Six sides slip into relegation shoot-out

Premier Division

Premier Division

TO STAND any chance of beating the drop you have to keep winning your games. Freebooters B and Evergreen B did just that, scoring vital wins on Sunday as both city teams kept their top flight survival hopes alive and kicking.

Fresh from a McCalmont Cup win over Bridge United B, Freebooters B made sure of a Goresbridge double when they beat United’s A team 3-1 on Sunday morning.

The Blues hit the ground running, scoring twice in the opening 10 minutes. Aidan Nolan grabbed the first, finishing a sweeping move started at the back by Jamie Lynch and Shane Kelly. Scorer then turned provider, firing in a cross for Niall Kiely to tap home just three minutes later.

It wasn’t all one-way traffic, however. Bridge hit the post and forced two good saves from stand-in goalkeeper Paddy Kiely. They did pull a goal back late in the half, but Julian O’Keeffe’s second half header ensured all three points stayed on the Fair Green.

“It was a massive result for us,” said Blues boss Derrick Kenny. “It was a great performance and the lads got what they deserved. However, with Evergreen B also winning it means that six clubs are now involved in this relegation battle. It’s turning into a crazy division.”

Going down

Evergreen B’s 2-1 win over East End United A means that all bar the top three teams in the Premier Division are in danger of going down. Deen Celtic occupy bottom spot with eight points, Evergreen B and Freebooters B have 15 points each while Bridge, East End and Fort Rangers have 17 apiece.

Evergreen did their chances of staying up no harm with their game at the Kells Road. Despite a delayed kick-off they were quick off the mark as Ciaran Snype gave them a first half lead.

Although East End levelled matters in the second half Ollie Walsh’s side bounced back from last week’s 8-1 loss to Evergreen A when Conor Barry’s free-kick found the net with 15 minutes to spare.

“That was a great result for the lads, especially after last week’s game,” said Walsh. “They went out and showed they had real character to beat East End.”

The run-in to the season end sees four of the six clubs with busy schedules. With 20 points the magic barrier, East End and Fort Rangers can reach that target if they each win their last league game of the season. Deen Celtic, although still bottom, could still survive but must win all three of their remaining games and then hope other results go their way. The games teams are left with are as follows:

Bridge United A: Deen Celtic (h), Evergreen A (a), Freebooters A (a).

Deen Celtic A: Bridge United (a), Evergreen B (a), Freebooters B (a).

East End United A: Freebooters A (a).

Evergreen B: Fort Rangers (h), Deen Celtic (h).

Fort Rangers: Evergreen B (a).

Freebooters B: Deen Celtic (h), Evergreen A (a).

There is still plenty to play for at the top of the table also. While Evergreen A may be in the driving seat thanks to their three-point cushion and that game in hand, they still have a couple of tricky games before season’s end. Among those are the home tie against Freebooters B - the only team so far to take a point off them - as well as away games against the Lions A and Freebooters A. The latter game is one of three home ties the Blues have left to play, so the Fair Green could be the venue for the title-deciding game yet.

Evergreen A: Bridge United (h), Freebooters B (h), Lions A (a), Freebooters A (a).

Freebooters A: Bridge United (h), East End United A (h), Evergreen A (h).