Lurgan Celtic go up as champions

Lurgan Celtic players Chris Lavery,captain Raymond Fitzpatrick and Stephen Hutchinson with the Championship 2 trophy.
Lurgan Celtic players Chris Lavery,captain Raymond Fitzpatrick and Stephen Hutchinson with the Championship 2 trophy.

Lurgan Celtic sealed the Championship 2 league title last Tuesday night with a 5-0 win over Sport & Leisure at Knockramer Park.

Within four minutes Celtic took the lead when central defender Stephen Hutchinson scored from a corner.

The Hoops continued to dominate proceedings with Chris Lavery popping up all over the field tormenting the away defenders and it was no surprise when he added a second just before the half hour mark and moments later he scored a second to put Celtic firmly in the driving seat.

The setback of the recent home defeat by Newington was but a distant memory and some people who thought that the Hoops who had suffered a minor wobble would capitulate and blow their chances were proven wrong as they saw the game safely out to the half time break.

Some expected S&L to stage a comeback in the second half in a bid to get back into the tie but it never looked remotely like materialising as Celtic showed a ruthless and clinical attitude to get the job done and two further goals from Raymond Fitzpatrick finished the game with a scoreline of 5-0 and winning the Championship in some style to scenes of great joy from the support

The trophy was presented to captain Raymond Fitzpatrick by Fred Magee, chairman of the Championship Committee, but this wasn’t just won on the night it was the end product of much hard work by the management team led by Colin Malone right down to the backroom staff who all played their part.

They approached each game in a totally professional manner and their is no doubt that this shone through on the field and in particular the tremendous team spirit built up throughout the season.

Now a bigger challenge awaits the club in Championship 1 and no doubt they will be ready for it.

Saturday saw the two promoted teams from Championship 2 bring down the curtain on what has proved to have been a successful campaign when second placed Annagh entertained Lurgan Celtic.

The Hoops needed to concede less than three goals to break the record for the least goals conceded since Championship 2 began. The game kicked off in front a disappointingly low turnout probably due Portadown playing to the Irish Cup final although Celtic brought a decent away support. Celtic keeper Conor McCorry had been unwell prior to the game but as Michael Goff had been excused this game to attend a wedding took his place in goal despite looking out of sorts.

Eventually McCorry had to leave the field to be replaced by Jonny McCarron who was called into action saving low at his left hand post as the home side went at the Hoops but was eventually beaten when Celtic couldn’t get the ball away and Jaime Gardiner slotted to put Annagh in the lead.

The second period began with Annagh taking the game to Celtic as the Hoops looked sluggish but they weathered the storm and then began to create several chances one in particular when Josh Barton sent Chris Lavery down the left but keeper Fox got a foot to it and the danger was cleared

Eventually the equaliser came when Chris Lavery broke into the penalty area and was tripped to his credit he didn’t down but got up to play on but the referee blew for a spot kick and up stepped Fitzpatrick to level the game

Towards the end Fitzpatrick took the ball with his back to goal turned and shot but Fox tipped his effort over the bar to save the day and the game end all square and everyone relieved to hear the final whistle. The club thank all the sponsors who have supported the team over the season.

This has been a successful year with both the senior and Youth sides winning their respective leagues and Celtic would also thank the loyal supporters who attended the games and look forward to their continued support in the future.