SAM’S A BLUEDOG: Sam Ireland, left, during a stint with Urunga on the Mid North Coast. The former Lennox Head striker has signed for Bangalow in the Far North Coast premier league.
SAM’S A BLUEDOG: Sam Ireland, left, during a stint with Urunga on the Mid North Coast. The former Lennox Head striker has signed for Bangalow in the Far North Coast premier league. Leigh Jensen

Soccer: Rovers, Rams flex muscles

PREMIERSHIP favourites Richmond Rovers and Byron Bay have kicked off the Far North Coast premier league soccer season with solid wins in the opening round.

Rovers' attacking line-up continues to accumulate goals, racking up a comprehensive 5-0 home win over Lismore Workers, while Byron Bay had to work a lot harder for a 3-2 away result against an improved Bangalow.

Rovers' threat from set plays was emphasised with their first three goals coming from Jacob Heffernan corners, as Dan Flynn, Bobby Bugden and Matthew Olley all capitalised.

A second goal from Olley and another from Jake Nind wrapped up the emphatic win, but ominously Rovers coach Bobby Bugden was not happy with the effort, describing it as the team's worst performance so far.

Byron Bay were given an early surprise against Bangalow when Bluedogs' new signing Sam Ireland scored in the opening minutes.

The former Lennox Head striker signed up just days ago, and is a valuable addition to the side.

The Rams responded through two goals from Tyson Kaye, with Lachlan Dewer involved in both.

After the break Aaron Walker capitalised on a defensive error and chipped the Bluedogs' goalkeeper for the Rams' third goal, all but wrapping up the game.

But Bangalow fought to the end with a second goal from Ireland giving the Rams some nervous moments before the final whistle.

Alstonville striker Rick Hanna starred in an upset 2-1 home win over Lismore Thistles.

The Blues led at half-time thanks to a Chris Hunt goal but Hanna's pace and timing allowed him to crack their defensive line twice and finish one-on-one chances past Blues 'keeper Nathan White.

Lennox Head dispelled their early doubts about participating in the premier league this year with a solid 3-0 away win over newly promoted Italo Stars.

After a tight first half, the Sharks' young strikers did the damage in the second, with two goals from Kiahn Corrigan and another from Tull Carach.

It looks like a long, hard season ahead for Casino after the Cobras lost 11-1 to a red-hot Goonellabah.

The Hornets' Batok Ring finish- ed with a hat-trick, while Lloyd Howard and Matt Armstrong scored two goals each.



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