15 Apr 2023
© Desmond Loughery/Pacemaker Press Niall Quinn celebrates scoring Linfield's winner

The title race might have been settled but that didn’t stop Saturday’s action producing no shortage of drama as the season still promises to produce many twists and turns.

Larne clinched the Gibson Cup for the first time in the history of the club on Friday evening thanks to a goal in each half from Andy Ryan and Lee Bonis giving them victory – and now an unassailable lead at the top - at Seaview.

Outgoing champions Linfield are very much in the box seat with regard to securing second spot and an automatic European place following a narrow one-goal defeat of Coleraine at The Showgrounds.

Scoreless for most of the game the Blues snatched the winner with three minutes remaining when Niall Quinn drilled the ball through a crowded goalmouth after a Kyle Lafferty cross was only partially cleared.

Glentoran leapfrogged Cliftonville into third spot following a blistering first half showing at the BetMcLean Oval.

Junior Uzokwe opened the scoring for the Glens on 19 minutes from eight yards before Bobby Burns struck with a double. His first, low into the bottom, came just after the half-hour mark while he rifled his second into the top corner in stoppage time.

In Section B Portadown handed their survival hopes a huge boost with a 3-1 home win over Carrick Rangers.

Cathair Friel opened the scoring on 14 minutes with a curling free-kick from the edge of the area while Joshua Archer doubled the Ports’ lead in the 32nd minute after taking the ball round Ross Glendinning.

Ben Tilney pulled one back for the ‘Gers on the hour but Friel made sure of the points for Niall Currie’s side late on after finding himself unmarked in the area.

Glenavon secured seventh spot and a potential European play-off spot with a one-goal defeat of Newry City at The Showgrounds after Jack Malone bagged the 62nd minute winner with a low drilled finish past Steven Maguire.

Meanwhile, Ballymena United ended their long barren spell with a 2-0 goal home win over Dungannon Swifts.

Both goals came in the closing moments. Jordan Gibson opened the scoring on 87 minutes after latching onto David McDaid’s pass while Kym Nelson hit a second in stoppage time with a superb long range effort.