Newry City secured the Mid Ulster Intermediate League B title with games to spare at Richhill on Saturday. In what has been a tremendous first season for the reformed club, the reserve team having already won the Wilmor Johnston cup, this was the turn of the first team to claim some silverware and more importantly take the first step in a long ladder in their quest to bring senior football back to the city of Newry.
Obviously many people have worked long and hard to get the club to this point but none more so than the visionary manager Darren Mullen who perhaps had the biggest smile after Saturdays win “It’s been a terrific end to a long 20 months since we decided to reform the club. A lot of work has gone on both on and off the field in that time. I told the players before the game that they had the chance to create a bit of history and that’s exactly what they did. We have been the best team in the league and we will look forward to receiving the league trophy on Tuesday night. It gives our loyal fans, sponsors and all those who helped us rebuild something to celebrate after all that has gone on at the club.”
As for the game itself, as with so many of the previous games this season, Newry played some terrific passing football and ran out convincing 4-0 winners. They almost went a goal in the lead after only four minutes when Conor McCaul rose highest to win a Jimmy Walker corner only to see his effort cleared off the goal line by a Richhill defender stationed at his back post. The game swung immediately to the other end of the field for the home side’s best chance of the day which needed a goal line clearance from Niall Crilly, for the second game in a row, to keep the Newry goal secure.
The opening goal was not long coming. On seven minutes Neill Barr, on the edge of the box with his back to goal, controlled a pass from Chris McMahon before laying it back to Jimmy Walker. Walker worked his way across the edge of the box to create a shooting angle before shooting low into the corner of the Richhill net to put Newry 1-0 up.
Newry doubled the advantage on 22 minutes through Mark Patton. Crilly was again involved battling down the right wing to win a throw in which he took himself. Patton, who has been in tremendous goal scoring form of late, rose majestically to power a header from the middle of the penalty area past the helpless Richhill keeper to put Newry well on their way to securing the points. Crilly almost grabbed a goal for himself on the half hour mark and a picture goal it would have been. Gary McVicker floated a ball from the half way line to Barr who nodded it down to Patton on the edge of the box. Patton spotted Crilly steaming up from his right back position and laid the ball into his path, Crilly drilling his shot from 30 yards out inches over the home crossbar.
The game was over as a contest on 56 minutes thanks to Barr’s 29th goal of the season. McMahon sprayed the ball wide to Crilly who took a moment to look up and with the defence expecting a long cross to Patton at the back post Crilly picked out Barr at the front, Newry’s top scorer stooping to head the low cross into the top corner of the net.
The best goal of the day was manufactured by the Man of the Match Jimmy Walker on 70 minutes. The Newry midfield maestro who had given an exhibition of ball skills all day picked the ball up on the half way line and skipped past tackle after tackle as he took the ball to the by line before pulling it back across goal where it was met on the volley by Mark Lowry who deftly flicked it past the Richill keeper for the fourth and final goal of the game.
From that moment on the 90th minute could not come soon enough for the large contingent of Newry supporters who joined in with the players on the pitch for scenes of celebration on the final whistle.
However with three league games and hopefully a cup run to come its back to business for the players on Tuesday night when they will be presented with the league trophy after the home match against Laurelvale which kicks off at the Newry Showgrounds at 19:30. Tonights match at the Showgrounds is FREE in for everyone:
Destination Newry will also be covering tonights match at the Showgrounds with Mo Ruddy & Gareth McCullough commentating once again.
Newry will then travel to Broomhedge on Saturday 3rd May with a 2:15 pm kick off. The Newry travel club bus will leave the Stonebridge at 1pm, all welcome.
Newry City: Murphy, Crilly, Annett, McCaul, McVicker, Hand, McMahon, Walker, Lundy, Barr, Patton. Subs: Lowry, Edgar, Martin, Campbell, Anderson, Mooney.