The Euro Electrix NIWFA League has ended the season in its own unique way – with a host of Olympian cup shoot-outs.
Seven division finals have closed a summer of football that more than lived up to expectations.
League chair Elaine Junk: “We strive continually to improve the standard and the enjoyment of the League which indeed is flourishing. Competition throughout most of the divisions has become keener, leading to some great football matches.
“The finals are very popular and though a couple were expectedly one-sided, it didn’t stop the losers on these occasions from competing sportingly. Well done to them.
“Our thanks go to all teams for their efforts and endeavours. Congratulations to all winners.
“Other teams deserve applause for the way in which they competed during the season. It’s been a good year.”
There was compensation for the surrender of their League title as Glentoran BU retained the Premier Cup.
Two first half goals allayed any fears that dogged them since the evening Ballymena Allstars inflicted damage beyond repair as far as the retention of their crown was concerned.
United sandpapered the jagged edge of a defeat that was so costly. ‘Dino’ Caldwell and the ever-present Kelly Bailie smoothed the way to a 2-0 victory with two first half goals that saw the Glens retain the trophy at rain-soaked Solitude.
They were odds-on favourites to retain the Championship Cup and Cliftonville didn’t disappoint. A 5-2 win over Dromore Amateurs at Donegal Celtic Park clinched the double to complete a wonderful season.
They counted their blessings when St. Matthew’s allowed them to grab the Division One title when the trophy was already being prepared for the Saints.
Valley Rangers recovered from the unusual position of lying behind an opponent as the season’s end drew close to become champions. But since they hit the ground running in their debut season four years ago Rangers have never stopped. They will play Championship football next year and will enter the stage as, yet again, double winners, for the fourth year in a row.
Once the sighs of relief turned to cheers of joy following their title success, they went on to do as they do best, forging their own destiny. So it was always going to be a stiff ask for Larne in the Cup showdown at Seaview. Ace scorer Amy Nicholson fired in two goals with another from Natasha Ferris clinching a 3-0 victory over the Antrim ladies.
Over the past three seasons Sion Swifts continually frustrated and thwarted Lisburn as both teams climbed the charts, the Swifts forging their way as champions with the Blues enduring the awkwardness and the uncertainty of the play-offs.
Lisburn finally managed to escape their league-long competitors to seize the title this time around. Indeed the double was on. Revenge was swift though. A 3-1 victory at Dungannon’s Stangmore Park saw Sion pick up their annual piece of silverware.
It’s been a season of outstanding achievement by youthful Newry City.
As expected, following their annexing of the Division Three title to gain promotion to Division Two, they completed another double-winning summer with an unchallenging stroll in the division final at The Oval.
It was PSNI’s second successive defeat in the final, having lost out to Lisburn last year, but there was consolation this time around in the shape of promotion.