Sion Swifts win seven-goal thriller to lead NIWFA Championship

Ballymena Utd v St James Swifts, NIWFA Championship
Ballymena United tackle St James Swifts. (Bob Hall Sports Photography)

Sion Swifts are new leaders in the NIWFA Championship, recovering from two goals down to win 4-3 at Bangor.

Lydia Clarke and Amanda Morton fired the Seasiders into the two-goal lead but Rachel Barnaby calmly converted two penalties to get Swifts level. Hannah Gibson then bagged a brace for a 4-2 lead at the break, Amber Dempster pulling one back.

The other top-four game saw Ballymena Untied and St.James Swifts draw 2-2, the latter leading twice through Katierose Rice and Chloe Tully, Ellen McClure’s effort and an own-goal from Lauren Mulligan meant that the spoils were shared.

Camlough Rovers bounced back from an early Regan Montgomery strike for Comber Rec to ease home 7-2, thanks mainly to a four-goal salvo from Olivia Connolly.

Foyle Belles’ disappointing season continued as they lost 4-0 at home to St Oliver Plunkett whose Ellie Kearns scored twice, Ballyclare Comrades and Belfast Celtic played out a goalless draw.

A combination of leaders Greenisland cruising past Kilmore Rec and Ballymoney United losing to Ballyclare Comrades Reserves, means that the County Antrim side have opened up a seven-point gap at the top of the Division 1 table. Ambassadors also made the most of Ballymoney’s slip up by defeating Armagh 3-1 to move into second place, while Ballynahinch defeated Rosario.

Ballyclare Comrades Reserves v Greenisland, NIWFA Division 1
Ballyclare Comrades Reserves challenge Greenisland in NIWFA Division 1. (Photo: Ephy McConnell)

A superb 1-0 win for Craigavon City at the home to Division 2 leaders Strabane Athletic closed what had been a three-point gap at the top, to ensure that the two sides are now level on points at the summit. Coleraine won their big derby game against Ballymena Reserves 2-1, whilst in a feisty encounter the 22nd Ladies brushed aside bottom side Banbridge Town 5-1.

Lisbellaw remain top of Division 3 following victory over Portadown, although second-placed Belfast Ravens ensured that the gap remains at only four points after victory at Dromara Village. Maiden City and Mid Ulster Reserves defeated Ballymoney United Reserves and Carrick Rangers Falcons respectively.

It was home comforts all the way this week in Division 4, Antrim Town, Raceview, Belfast Swifts and Ballynahinch Olympic all securing three points. It’s still neck and neck between Antrim and Raceview at the top, with two sides level on points some ten clear of third-placed Draperstown Celtic.

Valley Rangers secured a fine 3-1 win over Oxford Sunnyside to retain a four point lead in Division 5, although St.Marys (who have a game in hand on the leaders) ensured they remained well in the hunt following victory over Shorts. Donegal Celtic will also be ecstatic, as they picked up their first points of the season after defeating Rathfriland 1-0. In the North Down derby, Ards Rangers drew with Comber Rec Reserves.

Greenisland II beat Bloomfield to keep up their perfect form, Carrick Rangers Falcons II, Wellington Rec and Holywood also picked up three points this week in Division 6.

In the Development Division, Civil Service moved five points clear after victory over Dungiven Celtic, while Hanover and Belfast Ravens III battled out a scoreless draw.

Round up by Colin Hopkins

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