IN CONTROL: Tane Meek (right) starts another attack for his Byron Bay Rams side during the crushing semi-final Anzac Cup victory against Richmond Rovers.
IN CONTROL: Tane Meek (right) starts another attack for his Byron Bay Rams side during the crushing semi-final Anzac Cup victory against Richmond Rovers. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Anzac Cup final may be Thistles/Rams clash for second year

REVENGE is in the air for Byron Bay Rams.

The Rams set up a rematch of last year's Tursa Employment and Training Anzac Cup final against Cup holder Lismore Thistles after sealing a 3-0 home win over Richmond Rovers in their semi-final clash on Sunday.

Byron began slowly, with Rovers having several half-chances early on.

The Rams found their rhythm once midfielder Sam McIntire scored their opening goal after 20 minutes.

The former Hobart premier league midfielder latched on to a ball following a corner, blasting his shot into the top of the net.

Boosted by the goal, the confident Rams displayed some crisp passing in midfield leading to Dakota Dixon King crossing for Sam Owens to meet the ball on the burst and slot their second goal.

With a 2-0 half-time lead Byron had the game in hand and their ability to hold the ball combined with their fitness, allowed them to dictate terms for most of the second half.

With 15 minutes to go they put the result beyond doubt with a third goal, again from a corner.

Former Sutherland premier league midfielder Michael Kelly came on as a sub and when Rovers failed to effectively clear the ball, he hit a sweet left foot shot that gave goalkeeper Andrew Marshall no chance.

The Rams now have the chance to avenge their 2-0 loss to Thistles in last year's Cup final.

"It was a good win," Rams coach Damon Bell said.

"We've got a strong squad this year and we're looking forward to another crack at Thistles on Anzac Day.

"But we can't afford to start slowly as we did against Rovers.

"We did it against Thistles last year in the final and they punished us, so we've got to learn our lesson".

Rovers coach Brian Bugden was left frustrated by his side's performance, after a good start to the year.

"We were reluctant to shoot and our history of not effectively clearing corners hurt us again," a disappointed Bugden said.

"But Byron deserved to win it, they completely outplayed us and they look like genuine premiership contenders on that performance".

CUP FINALS

ALL matches being played at Lismore's Oakes Oval:

Callan Mcmillan Shield (Thursday, April 24)

B Division: Mullumbimby Brunswick Valley v Byron Bay (6pm).

A Division: Bangalow v Alstonville (8pm).

Anzac Cup: (Friday, April 25)

Grade 16: Mullumbimby Brunswick Valley v Casino (12.05pm)

Open B: South Lismore v Alstonville (2pm)

Open A: Shores United v Richmond Rovers (4.15pm)

Premier Division: Lismore Thistles v Byron Bay (7pm)


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