The football leagues have reached conclusion and following competition which started away back in April the winners and those who fared less well will have time to reflect, and make plans for the following season.
A splendid summer ensured there were no hold ups in the season, with a huge percentage of the games proceeding as planned but in the event conclusion was not reached until the very last day of competition.
Kickham’s Creggan took the plaudits in the top division and Kevin Madden’s side have bridged a yawning gap extending since 1961 in bringing the division one title back home to their Staffordstown road complex.
The Creggan men had an excellent season and in fact were only denied a historic double by their near neighbours when Cargin gained a hard earned verdict in the senior championship decider.
The Toome men who did complete a rare league, championship double a few years previous completed this league campaign in second place with St Gall’s and St John’s finishing in the top four spots to ensure seeding for the 2019 senior championship draw.
Rossa and Glenavy struggled to gain foothold in the top division and as result both will endure relegation and will be forced to contemplate life in the second grade next term.
Rossa, despite having taken both the minor and under-21 championships last term struggled to overcome long term injuries suffered the same fate away back in 2010 before being led back on the upward trail again the next season under Brian White and the Shaw’s road side may well return to the top table without delay again.
St Joseph’s Glenavy having returned to division one again last term following a lengthy period in exile struggled to consolidate in their new surroundings but the Chapel Hill men may well be capable of making a quick return.
St Mary’s Ahoghill looked destined for the drop at the start of the second phase having only a couple of points to their name but the Clooney men are certainly not lacking in character and proceeding through the B section in unbeaten fashion saw them move to 13 points and status secured.
Division 2 winners Gort na Mona
Division Two proved close in the extreme and with the lead changing hands a number of time in the latter stages, with Aldergrove, Gort na Mona, St Brigid’s and Tir na Nog all having spells in residency at the top.
A lot depended on the last day, and the final round of competition with the silverware, and promotion to be decided between the Tir na Nog, Gort na Mona and St Brigid’s and as events were to unfold it was the South Antrim duo who were to prove successful.
Gort na Mona gained consolation for their reversal in the Intermediate championship final defeat when a 4-10 to 1-06 victory ensured the division two title while St Brigid’s secured passage upwards by virtue of a 1-13 to 2-07 win over fellow combatants Tir na Nog.
Both will look forward to a residency in the top division in 2019.
O’ Donnell’s, having made the upward journey from the bottom grade to the second tier this term struggled to come to terms with their new status and the McCrory park side, having finished bottom will return again to division three next term.
The West Belfast side will most likely have learned from experience gained and may well be planning a return to the second tier sooner, rather than later.
St Paul’s will accompany their neighbours on the downward trail in what has been a surprise development with the former longtime residents of the top division now facing a term in the bottom tier.
The Shaw’s road side is not expected to linger in the third grade and most onlookers are anticipating a short residency in the basement.
Division 3 winners Con Magee’s Glenravel
Competition proved close in the third grade and although the top positions did look to rest between several, with Ardoyne, St Comgall’s, Glenravel, and St Patrick’s looking contenders but although competition was keen the silverware was to prove a match between the Con Magees and the Lisburn men.
Con Magees eventually secure the title by the slimmest of margins on a count back of a single one point score advantage over the gallant St Patrick’s.
The Glensmen had taken the junior championship in a 0-09 to 0-06 verdict over St Patrick’s and both will look forward to a life in the second division 2019