Danske Bank Premiership review: Champions Crusaders thrash Ballymena
Crusaders 6 Ballymena United 0
CHAMPIONS Crusaders got their league season off to a flyer with a six-goal demolition of Ballymena at Seaview on Saturday.
Jordan Owens struck a hat-trick for the Crues, while Paul Heatley chipped in with two and Gavin White also grabbed a goal.
The trouncing will serve as a warning to Crusaders’ title rivals while, for Ballymena, a season of struggle may lie in store.
Glenavon 4 Carrick Rangers 0
PADDY McCourt’s Mourneview Park debut didn’t go exactly to plan as the former Celtic star limped off before half-time on his first day at the office for Glenavon.
With the game goalless at the break, Brian McCall will have been rueing his snatched shot that would have put Carrick into a surprise lead.
The floodgates opened in the second-half, however, with a Rhys Marshall double, Joel Cooper and Mark Patton securing the three points for Glenavon.
Ballinamallard United 1 Linfield 2
KIRK Millar’s effort from the close to the halfway line was enough to secure maximum points for Linfield at Ferney Park.
Philip Lowry had headed the Blues in front after just seven minutes, but a cracking Ryan McConnell volley from the edge of the box put Ballinamallard back on level terms before the break.
Things don’t get any easier for Ballinamallard as they travel to Portadown on Wednesday night, while Linfield will host Coleraine.
Glentoran 1 Dungannon Swifts 0
Ciaran Caldwell was the hero for Glentoran as they beat Dungannon Swifts by a single goal at the Oval.
The game was scoreless at half-time, prompting Glens manager Alan Kernaghan to introduce Glasgow Rangers legend Nacho Novo as a second-half substitute. Although visibly out of shape, Novo did produce some deft touches when up against the Dungannon defence.
But it was Caldwell who was the hero for Glentoran, rifling into the roof of the net from close range to give the home side maximum points.