Ballymena United 2 - 0 Donegal Celtic

County Antrim Shield - Quarter final
Tuesday, September 11th, 2007, 7:45 PM at Ballymena Showgrounds
Referee: Alan Black (Antrim)
Ballymena United  Donegal Celtic

Davitt Walsh (pen.) (11)
Mark Picking (70)
Paul McDonald (33)
David Munster (38)
Sean Armstrong (63)
Stephen McAlorum (87)

Team Managers
Tommy Wright
Paddy Kelly

Starting Eleven
Paul Murphy
Albert Watson
Craig McClean
Simon Kelly
Aidan Watson
Garth Scates
Gary Haveron
Mark Picking
Stephen Lowry
Davitt Walsh
Paul Brown
Declan Brown
Andrew Bonnar
Ciaran Donaghy
Noel Cardwell
Tony Heagney
Stephen McAlorum
David Munster
James Lavery
Sean Armstrong
Paul McDonald
Paul McVeigh

Sean O'Neill
Jonathan Flynn
Lee Patrick
Paul McNeill
Randal Reid
Anto Crawford
Ciaran Gargin
Conor McCourty
Mal Harbinson

Randal Reid for Davitt Walsh (80)
Lee Patrick for Garth Scates (84)
Paul McNeill for Mark Picking (89)
Anto Crawford for Tony Heagney (65)
Ciaran Gargin for Paul McDonald (65)
Conor McCourty for James Lavery (75)

None. None.

Red Cards
None. None.
Appearances & Goals To Date
Paul Murphy (GK) 46 apps -
Simon Kelly 18 apps1 goal
Craig McClean 65 apps -
Albert Watson 178 apps6 goals
Garth Scates 134 apps14 goals
Stephen Lowry 16 apps -
Aidan Watson 65 apps3 goals
Mark Picking 45 apps11 goals
Gary Haveron 81 apps9 goals
Davitt Walsh 3 apps5 goals
Paul Brown 38 apps6 goals
Lee Patrick (sub) 53 apps7 goals
Paul McNeill (sub) 1 app (debut) -
Randal Reid (sub) 21 apps4 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Stephen Lowry (20 years 337 days)
Oldest Player:Mark Picking (31 years 275 days)
Average Player Age:24 years 101 days
Domestic Players:9 (81.82 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Jonathan Flynn (17 years 301 days)
Oldest Player:Mark Picking (31 years 275 days)
Average Player Age:23 years 139 days
Domestic Players:14 (87.50 % of matchday squad)

GOALS from Davitt Walsh and Mark Picking fired the Sky Blues into the semi-finals of the County Antrim Shield, after a solid win over Donegal Celtic.

Ballymena faced a tougher opponent in this quarter-final tie at the Showgrounds, than in the last round - where the Braidmen disposed of Orangefield OB with consumate ease.

However, it took only 11 minutes for the home side to open the scoring.

Aidan Watson's fierce volley from outside the box was handled in the penalty area by Celtic midfielder Stephen McAlorum and referee Alan Black didn't hesitate as he pointed to the penalty spot.

Davitt Walsh, on loan from Bohemians, stepped up to tuck the ball away for his fifth goal in only three games for his new side.

Ex-United favourite Ciaran Donaghy came closest for the visitors when he headed Andrew Bonner's free-kick over the bar from close range.

Chances were few and far between, but Ballymena dominated possession in the first half and were good for their lead going into the break.

Paddy Kelly's Donegal Celtic side came out all guns blazing in the second half and came within a whisker of equalising when Sean Armstrong rattled the crossbar in the 58th minute.

However, it was Mark Picking who sealed victory with 20 minutes remaining, as he latched onto a sublime pass from Walsh, and weaved his way into the penalty area before unleashing a fantastic shot past the helpless Declan Brown.

In the closing minutes Stephen McAlorum was fortunate to stay on the field after a dangerous tackle on goalkeeper Paul Murphy, he was one of four Donegal Celtic players cautioned on the night.

A place in the semi-final assured the Warden Street Sky Blues can look forward to facing one of Linfield/Cliftonville, Glentoran or Crusaders in the semi-final, next month.

Match report written by Official Ballymena United website

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