18 Mar 2023
© Desmond Loughery/Pacemaker Press Joe Moore celebrates scoring Dungannon's winner at Solitude

What a breathtaking and significant conclusion to this weekend’s Danske Bank Premiership action it proved to be!

Late goals around the grounds could end up proving decisive at both ends of the table with just one round of pre-split games remaining.

Leaders Larne kicked the weekend off on Friday night with a professional but comfortable victory over Ballymena United at Inver Park. Andy Ryan bagged the only goal of the game just before the interval after poking home a Paul O’Neill chip into the box.

Linfield seem to be Larne’s nearest challengers now, albeit with a seven-point gap to bridge. And they hit seven goals in what turned out to be an annihilation of Newry City at Windsor Park.

Joel Cooper helped himself to four – one early on, a couple just before the break and another midway through the second half – with Chris McKee also hitting two in addition to a 25th minute finish from Matthew Clarke.

Cliftonville lost ground in the title race following a sensational finish at Solitude against Dungannon Swifts.

Scoreless at the break, Ronan Hale looked to have handed the Reds all three points with a back post header around the hour, but goals from Padraig Lynch on 89 minutes and Joseph Moore deep into stoppage time secured what will be a huge win for the Swifts in their battle at the foot of the table.

There was also drama at Shamrock Park after Portadown earned a point against Crusaders.

Paul McElroy fired the resurgent Ports in front just after the half-hour mark but second half goals from Ross Clarke and Philip Lowry tipped the balance in favour of the Crues. However, Alan O’Sullivan popped up with sixty seconds remaining to ensure it finished honours even.

There were no such issues for Glentoran as they swept to a four-goal defeat of Carrick Rangers at the Loughview Leisure Arena.

A quiet first half produced no goals but a Niall McGinn double, coupled with late finishes from Luke McCullough and Terry Devlin saw the visitors run out comfortable victors.

Meanwhile, at Mourneview Park, Glenavon came from behind to get the better of Coleraine by the odd goal in three.

Andy Scott had edged the Bannsiders in front midway through the first half, but Matthew Fitzpatrick levelled on 69 minutes before Michael O’Connor hit the late winner.