Ronan Hale the Larne hero as Inver Park celebrates European history

Ronan Hale’s memorable goal capped a memorable night for Larne as Inver Park celebrated a first European home fixture with a path into the second qualifying stage of the Europa Conference League.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 9:44 pm

Enjoying a 1-0 advantage over Bala Town from the first leg, Larne walked out on home soil having made history by reaching the European stage for the first time.

And Ronan Hale stepped off the sidelines and on to the scoresheet on 84 minutes with a spectacular looping shot to mark the occasion with a 1-0 win and send Larne marching on courtesy of a 2-0 aggregate triumph.

Davy McDaid - scorer of the sole goal from Larne’s first-leg win - had an ambitious long-range effort dip just over the bar on nine minutes.

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Larne and Bala Town players battle at Inver Park during the Europa Conference League meeting. It marked a first European home tie in club history for Larne. Pic by Pacemaker.
Larne and Bala Town players battle at Inver Park during the Europa Conference League meeting. It marked a first European home tie in club history for Larne. Pic by Pacemaker.

Dean Jarvis then picked out Lee Lynch and the latter’s shot forced Alex Ramsay into a save from distance.

Bala’s first sight of goal arrived on 12 minutes when David Edwards’ header off a corner-kick found William Evans at the back post but the effort proved too high.

A dangerous Mark Randall delivery had Ramsay out to claim before the Larne player’s corner-kick soon after was met by John Herron inside the packed penalty area, eventually finding the side-netting.

Edwards’ attempt from the edge of the box then failed to find the target.

Lynch’s pass was fired just wide by Jarvis before the break and the latter tested Bala with a fine solo run either side of the interval.

Conor McKendry was introduced just before the hour mark and he came close to breaking the deadlock 10 minutes later but Ramsay produced the save to frustrate the hosts following a slick move.

Another player stepped off the sidelines to enjoy an exciting impact when Martin Donnelly joined play on 67 minutes and, within moments, had one close-range attempt blocked and a follow-up second saved.

Hale also started as a substitute but made his mark during a significant closing cameo.

One low drive flashed past the post on 83 minutes before he found the net in style on 88 to send Larne towards a second qualifying round date with Denmark’s AGF Aarhus.

LARNE: Ferguson, Cosgrove, Balmer (Watson, 78), Bolger, Hughes, Jarvis, Sule, Herron, Randall (Donnelly, 67), Lynch (McKendry, 55), McDaid (Hale, 78).

Subs (not used): Argyrides, Kelly, Robinson, Mitchell, Scott, Lusty.

BALA TOWN: Ramsay, Rutherford (Bauress, 67), Kay, Spittle, Woods (S.Smith, 83), K.Smith (Walker-Rice, 83), Shannon, Mendes (Leslie, 73), Evans, Edwards, Venables.

Subs (not used): Lloyd, Peate, Stephens.

Referee: Dario Bel.

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