It was the penultimate set of games in the Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League (PIL) on Tuesday night, all twelve teams were in action but with Dundela already crowned champions and Donegal Celtic relegated the only thing still at stake was 2nd place and who would take on Dergview for the right to play in the Championship next season. Queens held the upper hand over Distillery and Banbridge as a win for Queens over Distillery would secure 2nd place, even a defeat for Queens would keep them 2 points clear going into the last game.
Armagh City 2 Newington Youth Club 2
It was an action packed first half at Holm Park as all four goals in this game were scored in the opening 45 minutes but in the end these two sides couldn’t be separated. Both of these sides had little to play for but pride, Newington will no doubt like to avoid finishing second bottom and could have still finished as high as 7th prior to this match, Armagh were also hoping to close in on or perhaps even overtake 7th placed Portstewart. It was City who raced into an early lead as Nedas Macuilaitis gave them the lead in the 4th minute and John Uprichard doubled the Eagles lead ten minutes later. Newington scored twice in the last fifteen minutes of the first half though to ensure a point, their goals coming from Conal Burns and Peter Gilgunn.
Donegal Celtic 4 Annagh United 2
After being relegated on Saturday Donegal Celtic played their last Irish League game at Suffolk Road for at least a season and they gave their supporters at something to cheer at last as they secured victory against Annagh. Karl Rossborough scored the first goal of the game for DC in the 25th minute and a brace from Peter McDermott meant they went into the half-time break three goals clear. There were perhaps some worried faces when Annagh pulled a goal back two minutes into the second half through Mark McAllister but Rossborough scored his second of the game to restore DC’s three goal cushion. United’s second goal of the game came three minutes from time and was scored by Scott McCordick.
Dundela 2 Banbridge Town 4
Banbridge’s chance of making it in into the play-off spot had all but ended at the weekend, Saturday’s defeat against fellow promotion chases Distillery meant Ronnie Haughey’s side would need to take maximum points from their last two games and hope Distillery and Dundela would slip up in their own fixtures and even then it seemed unlikely Banbridge rely on goal difference. Dundela, of course, had already won the league and perhaps had one eye on Tuesday’s Intermediate Cup final so not many people around the other grounds were too surprised to hear that a Neil Clydesdale brace had Town 2-0 up at half-time. Jay Magee scored for Dundela in the 52nd minute but a further goal from Conor Downey made it 3-1 to the visitors. The Duns pegged Banbridge back again through an Owain Beggs goal but Michael Allison scored the last goal of the game to secure the points for Banbridge. Despite defeat the party was not to be ruined at Wilgar Park as Dundela were presented with the league trophy after the game.
Lisburn Distillery 1 Queens University 2
It would be fair to say that this was the game most people would have had their eyes on on Tuesday night 2nd placed Queens and 3rd placed Distillery met at New Grosvenor in a promotion ‘six-pointer’. It was fairly straightforward, a win for Queens would secure 2nd place and the play-off spot against Dergview and a Distillery win would mean it went to the last game of the season. The Whites started off with plenty of possession but, not for the first time this season, couldn’t break down a solid Queens defence. As the half went on the Students began to take more control of the game and Matthew Hughes scored to give them the lead four minutes before half-time, the same player then doubled Queens lead just after the break to leave the Whites with an uphill task. To their credit Distillery threw everything at their opponents and did pull a goal back through Mikey Withers who superbly danced through the Queens defence before finishing past Declan Brown. Distillery thought they had equalised when an effort from substitute Paul Young had Brown beaten but the ball crashed off the crossbar, top-scorer Matthew Ferguson also rattled the woodwork with a long range lob in injury-time. Queens held on for the win and now have a chance to win promotion to the Championship if they can beat Dergview over two-legs.
Portstewart 4 Sport and Leisure Swifts 2
Portstewart now simply need to avoid defeat on Friday night in their last game on Saturday to ensure they finish in 7th place in the table, a more than respectable return for their first season back in the division. There was another early goal in this game as Aaron Mullan put the home side ahead in the 3rd minute and Luke McDowell doubled the lead 22 minutes later. Two quick-fire goals from Ryan McAuley and Kevin Lynch though meant that the sides went in on level terms at the break. The Seahawks were determined to keep their exceptional home form from this season intact and a further goal apiece from McDowell and Mullan seen them take the three points.
Tobermore United 1 Moyola Park 0
You wouldn’t have wanted to have been late to this game as the sole goal was scored in the first five minutes, Conor Kearns scored from the spot after a Stephen Doey foul. After this despite both teams having chances they couldn’t find the back of the net with the match being a far cry from the eight goal thriller produced when the two sides met earlier in the season.
Friday night sees the last set of fixtures in the PIL this season, the following fixtures take place:
Moyola Park v Lisburn Distillery
Newington Youth Club v Donegal Celtic
Queens University v Dundela
Sport and Leisure Swifts v Armagh City
Banbridge Town v Tobermore United
Annagh United v Portstewart