Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Crusaders' victory rounds off a truly exciting season for Irish football

Paul Heatley celebrates Crusaders' title win
Paul Heatley celebrates Crusaders' title win

By Conor McLaughlin

It was with inevitable irony that Irish League football would produce one of its most intriguing ever seasons right on the eve of the Northern Ireland Football League's implementation of new structures to heighten 'excitement' in the game.

Though Crusaders' Danske Bank Premiership crown was sealed a fortnight before the close of play, for long stretches it proved too tough to call with a host of sides taking turns to lead the standings at various stages of the campaign.

The race for Europe was every bit as intense with Glentoran fading away to leave Portadown and Cliftonville to do battle... only for a late Glenavon surge to usurp the lot of them while, in the nip and tuck fight against the play-offs, Warrenpoint Town must now scrap with Bangor to avoid joining Institute in taking the plunge.

In Belfast Telegraph Championship 1, three sides went into the weekend vying for two promotion places and only a late Larne goal got Donegal Celtic out of jail as PSNI were relegated in heartbreaking fashion - while Championship 2 enters its final week with FOUR teams targeting the title.

As far as keeping fans on the edge of their seats is concerned, all three tiers have delivered this season... yet NIFL tell us that additional play-offs and larger relegation zones will keep us guessing even further next year.

Bring it on. Just 103 days to wait.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph