The home party didn’t take long to get into full swing as Crusaders Strikers celebrated total domination of the Euro Electrix NIWFA League.
On an evening of double celebration at Seaview, Mr. Alan Donaldson of Euro Electrix presented the Premiership Cup to the senior side’s Nadine Murphy and the Reserve League Cup to team captain Taylor Wright. The Crues’ mission was completed at both ends of the League scale.
Crusaders couldn’t have timed their double triumph better. In a summer where the Olympics hailed a brilliant ladies football tournament, its profile rocketing sky-high as it became a riveting spectacle that attracted 70,000 plus crowds all over the place. The beautiful game became the game of beauties who repeatedly turned in captivating performances that were sublime, competitive and majestic, glowing with the same intense excitement as the men’s and arguably at a more testing level. A wonderful promotion for the sport.
And as television screens were awash with the unfolding drama, in our part of wee Ulster, another ladies soccer team was being hailed for its achievement. Who cares if it wasn’t anywhere near the magnitude of America’s golden triumph? In its own theatre it was the pinnacle of success. A significant triumph.
It was an almost trouble-free ride to the title for Crusaders, their solitary hiccup being a 1-0 loss to fierce rivals and dethroned champions Glentoran Belfast United. However by the time the Glens made their defiant gesture the Crues had galloped into a nine points lead. They were already champions in waiting.
Glentoran’s bid had floundered with unbelievable back-to-backs defeats by Mid Ulster and Ballymena Allstars. Before then Crusaders had inflicted a severe wound when the teams met in the fourth match of the season. A 4-2 win over Newbridge Predators ended Crusaders’ League campaign, the match a meaningless completion of fixtures.
And whilst the senior side was removing Glentoran from the summit, the Reserve side was repeating the feat in their section, the Glens again suffering as they surrendered their title. Claire Short’s hat-trick in a 4-2 win over Ballymena Allstars put the Crues beyond Glentoran’s reach.
So, it’s congratulations all round to the Crusaders Strikers players, managers, coaches and officials. Oh, yes, there is a little matter of defending the Coca Cola Women’s Cup. What price a club treble??
Source - niwfa.org
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