in the first half, with Brandon Doyle edging City in front with around a quarter-of-an-hour on the clock after finding himself in space to fire a low finish past Marc Maybin.

But two goals either side of the half-hour mark from new signing Ruaidhri Donnelly saw the Swans flip the game on its head and ultimately secure safe passage into the next round.

The Glentoran loanee struck on 28 minutes with a back post header after connecting with a corner from the left before, a matter of minutes later, he doubled up with the easiest of finishes after being teed up by Patrick Downey.

Indeed four Championship clubs will line up in the quarter-finals after both Portadown and Institute also progressed with defeats of fellow Championship sides Bangor and Ards respectively.

Zach Barr scored both goals for the Ports as they got past the Seasiders 2-1 at Shamrock Park.

The 29-year-old bagged the fastest goal of the day with a sixth minute strike past James Taylor, but Ben Arthurs hit Bangor’s equaliser midway through the first half with a nodded finish from Tiarnan Mulvenna’s corner.

However Barr claimed what proved to be the winner with just over 10 minutes left on the clock with a header inside the area from a Gary Thompson pass.

‘Stute needed just one goal to progress at Ards’ expense at the Brandywell with Mikhail Kennedy netting on eight minutes with a near post header.

The three all-Premiership ties all went the way of the home sides with Cliftonville, Larne and Linfield all going safely through.

Cliftonville knocked four goals without reply past Loughgall at Solitude.

Joe Gormley kicked the scoring off just after the half-hour mark with a calm finish past Berraat Turker before, early in the second half, Ronan and Rory Hale both found the net within a couple of minutes of each other, with Ronan wrapping it all up with his second of the afternoon eight minutes from time.

Larne went one better at Inver Park with a five-goal haul against Glenavon, with Lee Bonis bagging the only hat-trick of the day.

He notched a double in the latter stages of the first half. The opener was an assured finish after he took the ball past Gareth Deane and then he made the most of a defensive mistake for his brace.

Andy Ryan got in on the act early in the second half with two of his own. He extended Larne’s advantage after beating Deane to the ball on 52 minutes and then struck from the spot seven minutes later after being brought down by the visiting keeper inside the area.

It was Bonis who went home with the match ball, however, when he finished comfortably later in the half after Paul O’Neill had unselfishly laid the ball off.

Meanwhile, at Windsor Park, a goal in each half saw Linfield defeat Ballymena United.

Chris McKee found the net for the opener on 14 minutes after the ball was deflected into his path, with Chris Shields effectively making sure for the Blues just after the hour from the spot.

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