NIFL Premier Intermediate League

There was a full programme of fixtures in the Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League (PIL) on Tuesday night, so I’ll be looking back at all the action and also reminding readers of which teams are eligible for promotion following the licencing announcement earlier this week.

Armagh City 2 Donegal Celtic 1

This win for Armagh secures their place in the PIL next season and leaves DC 6 points adrift of safety with only three games to play. City had a chance to take an early lead but Matthew Hynds seen his penalty kick saved by Sean McIlhone, the Eagles didn’t have to wait long to open the scoring though as John Uprichard headed home from a corner in the 24th minute. Nedas Macuilaitis made it 2-0 before half-time but DC pulled a goal back through Matthew Robinson early in the second half. Despite this boost, DC were unable to find an equaliser and were reduced to ten men in the 81st minute when Ciaran Murray was shown his second yellow card.

Moyola Park 0 Dundela 2

Dundela moved a step closer to securing the title and automatic promotion as they came away from Mill Meadow on Tuesday evening with three points. The league’s top goal scorer Jordan Hughes put the Duns ahead in the 81st minute with his 21st league goal of the campaign and the same player scored the second of the game to wrap the points up with 22 minutes left on the clock. Dundela can now win the league with a win over 6th placed Tobermore at home on Saturday.

Newington Youth Club 3 Portstewart 2

It’s a two-way scrap between Donegal Celtic and Newington to see who gets relegated from the PIL this season and Newington took a huge step towards winning that battle on Tuesday night. Newington found them behind in the game after the 10th minute when Lee Forgrave scored but quick-fire goals from Conal Burns and Ryan Morrison turned the game on its head just before half-time. Morrison extended Newington’s lead further with his second goal of the game fifteen minutes from time and a Johnny Stewart goal in injury-time proved too little, too late for the Seahawks.

Tobermore United 1 Lisburn Distillery 3

After the defeat against Dundela on Saturday Distillery’s promotion hopes looked to be all but over but this win and results elsewhere going in their favour have pushed the door open again. Tobermore seen most of the ball in the early stages of the game but neither side created many scoring opportunities, in the end it was a defensive mistake in the 17th minute that Matthew Ferguson took full advantage of to fire the visitors into the lead and Alan McMurtry then doubled the lead with a rare goal from open play. United were handed a way back into the game shortly before half-time when Whites skipper Steven Hislop was adjudged to have fouled a home attacker inside the area and Conor Kearns scored the resulting penalty to halve the deficit going into the half-time interval. The Whites restored their two-goal advantage in the 53rd minute with a superb strike from outside the area, after this both sides had chances to score in what was an entertaining match but Ferguson’s second goal of the game clinched the points for the visitors.

Banbridge Town 1 Queens University 1

It’s looking increasingly unlikely that anyone will pip Dundela to the 1st place spot this season so Banbridge, Queens and Distillery are in a three-way race for 2nd place and the playoff spot, so there was a keen interest in this game when two of those sides met at Crystal Park on Tuesday night. Town raced into an early lead when Fra McGuinness fired a low shot into the back of the net from the edge of the area in the 8th minute. After going behind the Queens attack upped the pressure but the home defence held strong, that is until the 53rd minute when a Ronan Young volley gave Town ‘keeper Gerard McErlean no chance and the two sides had to make do with a share of the spoils.

Sport and Leisure Swifts 2 Annagh United 4

Annagh joined Armagh in securing their place in the PIL for the 2018/19 season with a victory in a potentially tricky fixture away to Sport and Leisure. Scott McCordick opened the scoring for United in the 3rd minute but they had to wait until the 49th minute for the second, which came through Ben Eagle. Kevin Lynch reduced the deficit just before the hour mark but Eagle restored the two goal cushion and Craig Taylor added a fourth goal for the visitors with fifteen minutes to go. Gavin Johnson scored a second goal of the game for the Swifts from the penalty spot but there was to be no revival.

The fixture list in the PIL for this Saturday is a follows:

Annagh United v Newington Youth Club
Donegal Celtic v Sport and Leisure Swifts
Dundela v Tobermore United
Lisburn Distillery v Banbridge Town
Portstewart v Armagh City
Queens University v Moyola Park

As discussed in my Championship article earlier yesterday this week seen the Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL) announce which teams were successful in their application for their Championship and Premiership licences. It was confirmed on Wednesday that Dundela, Banbridge, Queens and Distillery were successful with their applications, meaning all four teams currently fighting for promotion will be able to make the step up next season if they get promoted.

That’s it for now but I will return next week to cover the next set of fixtures in the PIL.