Louise McDowell


Louise McDowell

Annalong were crowned Division 3 champions on Tuesday 7 May evening when they easily accounted for Newry side Damolly by 8-1 and the partying started four days later, when Stephen Magill, honorary secretary of the Mid Ulster League, was present to hand over the trophy at a sun-kissed Hillmount Park after the team put Glenavy to the sword by a score of 5-1.

There was a party atmosphere on Saturday to celebrate Annalong winning the league and cup double, with a barbecue in aid of Heartbeat NI and the team was welcomed on to the pitch through a guard of honour by Annalong Youth.

Games between Annalong and Glenavy are notoriously feisty affairs and this one was certainly no different as from the kick-off the visitors seemed intent on stopping the home side from playing their brand of football. However after a strong run down the left from James Reilly his cross was hammered home by Nathan Mills for Annalong's 100th league goal of the season in the seventh minute. Mills was at it again soon after as he volleyed home a Stephen Burden cross for one of the goals of the season.

Glenavy pulled one back minutes into the second half but Annalong restored their two-goal lead when McConnell was scythed down on the right and from the free-kick McConnell crossed for Burden who guided the ball past the Glenavy keeper. Mills added a fourth and when Burden was brought down in the area, he dusted himself off and sent the keeper the wrong way to complete the scoring.

In Tuesday evening's game against Damolly Mills he opened the scoring when he lashed the ball home from an acute angle and the same player added a second when he nipped in to capitalise on hesitancy in the Damolly defence. Burden added a third with a superb volley into the top corner of the net and the same player made it four minutes before half-time.

In the second half Ricky Graham scored number five from close range and this was soon added to by Mark Newell who scored with another brilliant 30-yard shot that dipped over the visitors' keeper. McConnell then raced through the defence for number seven and Andrew McCallister completed the scoring with a back post header.

This Saturday (18 May) Annalong complete their season with a home fixture against bottom club The Dons.

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