Ardee Celtic secured the Fastfix U16 Premier Division title on Wednesday in Townparks with a 2-0 win over Shamrocks in the final game of the season.
This year’s division was of a very high standard with all eight teams capable of a result and after only two games, Ardee found themselves chasing early leaders Bellurgan.
The five point gap remained until March with both Bellurgan and Ardee gaining momentum through their excellent run in the League and National Cup with both sides making it to the last 32 of this year’s SFAI competition; Ardee going one step further to the last 16.
Ardee kept the pressure up on Bellurgan with crucial wins over Rock Celtic and Muirhevnamor however the pivotal moments were a 2-2 draw between Bellurgan and Rock and a win for Shamrocks over Bellurgan which set up a title showdown between the Dessiders and Bellurgan in Ardee last Sunday.
With both teams tied on 31 points with two games remaining, it was a battle for three points right from the off.
The breakthrough came midway through the first-half when Pauric McGowan dribbled the ball through the Bellurgan defence and guided the ball low past the out stretched hand of Sean McGeough in the Bellurgan goal.
Bellurgan rallied in the second half and dominated possession in midfield for the most part but found it hard to break down a strong Ardee back four of Conor Ayson, Niall Sharkey, Aaron and Daryl McDonagh.
Always posing a threat from dead ball situations Bellurgan had two corners cleared off the line and hit the bar from a long range shot but just couldn’t muster the equaliser.
The final minutes were frantic with Ross McQuillan keeping Ardee ahead with a top class finger tip save low to his right to flick the ball past the post. Sean McGeough did equally well moments later when Caolach Halligan hit a blistering shot from distance only to have it saved.
Ardee scored on 68 minutes to guarantee the three points when a quick counter attack left Halligan one on one with McGeough and he held his composure to dink the ball over the keeper.
Needing just a point to win the title, Ardee faced an excellent Shamrocks side on Wednesday evening last and the mid-Louth lads had to dig deep to get into the game but two first half goals from James Caraher and Caolach Halligan and some resolute defending were enough to see the lads win the league title.
The players and management would like to pay a big thanks to everyone at Ardee Celtic for their support this season, to Phoenix Embroidery, Royal Sport and to sponsor AdzonBandz.com and Ionic Balance for their help.