By Peter Wilson
LARNE made a statement of intent on their return to the top flight as they thrashed an uninspiring Warrenpoint Town 6-0.
David McDaid and Martin Donnelly picked up from where they left off last season, scoring a brace each with skipper Jeff Hughes and Mark Randall responsible for the remaining two goals – Randall’s goal coming from all of 45 yards. The win leaves Larne top of the Premiership table after the opening weekend.
The visitors threatened early on as Francis McCaffrey struck a free-kick well but it was comfortably held by Conor Devlin in the end.
On five minutes, Martin Donnelly took a stab at goal as his free-kick from range dipped over the bar.
However Donnelly was to get his goal less than 15 minutes later as he ruthlessly exploited a mix-up from Town defender Emmett Bennett to cut inside and coolly finish into the bottom left past Beerat Turker.
Skipper Jeff Hughes played through David McDaid with great ball on 36 minutes, but the striker’s shot edged just wide of the near post.
With four minutes to go until the interval, Mark Randall stole the ball from substitute Matthew Taylor and flashed his shot wide of the right post.
Hughes turned from provider to goalscorer on the stroke of half-time as he strolled the ball into the net after nicking it off the feet of Turker.
The hosts got the second period off to a flying start as Donnelly played the ball across goal to McDaid at the back post who tucked away for 3-0.
Only six minutes later, the Invermen were at it again as McDaid tapped in the rebound after Donnelly’s initial shot was saved by Turker.
Number five arrived 70 minutes in Randall spectacularly lobbed the Warrenpoint keeper from 45 yards out, to make it 5-0 in spectacular fashion.
On 72 minutes, Lee Lynch charged away from the rest of the pack and set up Johnny McMurray but his effort was agonisingly wide of the mark.
The final goal of a fantastic afternoon for Tiernan Lynch’s men arrived four minutes later, when Donnelly capped his man of the match performance with a second goal. He was given time to bring the ball down inside the box, and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom left corner of Turker’s net.
Larne: Devlin, Kelly, Watson, McEleney, Sule, Randall (Hassin), McDaid (McMurray), Donnelly, Tilney, Cosgrove, Hughes (Lynch)
Unused subs: Mitchell, Ramsey, Stewart, Graham
Warrenpoint Town: Turker, White, Bennett (O’Kane), Reilly, McVeigh, O’Sullivan, McCaffrey (Taylor), Doyle, Watters, O’Connor (Griffin), Wallace
Unused subs: Byrne, Prendergast, Copes
Referee: Andrew Davey
Man of the Match: Martin Donnelly