A bumper week of football across the Intermediate leagues this week, with 18 games played and 64 goals scored.
There was only one game this weekend in the NI Intermediate League, where Newbuildings travelled to Dungiven and secured a 4-0 victory to jump up to fourth spot. The big story of the week, however, was the departure of Ardstraw manager Ivan Sproule.
The former Hibs and Bristol City player had been in charge at Vaughan’s Holm for around 18 months and led the club to runners-up spot to Magherafelt Sky Blues in his first season in charge. The early stages of the league campaign were overshadowed following serious flood damage to the clubs facilities in Newtownstewart.
Sproule and his management team steadied the ship, helping with the fundraising efforts to repair and redevelop Vaughans Holm and managing the side to push the Sky Blues all the way in the title race. The former Northern Ireland winger had intended to stay at Ardstraw but when the call came from his hometown club, Dergview, it was one he felt he couldn’t turn down.
Along with his assistant, Neil Coulter, Sproule enjoyed many years at Dergview and following a successful professional career, he now takes his first steps in senior management at Darragh Park.
In Mid Ulster, Crewe went back on top, beating rivals Hanover 3-0 at Brownstown Park to leapfrog their opponents on the day. Daniel Smith netted a brace to have the visitors in front at half-time. Denver Taggart made it three midway through the second half and that was enough for an impressive win.
Banbridge Rangers are the only other unbeaten side in the division, and they secured an impressive win of their own this week. High flying Richhill AFC were the visitors to Cheney Park, but Rangers won 2-0, goals coming from Matt Hazley & Adam Loughlin.
Windmill Stars were the big winners of the day, hammering bottom side AFC Silverwood 7-2 at Derrylecka. The goals were well shared out with six scorers, Raymond Fitzpatrick (2), Jordan King, Joe McLaughlin, Chris McMahon, Diarmuid Lavery & Greg McCabe completing the scoring.
Laurelvale took a point from a 1-1 draw with near neighbours Tandragee Rovers, while Moneyslane, playing their first league game since late August, won 3-2 away at St Mary’s.
In the NAFL, leaders 1st Bangor slipped to a 3-1 defeat away to Shankill United at the Hammer, while Immaculata slipped into second spot thanks to a comfortable 2-0 win at Drumaness Mills. Lowly Downpatrick picked up their first win of the season thanks to an impressive 3-1 win over Ards Rangers at Rosconnor.
Ballynahinch Olympic were the big winners of the day, seeing off lowly Derriaghy CC 6-0 at Kilmore. The Hinch men have enjoyed a fine start to their first ever season in the top flight, having won 1A last season. Olympic only joined the NAFL ranks in 2009, but their rise has been as swift as it has been impressive, and they look set for a productive first year in the top division.
Islandmagee came up as runners-up to Olympic, and they had a similarly impressive season, finishing just three points behind their rivals. They have also enjoyed what is a return to the top flight for them, suffering just one defeat so far. On Saturday they defeated last season title challengers Rathfriland 2-1 at Wilbourne to move within two points of their opponents.
In the final game of the day, Crumlin United welcomed Albert Foundry to Mill Road, and the game finished 1-1. A result which does neither side any favours as they both struggle to find consistency so far this season.
Onto the BPIL now, and leaders Glebe Rangers slipped to their first defeat of the season, losing out 1-0 in a tight game at Coagh United. The sides on Rangers tail, Bangor and St James Swifts, were both in Steel Cup action and that allowed Newtowne, on a great run of late, to slip between the pair into third place thanks to a 2-0 home win over Donegal Celtic.
Ballymoney Utd got back to winning ways with a heavy 4-1 home win over bottom side Ballynure OB, while Cookstown Youth secured local bragging rights with a 2-0 win at near rivals Cookstown RBL.
Elsewhere, Brantwood and Chimney Corner played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at Skegoneill Avenue, while Dunloy welcomed Wakehurst to McCamphill Park and they too shared the spoils with another 2-2 scoreline.
Mid Ulster Intermediate A
Banbridge Rangers 2 – 0 Richhill AFC
Hanover 0 – 3 Crewe United
Laurelvale 1 – 1 Tandragee Rovers
St Marys 2 – 3 Moneyslane
Windmill Stars 7 – 2 AFC Silverwood
Northern Amateur Football League Premier Division
Islandmagee 2-1 Rathfriland Rangers
Drumaness Mills 0-2 Immaculata F.C.
Shankill United 3-1 1st Bangor Old Boys
Downpatrick F.C. 3-1 Ards Rangers
Crumlin United 1-1 Albert Foundry F.C.
Ballynahinch Olympic 6-0 Derriaghy C C
|1||1st Bangor Old Boys||10||5||2||3||24||12||12||17|
|10||Albert Foundry F.C.||8||1||4||3||11||14||-3||7|
|13||Derriaghy C C||8||1||1||6||7||29||-22||4|
Ballymena & Provincial Intermediate League
Ballymoney Utd 4-1 Ballynure OB
Brantwood FC 2-2 Chimney Corner
Coagh United 1-0 Glebe Rangers
Cookstown RBL 0-2 Cookstown Youth
Dunloy FC 2-2 Wakehurst FC
Newtowne 2-0 Donegal Celtic
|4||St James Swifts||7||6||0||1||35||8||27||18|
NI Intermediate League
Dungiven 0 – 4 Newbuildings Utd
|1||Magherafelt Sky Blues||2||2||0||0||6||2||4||6|
|8||Oxford United Stars||2||0||0||2||0||4||-4||0|