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[INSERT WITTY TITLE HERE] - A Journeyman Save

  1. [INSERT WITTY TITLE HERE] - A Journeyman Save

    This is my first FM17 story following my FM16 story on this website With My Little Pick and Shovel - A Cardiff City Story (Cheeky plug). This will be a journeyman save, I don't do these often so this will probably end badly.
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    I re-read the letter for what felt like the 1,000th time. This was the second time I'd attempted to get into this damn university and this was the second time I'd been rejected. At least I'm consistent.

    I sat down, grabbed a beer and opened my laptop, for me there's only one tonic for rejection, and that is Football Manager. I played until the sky grew dark and I ran out of beer before closing my favourite game

    I looked away the screen to wipe my eyes and looked around the room and then my eyes found it, a certificate with my name on it, featured prominently above he words "FAW C Licence", my eyes made my way over to the next picture frame, a picture of me playing semi-pro football.

    Football Manager is my favourite game, but does it always have to be a game? Having closed FM I opened a new tab, I'd failed to study law to become a lawyer, so maybe a new career path is on the agenda?


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    To my surprise, when you walk into a job centre and ask for a job as a football manager you aren't laughed out of the building (well, not after you display you have the relevant qualifications that is). Fortunately they sat me down, talked me through my options and pointed me in the direction of a great database full of potential destinations

    I went home, downloaded the database and looked at the potential jobs, a few stood out as interesting and realistic for a man(ager?) such as myself. Cardiff Met Uni, local for me, Loughgall in Northern Ireland (not so local) and a few teams in Iceland

    I grabbed my laptop and fired off numerous E-Mails, applying for many jobs from Wales to Iceland before calling it a night


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    I woke up and grabbed my laptop, more in hope than anticipation, these were football clubs, PROPER football clubs and they had more important things to do than answer some 20 year old (degree-less) Welshman in search of a job

    Well, like at the job centre, I came away surprised, not only did I receive responses, I also received (a few) interview offers, with Cardiff Met Uni (Wales), Loughgall (Northern Ireland) and Grindavik (Iceland) all offering me job interviews!

    That FAW "C" Licence went a lot further than I thought it would, and I'd gotten a lot further than I thought I would. I'd assumed I'd get laughed off, these are PROPER football clubs remember, not some local Under 10s team, but it turns out there are some desperate football chairmen, who knew?

    Now then, a few of these interviews would definitely have to happen over Skype (Flights to Iceland and Northern Ireland ain't cheap), but the Cardiff Met interview would happen in person

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    I arrived at the university campus around 11.00 am, my mind full of possible answers to the tough questions I was about to be asked. As I was called into the office my mind stopped answering potential questions and ended up asking one of me "How ironic would it be if my first job was at a university?"

    I sat down, exchanged some pleasantries and then it was on to business

    CMU-We have some reservations regarding your managerial experience and would like you to address that

    MH-Well, I'm only 20 and haven't been in the industry long enough to garner experience

    CMU-You're in the running for multiple jobs, why's that?

    MH-I simply want to maximise my potential destinations to begin my managerial career

    CMU-We're an amateur club and our aim is to simply survive the coming season, will you be able to do that

    MH-I feel confident in my ability to avoid relegation and keep this club where it belongs

    CMU-Thank you for your time
    MH-Thank you.

    And that was that. I walked out of my first job interview since I was 16 and wanted a part-time job at a football centre feeling, well, ok. It hadn't gone horribly and it hadn't gone insanely well, it just went ok. Now onto Skype and my meetings with Grindavik and Loughgall.
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    A week had passed since my round of interviews and I found myself staring at my email inbox every ten minutes. So far I'd only received one email from any one of Grindavik, Loughgall and Cardiff Met Uni and that was from Grindavik, who had to "Regretfully inform me..." and all that. Basically I didn't get the job and wouldn't be moving to Iceland, which was a shame as I looked forward to this.
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    Unfortunately, I wouldn't be experiencing any of that and I am now instead hoping for a job in either the Welsh Premier League or the Northern Irish Championship, well, we all have to start somewhere.

    I refreshed my page once again, seeing a new email, I got excited and then saw it, spam, again! I really ought to deal with that...

    I refreshed again, and again, and again. No luck. What's that saying? A watched kettle never boils? With that in mind I got up and made a cup of tea, job applications can wait, for about five minutes

    I made my tea and returned to my laptop and found an email, this one not spam, this one from Cardiff Met Uni, I was shaking as I opened it...
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    I returned to my inbox and found another email, again not spam, but this one from Loughgall, I was shaking again...

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  6. [INSERT WITTY TITLE HERE] - A Journeyman Save-crossroads.png
    Well then, I've got 2 more offers than I ever thought I'd get and that leaves me at a crossroads. Both jobs have pros and cons but its great to have options!

    There's an obvious pro to the Cardiff Met Uni job, location. I live just 6 miles from Cyncoed Campus, the home of Cardiff Metropolitan University FC, a 15 minute drive from my house in West Cardiff. Loughgall, on the other hand, is a small village in Northern Ireland and is 387 miles from my home, this job would require a huge commute or a huge commitment and I'm not sure if I'm up for that.

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    But, on the other hand, there is a huge pro to the Loughgall job. I'd actually get paid! Cardiff Met are an amateur team and as such I would be receiving nothing in return for hours of work, sure it adds to the CV but I want/need money. Loughgall, on the other hand, are offering me £190 per week that is £9,880 per year people! (Roughly what university would have cost)

    This left me torn. Do I take the easy route and stay in Cardiff? Take on an amateur team, probably get relegated, earn no money and find myself in the same situation this time next year? Pondering another rejection from Bristol (let's face it, I'm still going to try) but having had a year of failure? Or do I go for it? Do I go to Northern Ireland and try to make a name for myself? Nervously I wrote an email of acceptance to one team and, ironically a rejection to a university...

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    I'd made my decision and soon found myself packing my bags for what could turn out to be the start of a long career in football management. Sure, I'm going to take over Loughgall, the football team that represented a village of 282 people, but there'll be a lot more than 282 people there when I lift the Champions League (Not with Loughgall).

    Before any of that though, I had to get to Loughgall, I'd either have to get a car and drive 386 miles, stopping at Holyhead to get a ferry to Dublin before driving into Northern Ireland from there. Or I could take the sane option of a bus down to Bristol before flying to Belfast and making my way down to Loughgall. I'm taking the sane option and have dipped into my savings from my two years as a semi pro footballer, forking out £66 for the flight to Belfast

    My next problem was accommodation. I had no friends or family in Northern Ireland that I could stay with, I'd had a quick look online for housing in the Loughgall area and there were houses for £175,000. More than my savings. Hopefully the club could set me up with somewhere to stay, otherwise I'll be sleeping in the office.

    The flight to Belfast gave me some time to look into Loughgall as a club and fortunately I found an email full of information in my inbox.


    "Founded in 1967, Loughgall FC are a semi-professional Northern Irish club currently playing in the NIFL Championship. Loughgall narrowly avoided relegation from the NIFL Championship last season.

    The club play their home games at Lakeview Park and possess fairly basic training facilities and basic youth facilities. The club also has fairly basic junior coaching and fairly basic youth recruitment. The club retains a fierce rivalry with Armagh City FC, Glenavon FC and Portadown FC

    Loughgall have a history they can be proud of, winning 22 competitions. Loughgall have won the Mid-Ulster Cup on two occasions, won the NIFL Championship three times and the Irish Intermediate Cup twice."


    Seems a decent club to begin my managerial voyage at. I had to laugh at the fact they boast a 3,000 capacity stadium and a population of 282. Anyway the plane is landing and I'm about to set foot in Northern Ireland for the first time in my life. Here we go.

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  8. Love this mate. Making me feel like writing a story too. Keep up the good work.
    TheLuckDuck likes this.

  9. [INSERT WITTY TITLE HERE] - A Journeyman Save-loughgall.jpg
    Well, I'm in Loughgall, and I've got to say its pretty decent. A nice little village, and soon to be home of a Danske Bank Premiership club (I hope). I made my way around town and soon found the stadium, with chairman John McCann and the entire first team squad there to meet me.

    McCann invited me into what he said would be my office (Result!) and explained what he wanted of me. He expected me to finish in a Playoff position in the NIFL Championship and explained that we would be competing in 4 (FOUR!!!) cup competitions this season, the Mid-Ulster Cup, IFA Challenge Cup, Northern Ireland League Cup and the Irish Intermediate Cup. I said I wanted to win them all, he doesn't expect anything.


    He then explained the league rules to me. There are 12 teams, the top team wins promotion into the Danske Bank Premiership, 2nd and 3rd qualify for a playoff, the league splits in two after 22 games, with 5 more games to round off the season, bottom team goes down and 11th go into a relegation playoff. He then told me I have no money to spend and that the season starts in six days. He left soon after that.
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    That took me aback, six days! Not even a week in Northern Ireland and then I'm thrown into a competitive game. Ah well, I'm going to have to get my ideas across very quickly. I meet the players, tell them a bit about myself. It was essentially a speed date, but in Northern Ireland, with 20 odd tough semi professional footballers and with only one person talking.
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    I explained to them I wanted to play attacking football, then got on with training, taking mental and literal notes on each player's capabilities. The session ended and we all headed home, except me, I went back to the office and crafted the tactic to end all tactics, or end my employment.
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  10. ARMAGH CITY v LOUGHGALL FC
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    Less than a week into my managerial career I take part in a local derby! We take the short trip to Armagh City territory as we look to kick off the season with a bang. Armagh have gone with a 4-4-2 while I go with a 4-3-1-2, bringing a whole new tactic to the NIFL Championship

    Five minutes in and we were under the cosh and Armagh capitalised, winning a corner and taking the lead through a header from Eoin Toal. 1-0. The worst possible start for both me and the team as we attempt to come to grips with the season. We picked ourselves and went again, playing some decent stuff and not allowing Armagh a touch, now that's more like it! A great passing move ended with Warner Mullen equalising for us with only eight minutes on the clock! 1-1.

    The game remained scrappy, with both sides making mistakes, but ours on twenty seven minutes proved costly as we gave the ball away in our own half, allowing Armagh to break and retake the lead through Paul Carville. 2-1. We showed a lot of character the first time we went a goal down and I was hoping we'd do the same thing, we got the ball and passed it around well once again, keeping the ball and working it into an attack, which ended with Warner Mullen tapping in Nathan Beacom's excellent cross! 2-2. Mullen almost got his hat trick just seconds later with his long drive testing the Armagh keeper, who then smashed the ball down field, playing through Campbell after Alderdice went AWOL, luckily Campbell hit the post, not the back of the net.

    We kept pushing and finally found the breakthrough on 37 minutes, when a wonderful passing move was finished by Anto Burns, with his striker partner Mullen once again involved, setting up the young striker for his first! 2-3. Another long ball just three minutes later allowed Campbell through again, and he hit the same post, off the hook once again!

    HALF-TIME
    Armagh City 2-3 Loughgall FC

    Armagh have changed things to go for a 4-3-3, we change nothing.

    The second half was incredibly boring until the 87th minute when an Armagh breakaway resulted in a Philip Donnelly equaliser. We had nothing left after that

    FULL-TIME
    Armagh City 3-3 Loughgall

    Gutting.


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    We played fairly well in the 3-3 draw with Armagh and would have been good value for the win had we held on, so I was pretty pleased on that front. We also hadn't brought anyone new in as I'd only come in 6 days previously, however there were a few deals in the pipeline and they came through in the coming days.

    The first player I brought in was Kevin Bradley, who's come in for nothing from Larne to offer backup to Nigel Beacom, I don't expect him to play much, but he's adding much needed number to this village's population

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    My second signing is a lot more exciting, 34 year old striker Marty Verner. Marty has been brought in to play in the first team and replace Burns, sure he scored against Armagh, but he's not much older than me, and we need hardened professionals if we are to go up this season

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    The third player signed in my quest to double Loughgall's population was 40-year-old Graham McDonagh, this guy is 11 years younger than my dad and I expect him to play week in, week out in a tough, physical league. He can do it, he's surprisingly quick and fit for a 40-year-old, ever since he's come in he's started out-runing some of the younger players in training. It embarrasses them, bless their cotton socks

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    Anyway, with these three all in the van (There's not enough room for them in the village), we host Harland and Wolff Welders at home. There was a lot of expectation and pressure on me as the majority of the village came out to watch, we dominated play, played some good football, but fell behind through a worldie from McLelland. A few changes were made and one of those changes, made a huge impact, as substitute Marty Verner scored on his debut, we continued to dominated but couldn't score until one last chance fell to Gary Henderson...
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    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!! My first win under my belt, I couldn't be happier and me and the squad went on a night out in Belfast to celebrate, all except McDonagh that is, he went home for a cup of tea and Match of the Day in front of the fire


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    Bastard.

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  12. Quote Originally Posted by AndySams10 View Post
    Love this mate. Making me feel like writing a story too. Keep up the good work.
    Cheers mate
    AndySams10 likes this.

  13. [INSERT WITTY TITLE HERE] - A Journeyman Save-snake-grass.preview.jpg
    Following the departure of star striker Warner "The Snake" Mullen to Newry City we needed a striker. And fast. We'd already brought in Marty Verner, but Mullen going meant I lacked a big bruising target man up top. I immediately started scouring the Northern Irish leagues, asked my two scouts to go looking for a target man and we found one.
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    Sure Paul isn't the youngest, but he can do a job up front and that's all that matters. He's strong, determined and can head the ball, he's the Northern Irish Andy Carroll.

    Another guy turned up at the same time as Paul Brown and said that he too had been signed, turns out he's a midfielder and is good enough for our first team, still don't know where he came from but I'm glad he did

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    Anyway, away from the transfer front for a minute, we had a game. The team along with the fans would have to be on our best behaviour for this one as we welcomed the Police Service of Northern Ireland to Lakeview Park. I thought they'd come looking for the money from a recent bank robbery THAT WE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH . Turns out, they play in our league and this was a routine fixture (or so they said). With that in mind we grabbed our shinpads, boots and truncheons and made our way out onto the pitch to produce the greatest performance that this corner of Northern Ireland had ever seen
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    A very comfortable victory over the police force and that makes me very happy. This performance was enough to convince young Marc McAnallen (I say young, he's three years younger than me) to leave our sworn rivals Armagh City and join us. We've lacked a proper attacking midfielder this season and I hope he's the answer to our woes in that position

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    McAnallen's first game was a disappointing 0-0 draw with bottom Larne, but that's still enough to see us end August top of the tree ahead of our big cup match at home to Dungannon Swifts
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    LOUGHGALL FC v DUNGANNON SWIFTS

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    A huge game greets me less than a month into my managerial career as the tiny village of Loughgall host our far more illustrious rivals Dungannon Swifts of the Danske Bank Premiership. According to the Dungannon fans, we are a "Fierce rival" of theirs. Our only advantage is that we're at home.

    Its a huge game under the floodlights on a Tuesday night, can we pull of an upset?

    Early signs suggest not as Dungannon win the ball straight from kick off and force a good save from Gareth Buchanan in our goal. We went close ourselves soon after, with the returning Stuart Glasgow finding McDonagh who's effort hit the frame of the goal, with the keeper beaten, narrowly missing. Everything points to an exciting game.

    We dominated the ball but were open to the counter and that happened sixteen minutes in, with a long ball finding their winger who's cross was pinpoint to Curtis Dempster, who finished with aplomb. 0-1. Frustrating. Our heads didn't drop however, and the ball soon found itself in the Dungannon net, with Marty Verner converting a Nigel Beacom cross, a goal straight from kick-off! 1-1.

    Dungannon started attacking and showed their quality soon after, with Glackn's searching cross finding Paul McElroy at the back post, who headed home. 1-2. We continued to dominate up until half-time but just couldn't find the net. Frustrating.

    HALF-TIME
    Loughgall 1-2 Dungannon Swifts

    The second half continued in much the same vein as the first, we were brilliant, we won almost every ball, and if we didn't win that we were definitely the second ball and our pressure soon told, with Beacom and Verner combining once more for our second, with Verner heading home in the 48th minute. 2-2.

    Misfortune soon struck however, as an unmarked Jamie Glackin found the net, with his deflected shot beating Buchanan all ends up. 2-3. We pushed and pushed but Dungannon defended resolutely, with Verner going close to his hat-trick, only to be denied by the Dungannon keeper. We threw everything at Dungannon, only for substitute Gary Henderson to concede a late penalty which Sean McCashin converted. 2-4.

    FULL-TIME
    Loughgall 2-4 Dungannon Swifts

    Defeated, but proud.

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  15. Loving this so far! I don't live too far from Armagh, i'm not from the north, nor do i pay much attention to the league but it's always fun to see a lower league story involving Ireland/Northern Ireland
    TheLuckDuck likes this.

  16. Quote Originally Posted by Seano View Post
    Loving this so far! I don't live too far from Armagh, i'm not from the north, nor do i pay much attention to the league but it's always fun to see a lower league story involving Ireland/Northern Ireland
    Cheers mate

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    The press wanted my feelings following the Dungannon loss and all they heard was that we could now "focus on the league". Its a cliche, but it is true, this loss meant that the league would be our sole priority for a while and there'd be no midweek games for the foreseeable future, besides, this league has 4 cup competitions, there'll be a chance for a cup run later in the season

    To take our mind off of the Dungannon game, the squad and I all went to Belfast to watch the Ireland v Wales World Cup Qualifier that would be taking place just over the border in Dublin, as you'd expect, the entirely Northern Irish squad wanted a Wales victory. The game ended 1-1 but was just the background to some old fashioned "Squad Bonding" which went on into the early hours, we'd need all the togetherness we could get as we would be visiting new league leaders Lurgan Celtic in the next game.

    It would be a tough game away but we played pretty well, staying solid and the league leaders didn't look like scoring until a penalty gave Lurgan Celtic the lead, fortunately, this team like a comeback and within minutes Anto Burns had equalised. 1-1.

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    A good result, and I'm confident that we could win the return game at our place later in the season. What followed this game would be another away game, this one away to free-scoring Dergview.

    Unfortunately, we were dreadful, conceding a first half penalty and then conceding a sloppy goal just before half-time to finish the first half 2-0 down. Strong words were needed at half-time and I failed to provide them, but somehow, we scored against the run of play 16 minutes into the second half to drag ourselves back into the game through McAnallen's first goal. We then bundled home an equaliser with 15 minutes to play to grab an undeserved point.

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    Our comeback filled us with confidence as we prepared ourselves for our only home game of the month, against recently relegated Warrenpoint Town. On paper, this would be the toughest game of the month, but it turned out to be the opposite as we scored 2 goals in the first 18 minutes before spending the rest of the game on auto-pilot, cruising to a well-deserved and overdue victory
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    We'd end the month with ANOTHER away game, as we make our way from Loughgall to Annagh United, where we missed a penalty but scored a free kick to grab a nervy three points to put us third at the end of September
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  18. [INSERT WITTY TITLE HERE] - A Journeyman Save-o-diary-facebook.jpg
    Two months into this football management and I'm not going to lie, I'm enjoying it. The team are playing well, we're getting points on the bard (more on that later) and I can see myself taking this cub into the Premiership.

    The only downside to all this is, well, I'm living in a tiny office in a tiny stadium in a tiny village in Northern Ireland, there's nothing wrong with living in a village in Northern Ireland, it's leafy, there's loads of fields, its great, but for a city boy such as myself its all so.. dull! Anyway, onto the football...

    We kicked off the month with a home game against Ballyclare Comrades, whom I can only assume read the Communist Manifesto before and after games, before training on the distribution of goals. Anyway, we started like a house on fire and soon forced the initiative, with Marty Verner scoring with just five minutes on the clock, we soon doubled the lead, with Wesley Boyle scoring a screamer on 15 minutes, 2 became three through Marc McAnallen and it was all plain sailing as we went in to half-time 3-0 up. Unfortunately, Ballyclare scored straight from kick-off and actually started playing, grabbing another in the 83rd minute to set up a tense final few minutes...

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    *Wipes brow* phew! That was a close one! Fortunately we held strong, and before we knew it we were on the road, visiting lowly Knockbreda, we played liquid football and dominated play, surely we would win?

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    Nope! Despite absolutely battering Knockbreda we just couldn't find the net, they on the other hand, were clinical and put us to the sword. Not the best warm up for a huge game against pre-season favourites Institute.

    That Knockbreda game seemed to have affected us hugely as we were a shadow of our usual selves against Institute, barely stringing any passes together and allowing our opponents all over us, it was a wonder we went in at half-time at 0-0. A few words of wisdom were needed but I failed to provide them as the second half continued in the same vein as the first, with us barely hanging on until the 84th minute when the deadlock was broken.... by MARTY VERNER!!! Verner converted our only shot on target of the game to grab a vital three points for us

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    Following this win we were all looking forward to the visit of rivals Armagh City...

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    Ah, this might become a problem later in the season

    No bother, we'd just take this attitude into the next game, this one against the Police Service of Northern Ireland. We continued our liquid football and soon found ourselves ahead through McAnallen, we contnued to push but couldn't find the net until after the interval when Marty Verner found the net, Wesley Boyle then sealed the victory with less than 15 minutes to play

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    We were full of confidence and couldn't wait for our next match which would be against... Police Service of Northern Ireland? Turns out, Northern Ireland's numerous cup competitions had reared their colective head and decided we'd play "PSNI" in the First Round of the Irish Intermediate Cup, we played liquid football once again, but this time we were met by an uber defensive PSNI, who forced us to penalties before they were sent out, and we escaped being sent down for our flying tackles

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    An eventful and successful month, don't you think?

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    Turns out, there are snakes everywhere in Northern Ireland. Gareth Buchanan, who'm I'd considered a top bloke has only gone and left for bloody Dergview! Dergview! They're shite! No bother, we'll just have to scour Northern Ireland for a replacement, fortunately we found three

    The only one who will properly play for us is Wayne Drummond, whom we brought in from East Belfast. He's quite young, quite good and, most importantly, cheap. We're paying him nothing, he fancies himself a bit of a Manuel Neuer in training, I like that

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    The next two keepers brought in weren't signed for, um, how you say, footballing reasons. We've signed both of our title rival's (Lurgan Celtic) goalkeepers in a bid to force them down the league. I'm nothing if not sneaky.

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    Anyway, on with the football. Our first game of the wonderful month of November was a re-arranged one, coming at home to Armagh City. We absolutely battered our rivals and soon found ourselves ahead through Ulton Lennon, who's that? I hear you ask, he's their centre back and he scored an own goal, top stuff. The match continued in the same vein but we couldn't find the net, going in at 1-0. Unfortunately, soon after the restart Armagh finally found themselves in our half and managed to score an entirely undeserved equaliser, the bastards. Fortunately we rallied and only 4 minutes later regained our lead through a screamer from 40 year old Graham McDonagh, you show those youngsters how it's done, Graham.

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    Following our irresistible display of footballing genius we were full of confidence as we went away to Harland & Wolff Welders, should be a routine victory, right?

    WRONG! For only the second time in my managerial career, we were absolutely battered by the opposition and were lucky to go in at half time only 1-0 down, unfortunately it became 2 shortly after the restart and we had a fight on to salvage anything from this game. Marty Verner pulled one back in the 77th minute but it proved to little to late as Josh Cahoon finished the match with a screamer in the 89th minute. Poor.

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    Next up, however, we had the perfect opportunity to get ourselves back on track as we visited amateur side Newtowne in the Irish Intermediate Cup and, from the get-go, you could see which way this game was going as we tore into the amateurs, wanting to get back on the right track, we soon found the net with Marty Verner converting from ex-Newtowne player Paul Browne's through ball. We soon doubled the lead through Marty Verner, who wanted blood, he's a vampire, in case you were wondering, fortunately we don't get much sun up in Northern Ireland. We went in at 2-0 and just going after the restart, with youungster Marc McAnallen making 3 before two late goals from substitute Wesley Boyle added a cherry to a massive cake

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    That game was both the perfect tonic to our disappointing defeat to Harland & Wolff and also was the perfect setup for our upcoming top of the table clash against Lurgan Celtic. A win would us top in what surely be a free-flowing game between 2 attacking sides

    WRONG AGAIN! This game was dreadful with the only action coming 3 minutes into the game when Marty Verner gave us the lead. 1-0, we're top, happy days

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    We are top of the league, say we are top of the league

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    Christmas has arrived and I'm not going to lie, I am feeling a bit homesick. I'm not hugely into Christmas, however its been a while since I've been home and the weekend-to-weekend schedule with no breaks makes it almost impossible for me to find time to go back to Wales, so this is how I'll be spending Christmas: On my own, in an office, with a six pack of beer, the way it should be.

    The great thing about Northern Ireland is there are four cup competitions. Yes FOUR. Which means if youg et knocked out of one, you'll get another chance later in the season. That throws up strange scenarios like the one we find ourselves in this month. Four matches, four different competitions, ooohhh exciting

    We have Strabane Athletic in the Irish Cup, Glenavon in the Mid-Ulster Cup, Larne in the league and Shankill in the Irish Intermediate Cup

    First up, away to Strabane, this should have been a walk in the park and a good confidence booster before we travel to Glenavon... NOPE! We dominated but couldn't find the net which meant.... EXTRA TIME!! Fortunately we managed to grab a penalty, convert it and make our way into the next round.. just

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    Next up, the big one. Danske Bank Premiership leaders Glenavon away in the Mid-Ulster Cup, this is the stuff dreams are made of people, and we don't have a chance

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    We face the impossible, we should be grateful Glenavon are even letting us play on their pitch, we shouldn't even bother travelling, well that's what they think

    We went to Glenavon, a team I'd actually heard of before coming to Northern Ireland and played our game and defended and hung on... just. We went into half-time 0-0, we still face the impossible, they said, its only a matter of time....

    Well nobody told Jonathan Courtney that! An early Glenavon attack was broken up and we sent the ball forward, playing around their midfield before slipping through the killer ball for Courtney. 1-0 to Loughgall. We held on.. for five minutes, Glenavon cruelly equalising against the run of play, that's it, they said, the floodgates will open. But the floodgates remained shut, for 8 minutes, when Marty Verner powered Nigel beacom's cross into the back of the Glenavon net. 2-1, and that's how it stayed. Mission impossible? Completed it mate.

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    Next up, struggling Larne in the league, surely a formality for giant killers such as ourselves? NOPE
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    A poor defeat that should be rectified when we go to Shankill, and boy it was! A solid 4-1 victory where we found ourselves 4-0 up 20 minutes in, with Marty Verner bagging a hat-trick and new boy Rhys Grainger scoring on his debut

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    Doing ok in the league and some new, exciting signings, what's not to love?

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    Well, 2017 has arrived in Loughgall and has brought with it a familiar foe... Glenavon. Northern Ireland's many cup competitions have reared thir heads once more and have paired us with Glenavon, this time at home

    Glenavon have been on a rough path since losing to us earlier in the season and are down on their luck as they visit our small village and we make light work of them taking an early lead via squad player Wesley Boyle before spending the rest of the match missing chances and generally giving me heart palpitations, but we got there in the end and are now into the Sixth Round of the Irish Cup where we'll face... Linfield. Shit. On a sidenote, Glenavon brought 273 fans, 9 less people than actually live in Loughgall, whilst there were 240 home fans, what were the 42 other people doing?

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    We stayed in Loughgall for our next match as we hosted Dergview, the new flame of Gareth "Snake v2.0" Buchanan and we dominated absolutely tearing Dergview apart, but we couldn't find the net via one of Buchanan, the woodwork or both, we had 20 shots! 10 on target! 0 goals, how????
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    Next up, a fairly routine game in the Mid-Ulster Cup as we visited lowly Coagh United, we should be sticking 3 or 4 on this lot, right? NOPE! We had to work hard for every kick as the underdogs really fought for every ball and we failed to find a rhythm, fortunately Marty Verner got us out of jail with a stunning effort on 34 minutes but this kind of inconsistency, beating Glenavon but struggling against Coagh, is starting to annoy and worry me

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    Next up after this disappointing performance was a key league game against a resurgent Warrenpoint, whom we would have to beat in order to maintain a sizeable cushion between us and the teams outside the playooffs in 4th and 5th. Once again we failed to find our rhythm but fortunately so did Warrenpoint, which lead to a drab first half. Unfortunately, they sound fit it after the restart and we suddenly found ourselves 1-0 down. We pushed but just couldn't find the net until youngster Marc McAnallen produced a moment of magic on the 73 minute mark to pull us back into the game, before the same man finished a wonderful attacking move just 7 minutes later to put us 2-1 up. Christ, this team...

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    We'd end the month with a home game at home to surprise package Annagh United and actually played football! We looked like the Loughgall I'd grown to love, playing liquid football and worrying the opposition defence, it took a while to find the net, but we did eventually via Matthew McMahon just before half-time. We looked good value for the lead and continued in this vein, until disaster struck and we conceded a needless penalty, which they score. No bother, we just continued to press and dominate and looked likely to score, but we didn't. They did though, scoring a screamer with practically the last kick of the game. Bollocks.

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    We enter "The Month of Love" (February to you and me) on a high, sure we lost our lost match to Annagh United BUT we did beat Glenavon AND Coagh United in the cups, also this month we play two reserve teams. RESERVE TEAMS! I have never been so insulted...

    Anyway, the first team for us to trample all over with our superior footballing ability were Ballymena United in the Irish Cup (Not Linfield, my bad). It took me a while to convince myself we weren't playing Balamory but an actual football team. Ballymena are doing poorly in the league and this felt like a great time to play them and take advantage of them...

    We went to Balamory with the same attitude that we've taken into every one of our cu games against bigger opposition of "Screw it", and screw it we did as we emerged from the blocks like a house on fire, setting metaphorical fire to a shaky Balamory defence who looked like they needed an urgent visit from Fireman Sam. Unfortunately, we just couldn't score and try as we might we went into half-time at 0-0 this would not do and I told them as much, half expecting a revolt I told them to go out and score, and, for once, they listened, and we soon took the lead via Marc McAnallen. Jonathan Courtney then doubled the scoreline 16 minutes later to ensure passage to the next round where we'll play.... you guessed it. Linfield.

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    Next up we hosted Glenavon Reserves, they just can't get enough of us! Glenavon seem infatuated with us and are determined to beat us, either with their first team or their reserves. According to logic, we should be able to beat Glenavon Reserves if we could beat their first team, right? That logic held up fr the first half as we raced into a two goal lead via policeman Jonathan Courtney, who scored two in three minutes and it appeared to be plain sailing for the boys in blue (We play in blue). But then something happened, something unexpected, Glenavon started playing, and they played well, forcing Darren Fox into a few saves before they eventually bagged a goal with 12 minutes to play. Surely not? We bottled it at this point and sat deep and I awaited the forthcoming equaliser, except it never happened, in fact, someone else scored. Loughgall. 3-1, have it.

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    Phew! The Irish Intermediate Cup run would continue as we went away to Crusaders in the next round (Quarter Final), well I say Crusaders, I mean Crusaders Reserves. They put up more of a fight (As you'd expect) early on and disappointingly we went into half-time level, fortunately a few inspiring words were enough to lift the Loughgall players and we soon found our rhythm in the second half, with Marty Verner scoring in the 48th minute, unfortunately Cruaders hit back, and hard, forcing the issue in the 58th minute and equalising via a "Speculative" long shot that should never have beaten Fox. We continued to attack but just couldn't find the net and found ourselves staring extra-time in the face, until, that is, a certain Marty Verner popped up with a "Get out of Jail Free" card that we were all too ready to accept as he booked us passage to the next round with a late winner

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    Following our cup exploits it was back to league action as we visited Ballyclare Comrades in an attempt to close the gap on leaders Lurgan Celtic. We started well enough, creating a few chances but failing to find the net, Ballyclare were on the ropes early on but somehow found themselves 1-0 via a 25th minute goal from Peter Duffin. We continued to press but couldn't score and it looked s if Ballyclare would grab an undeserved victory with their only shot on target of the game, fortunately Jonathan Courtney, who's been on a bit of a scoring streak recently, remembered the reason he was on the pitch and supplied us with a sumptuous equaliser on the 74 minute mark before setting up his strike partner Marty Verner 15 minutes later to bag us a dramatic, but deserved, away victory

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  23. [INSERT WITTY TITLE HERE] - A Journeyman Save-youth-intake.png
    For some reason, a bunch of 16-17 year olds showed up at training the other day saying that they were part of some kind of "Intake". Turns out, we now have about 15 extra players to pay. Great.

    Two of them looked pretty good though, say hello to Kyle and Sean

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    Anyway, March is a very exciting month for us here at Loughgall as we have two semi-finals, a quarter-final and a top of the table league clash as the first phase draws to a close. How exciting.

    First up was Portadown in the Mid-Ulster Cup semi final, Portadown are a decent side and are doing ok in the Premiership, but if this season has taught me anything, its that when we're on form, we're good enough to beat anyone in Northern Ireland. I reminded my players of that pre-game and they took heed of my words of wisdom and we soon found ourselves in their box, one of our players soon found themselves on the floor, Marty Verner found himself taking a penalty and we then found ourselves 1-0 up 13 minutes in! Excitement.

    I was shocked and had no idea what to do, carry on doing what we were doing was my guess and the game soon evened out, with both teams having chances and my heart beating at dangerous levels. We went in at half-time 1-0 up and just 45 minutes from a cup final! We went out calmly, intent on doing what we've been doing all season long, Portadown certainly weren't calm and soon found themselves down to ten men following a two-footed lunge! This was our time, surely. We continued attacking and soon found our reward, with substitute Rhys Grainger putting the tie to bed in the 80th minute. GET IN THERE!

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    Next up Premiership leaders Linfield. Away. In the cup. We've been here before (Glenavon, anybody?) but for some reason this felt 10x tougher, and for good reason, surely we couldn't do the impossible twice?

    Linfield tore us a new one in the first half, running our defence ragged with this thing we were unfamiliar with "Pass and move" I believe its called and they looked likely to take the lead, but suddenly the referee's whistle blew. Half-time. I told the lads just to keep fighting and we could nick it late on and suddenly the game changed, Linfield had changed formation a 3-4-3 and suddenly we were on top, dominating the midfield and winning the ball to give to our attacking full-backs who'd pinned back their wingers who wanted to do nothing more than attack and hated to defend. Linfield were on the ropes and we smelt blood, yet we missed opportunity after opportunity and once again we were staring extra-time in the face

    Everyone seemed content for extra-time, everyone that is except Marc McAnallen, who didn't fancy an extra half an hour and took it upon himself to drag this tiny village team into the Irish Cup semi final, and he did that, scoring a wonderful effort on 84 minutes. Scenes.

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    We didn't have long to think about the "Greatest night in Loughgall's history" however as it was soon back to the day job as we travelled away to face Institute in the league in a huge game, win and we more or less cut them adrift and make it a two-horse race for the league between us and Lurgan Celtic.

    We travelled in high spirits and full of confidence, we were determined to win this match and we set out as such, controlling the game early on and soon forcing a goal as Jonathan Courtney bagged the opener 35 minutes into the game, we continued to dominate but disaster soon struck as an Institute breakaway late in the half resulted in an undeserved equaliser. 1-1. Inspiring words were needed and they were provided as we attacked the second half with the same vigour as the first but we just couldn't find the net, well not until the 93rd minute, that is, when left back Ross Black produced a moment of magic to win us a vital three points. Even more scenes.

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    The second of our two semi finals would, once again, be an away game as we visited amateurs Brantwood for the right to contest the Irish Intermediate Cup final, we soon found our rhythm and the lead as Marty Verner put us 1-0 32 minutes in. Unfortunately we appeared to take our foot off the gas, thinking that the job was done and allowed Brantwood a chance to get back in the game They did that, equalising on 65 minutes and we had to scramble to retake the lead, fortunately we managed it as 12 minutes later Jonathan Courtney put the ball in the Brantwood net. MORE SCENES!!!!

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    Our final home game before the split would come at home to bottom side Knockbreda, a routine victory was expected and that's what we got, as Jonathan Courtney bagged a brace and fringe striker Rhys Grainger scored to bag a 3-0 victory before the second phase begins

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    MID-ULSTER CUP FINAL: DUNGANNON SWIFTS
    IRISH INTERMEDIATE CUP FINAL: DUNGANNON RESERVES
    IRISH CUP SEMI FINAL-WARRENPOINT TOWN

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  24. MID-ULSTER CUP FINAL
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    LOUGHGALL v DUNGANNON SWIFTS

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    Welcome to our live coverage of the Mid-Ulster Cup final between Loughgall and current holders Dungannon Swifts

    Loughgall have only won this competition twice since its inception in 1890, whilst Dungannon have emerged victorious 9 times, winning the last three iterations of this competition

    LINEUPS
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    Loughgall go for a narrow 4-3-1-2, whilst Dungannon opt for a 4-2-3-1

    KICK-OFF
    HALF-TIME

    Loughgall 0-0 Dungannon Swifts
    Its been a very tense affair thus far
    SECOND-HALF
    48th Minute-Clucas wins the ball back and sets McAree free, he runs down the line, whips it in for MITCHELL!!! 1-0!!!!
    59th Minute-Dougie Wilson replaces Gary Curran for Dungannon
    75th Minute-Andrew Burns replaces Chris Casement for Dungannon

    89th minute-Black chips the ball in, McAnallen rises highest, its over Nelson and ITS IN!! LOUGHGALL EQUALISE!!!

    FULL-TIME
    Loughgall 1-1 Dungannon Swifts
    Loughgall equalise in dramatic fashion!
    EXTRA-TIME
    SUBS: Marty Verner and Kyle Stewart replace Rhys Grainger and Stuart Glasgow for Loughgall

    HALF-TIME
    Loughgall 1-1 Dungannon Swifts
    Its very, very tense
    SECOND-HALF
    121st Minute-Courtney wins the ball in the midfield, he has runners ahead of him, he finds McAnallen, hes through on goal its MARC MCANALLEN!!! GOAL!!!!! 2-1!!!! THE TEENAGER HAS DONE IT!

    FULL-TIME
    Loughgall 2-1 Dungannon Swifts
    The underdogs beat the holders in dramatic fashion!


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    Following our historic victory in the Mid-Ulster Cup final, I was offered a new contract, negotiated for a bit, and then signed it, getting a year's extension and a HUGE pay rise of an extra £30 per week (That's an extra £1,560, folks)

    Anyway, we have a pretty packed month ahead of us as we enter the frankly daunting sounding "Phase 2". We only play the top six from here on in as we battle Lurgan Celtic for the Championship crown, guess who we play on the final day? Yep, Lurgan Celtic.

    The plan is simple, keep within three points of the leaders until the final day, then see how it goes, can we do that?

    First up, we're away to Institute, who've fallen off slightly since a promising start for them. We made light work of them early on, dominating play and finding ourselves 1-0 up via Jonathan Courtney's 19th minute goal. That's how it stayed until half-time, before Ross Black doubled the lead in the 51st minute, we continued to dominate, but suddenly Institute had their first attack of the match, and just as suddenly we found ourselves leading by just one. We carried on playing as we were and it third seemed inevitable, but we just couldn't find it, with Institute equalising instead via James McIntyre. Disaster. We re-grouped, went again and thankfully found the net for the third time and grabbed all three points

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    Next, the Irish Cup semi final, a huge occasion, but an opponent not as big as the magnitude of the tie as we found ourselves facing fellow Championship side Warrenpoint Town. Injuries and suspensions forced us to give youngster Kyle Stewart his debut and we fared well early on, but couldn't find the net. Half-time came and went and we soon found ourselves back out there, and breaking, and then scoring! Jonathan Courtney putting us in the lead 57 minutes in. All seemed well until Kyle Stewart lost his head 10 minutes later. Disaster, we're down to 10, what do we do? Defend. And that's what we did for the final 20 odd minutes. 1-0 to Loughgall, we're in the Irish Cup final. Scenes.

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    Next up a league game of no less importance as we host Annagh United, ideally we need to win more or less every game in order to avoid the playoffs and go up automatically. That got off to a poor start as Annagh held us to a draw. Poor. Fortunately Lurgan Celtic also ran into some trouble, losing 2-1 at home to Institute. Phew.

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    Our next game in our hectic schedule is.. our second final of the season! We'd be travelling to Belfast to meet Dungannon Swifts Reserves in the Irish Intermediate Cup final. We dominated play and soon found ourselves 1-0 up via Gary Henderson. We should have pushed on from here, but just couldn't, with chance after chance going begging until Dungannon showed us how to finish in the 62nd minute as they equalised with one of their first shots of the game. 1-1, back to square one, and then into extra-time, we continued to push and eventually found the net in the 102nd minute through Ross Black, before Jonathan Courtney sealed it 2 minutes from time. Phew.

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    FAVOURED PERSON!!!

    A few days later it was back to the day job as we travelled to Castlederg to play Dergview, who sat back, soaked up pressure and countered. Winning 3-1 and doing Northern Ireland's best impression of Leicester. Bastards.

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    Our penultimate game of the season would see us host Warrenpoint needing a win to stay within touching distance of Lurgan, who'd fortunately also hit a bump going into the final days of the season. We were very impressive here but just couldn't find the net, but then we won a penalty and all seemed right, until I saw captain and centre back taking it. No bother, Boss, he said as he smashed it into the roof of the net. His first Loughgall goal and we were leading. Warrenpoint had nothing in them and we made it two, eventually, with fringe striker Anto Burns finding the net in the 93rd minute

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    If we beat Lurgan Celtic, we win the league

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  26. THE FINAL DAY
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    AS IT STANDS
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    Loughgall have to win to win the title, whilst Lurgan Celtic can draw and still claim the only automatic promotion spot

    KICK-OFF

    7th Minute-Steele picks the ball up for Lurgan, beats Alderdice, hits it from range! That's well over
    36th Minute-Rogers, find Barton who gives it Steele with his back to goal, he turns hits it!! WHAT A SAVE FROM DRUMMOND!
    40th Minute-Ball in from Lurgan its STEEL! Blocked!

    42nd Minute-Glasgow knocks the ball down for Henderson, he's in space, he hits it! Straight at the keeper

    43rd Minute-Long ball forward, Conaty nods it down, Steele takes it first time! POST!

    HALF-TIME
    Loughgall 0-0 Lurgan Celtic
    Lurgan Celtic are going up as it stands

    SECOND-HALF

    50th Minute-Long ball forward, its a mix up at the back for Loughgall, Conaty gets onto it he finds Steele!! 1-0!!

    66th Minute-Black stands over the free kick, chips it into the near post, flicked on by Copeland its ALDERDICE!!! 1-1!!

    70th Minute-Hagan whips it in, flicked on by Hutchinson for STEELE!!!! How did he miss?
    71st Minute-The ball's played forward for Fitzpatrick, he finds Steele, he's in space! SAVED!

    76th Minute-Beacom plays it long, he finds Grainger, he hits it! POST! That was a HUGE chance for Loughgall

    FULL-TIME

    Loughgall 1-1 Lurgan Celtic
    Lurgan Celtic win the league!


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  27. IRISH CUP FINAL
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    LOUGHGALL v LURGAN CELTIC

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    Welcome to our live coverage of the Irish Cup final, between TWO Championship clubs in Loughgall and Lurgan Celtic

    Neither have these sides have EVER won this competition and Loughgall will be out for revenge following the final day drama in the Championship between these two

    LINEUPS

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    Loughgall go for a 4-3-1-2 but are missing the influential Nigel Beacom and Marc McAnallen, whilst Lurgan go for a 4-4-1-1

    KICK-OFF
    22nd Minute-Good play here from Loughgall they're keeping possession well, now McDonagh finds Verner, he turns and finds run of Boyle, Boyle's through on goal, its WESLEY BOYLE AND IT'S 1-0 TO LOUGHGALL!!!
    38th Minute-Raymond Fitzpatrick replaces the injured Peter Steele for Lurgan Celtic

    39th Minute-Ross Black stands over the free kick, he hits it! Saved by Cairns and its scrambled out for a Loughgall corner
    44th Minute-Henderson whips the ball in from the corner, flicked on by Thompson for MCCALLUM!!! 1-1!

    HALF-TIME

    Loughgall 1-1 Lurgan Celtic
    Loughgall have been the better team but find themselves level at the half

    SECOND-HALF

    68th Minute-Shea Conaty replaces Ryan Henderson for Lurgan Celtic

    71st Minute-Kyle Stewart replcaes Gary Henderson for Loughgall
    85th Minute-Conor McCaul replaces Stephen Hutchinson for Lurgan Celtic

    90th Minute-Stefan McMaster replaces Stuart Glasgow for Loughgall

    FULL-TIME
    Loughgall 1-1 Lurgan Celtic
    Its very tense here at Windsor Park

    EXTRA-TIME
    94th Minute-Loughgall win the ball in midfield, McDonagh lays it off for McMaster, he hits it long for Verner, Verner wins it and he's through on goal, its MARTY VERNER!!! AND ITS IN!!! 2-1!!!
    102nd Minute-Paul Stretton replaces the injured Ricky Copeland for Loughgall


    HALF-TIME
    Loughgall 2-1 Lurgan Celtic
    Its very tight here, a proper cup final!

    SECOND-HALF
    108th Minute-Its a good tackle from Stewart and the ball finds its way to Courtney, he plays it forward and finds Verner, Verner's through here, he hits it.. SAVED!


    FULL-TIME

    Loughgall 2-1 Lurgan Celtic
    Loughgall exact their revenge on Lurgan Celtic!


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  28. We're all going on a European tour
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  29. CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYOFF
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    We face Institute over two legs for the right to face Carrick Rangers for the right to play in the Danske Bank Premiership ext season. C'MON!!!!!

    CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYOFF FIRST LEG
    Institute 1-2 Loughgall
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    Drummond, Beacom, Alderdice, Copeland, Black, Glasgow, Stewart, Henderson (Anderson 64), McMaster, Donnelly, Courtney (Grainger 64)

    A very good away performance capped off by two goals from two very unlikely sources Kyle Stewart and Phillip Donnelly! The two of them bagged their first goals for the club at key stages, Donnelly's winner could prove the difference come the second leg!

    CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYOFF SECOND LEG
    Loughgall 3-1 Institute
    Loughgall win 5-2 on aggregate

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    Drummond, Beacom, Alderdice, Reilly, Black, McMaster (Grainger 115), Glasgow, McDonagh, Burns, Donnelly (Courtney 99), Verner (Stewart 63)

    As complete a performance as you'll ever see earns us a spot in the Premiership playoff! We dominated from start to end, with Institute's goal being a mere blip. Donnelly grabbed his second in two games, with fringe players Burns and McMaster getting in on the act as well. Sean Reilly made his debut and had an 8.2 Match Rating.
    AndySams10 and Nosibor like this.

  30. PREMIERSHIP PLAYOFF
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    We have to bet Carrick Rangers over two legs to go up. Doable.

    PREMIERSHIP PLAYOFF FIRST LEG
    Loughgall 0-0 Carrick Rangers
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    Drummond, Beacom, Alderdice, Reilly, Black, McDonagh, Glasgow (Stewart 66), Henderson, Boyle, Courtney, Verner (Grainger 66)

    We really should have won here and piled the pressure on Carrick ahead of the second leg at their place. They sat deep and showed us too much respect and we really should have taken advantage of this. Poor.

    PREMIERSHIP PLAYOFF SECOND LEG
    Carrick Rangers 2-2 Loughgall
    Loughgall win on Away Goals
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    Drummond, Beacom, Alderdice, Reilly, Black, McDonagh, Glasgow, Henderson (Donnelly 81), McAnallen, Courtney (Stewart 66), Verner

    WE ARE GOING UP, SAY WE ARE GOING UP!!!! GET IN THERE! An inspired comeback sees us take our place in the Danske Bank Premiership. Carrick were all over us at the start and deserved their lead but we recovered well, scoring through the pivotal Marc McAnallen before taking control of the game and Marty Verner scoring an excellent rebound goal!

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  31. Congrats on the promotion mate. You gonna stay put or find somewhere bigger and better?
    TheLuckDuck likes this.

  32. Quote Originally Posted by NathanITFC View Post
    Congrats on the promotion mate. You gonna stay put or find somewhere bigger and better?
    Cheers mate

    Not many decent jobs have come up and I want to try and keep Loughgall up and see how we do in Europe so probably one more season here at least. These are the leagues that are loaded...

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    I'm expecting a few more jobs to come up once Scotland loads
    Nosibor likes this.

  33. [INSERT WITTY TITLE HERE] - A Journeyman Save-budgets.png

    I'll need that budget if this is anything to go by...
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    I'm expected to reach the second qualifying round...

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    AndySams10, Telstar and Nosibor like this.

  34. EUROPA LEAGUE
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    We'll have to be at our best to even score against Levski Sofia. They're professional and have Dimitar Berbatov!

    EUROPA LEAGUE FIRST QUALIFYING ROUND FIRST LEG
    Loughgall 2-2 Levski Sofia

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    Drummond, Beacom, Alderdice, Reilly, Black, Stewart, Glasgow, McDonagh, McAnallen (McMaster 58), Courtney (Grainger 58), Donnelly

    We took the lead, twice, against a professional side! I'm proud about that, the 2 away goals they scored are disappointing though and probably mean we're out unless we do something spectacular in Bulgaria

    EUROPA LEAGUE FIRST QUALIFYING ROUND SECOND LEG
    Levski Sofia 3-1 Loughgall
    Levski Sofia win 5-3 on Aggregate

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    Drummond, Beacom, Alderice, Reilly, Black, Stewart (McMaster 45), Glasgow, McDonagh, McAnallen (Grainger 56), Burns (Donnelly 66), Courtney

    Well, the European tour is over with a trip to Bulgaria, at least we scored and the 1 away fan got something to cheer about

    These games were played before the start of the transfer window so a lot of players we'd signed hadn't come in by these games we probably would have won if they'd been here

    At least we got some money out of it
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    Last edited by TheLuckDuck; 01/01/2017 at 08:14 PM.
    AldoKemp-1, ninjaskill and Nosibor like this.

  35. I've been a busy boy
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    ninjaskill and Nosibor like this.

  36. My quest to double the population of Loughgall has continued this summer as I've brought in 19 players before the start of the season in order to improve our squad and its depth. I'll only run you through the first team signings.

    DALE PATTON FROM BANGOR FOR FREE
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    With the retirement of Marty Verner we desperately needed some more firepower up front and we've found some. Patton can do a few jobs up front and was pretty good for Bangor last season, scoring 8 in 20, not bad for a 19 year old. I didn't know there was another Bangor

    JACK BOGGS FROM LARNE FOR FREE
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    Drummond did a decent job for us last season but I felt we needed a bit of a step up ahead of this season and I feel as though we've found him in Jack Boggs. He's young, has a lot of potential and could turn into a top goalkeeper

    DAVID MULLEN FROM LARNE FOR FREE

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    We need some youngsters at centre back as Copeland and Alderdice are ageing, we also needed some backup because we lack depth in that position and I feel Mullen ticks both of these boxes

    EOIN TOAL FROM ARMAGH CITY FOR FREE
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    With McDonagh retiring soon we needed a playmaker and we've found one in Eoin Toal. 18 and more than good enough for the first team, Toal could go on to be an important player at this club for years to come

    DARIUS ROOHI FROM PSNI FOR FREE
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    With Wesley Boyle retiring we needed a backup in attacking midfield and that is what Roohi has come in to do, McAnallen needs backup and Roohi could even replace the boy wonder. Maybe.

    DARRYL BRIGHT FROM ARMAGH CITY FOR FREE
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    Backup.

    PAVEL VIEIRA FROM BANGOR FOR FREE

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    I'm very happy with this signing, he's a big step up from Gary Henderson, the man he's come in to replace, and could prove to be a driving force in midfield, he's also an international, which I quite like

    SEAN HENEGHAN FROM COAGH UNITED FOR FREE
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    Another backup

    SHANE DOYLE FROM ARMAGH CITY FOR FREE

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    One o the few players at the club earning a weekly wage and boy does he deserve it, a very good player with bags of potential, could be a Northern Ireland international one day

    THE REST
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  37. love the fact 1 fan travelled to Bulgaria

  38. Quote Originally Posted by AldoKemp-1 View Post
    love the fact 1 fan travelled to Bulgaria
    The Loughgall Ultra

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    LOUGHGALL SPLASH CASH

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    Newly promoted Loughgall have splashed the cash ahead of the new season, spending a total of £44,000 on 4 players

    Loughgall had raked in a reported £250,000 thanks to their European jaunt and they have invested some of that money in an attempt to stay in the Danske Bank Premiership this season

    The first player brought in was attacking midfielder Joe McKinney for £14,000

    McKinney, 23, has been brought in from Ards following their relegation last season, he scored 6 goals and bagged 4 assists in 35 league appearances last season
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    Second to sign was Maurice Chambers, who's joined from Bangor for £8,000

    Northern Ireland Under-19 international Chambers, 17, scored 1 goal in 4 league games for Bangor in the Championship this season and is held in high regard amongst youth coaches in Northern Ireland
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    Third to sign was striker Ruairi Croskery, who's joined from Warrenpoint Town for £14,000

    Croskery, winger who has been converted to a striker this season, scored 8 goals and bagged 7 assists in 22 appearances last season for Warrenpoint

    The former Manchester United trainee has become Loughgall's record signing
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    The fourth and final signing was Harry Doherty, who's joined Loughgall from Institute for £8,000

    Irishman Doherty, 21, had spent time at English clubs Charlton Athletic and Brighton and Hove Albion before coming to Northern Ireland, keeping 7 clean sheets in 19 league games for promotion challengers Instiute last season
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  40. good to see another of your stories on here! will be following like the last one!
    TheLuckDuck likes this.

  41. Loving this so far!
    TheLuckDuck likes this.

  42. Quote Originally Posted by naterr View Post
    good to see another of your stories on here! will be following like the last one!
    Cheers mate, hopefully I can win as few Champions Leagues in this one as well

  43. Quote Originally Posted by alphaguru View Post
    Loving this so far!
    Cheers mate

  44. AUGUST
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    Our first month in the Premiership since 2007, let's do this!

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Loughgall 0-0 Lurgan Celtic
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    Boggs, Glasgow, Alderdice, Doyle, Black, Heneghan, Toal (McDonagh 87), Vieira, McAnallen, Patton, Courtney

    Our first Premiership game and who do we play? Lurgan Celtic, last season's Championship winners. In truth this was a boring game with two familiar sides going through the motions

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Linfield 1-2 Loughgall
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    Boggs, Glasgow, Alderdice, Doyle, Black, Heneghan (McDonagh 60), Toal, Vieira, McAnallen, Patton (Grainger 65), Courtney

    From last season's Championship champions to last season's Premiership champions and we played better here! Linfield were good for the first 54 minutes but their goal sparked us into life and we battered Linfield with attack after attack, eventually equalising via Vieira before Shane Doyle scored the winning goal with a header 3 minutes later

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Loughgall 1-1 Glenavon
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    Boggs, Glasgow, Alderdice, Doyle, Black, Heneghan, Vieira, McDonagh (Toal 57), McAnallen (Roohi 57), Patton, Courtney

    We carried our great display over from the Linfield game but fell behind undeservedly, fortunately we showed our resolve and equalised through Ross Black late on

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Coleraine 2-0 Loughgall
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    Boggs, Beacom, Alderdice, Doyle, Black, Glasgow, Toal, Vieira, McAnallen, Patton, Courtney

    We matched Coleraine in this game but we just lacked the quality to take advantage of our play, I'll need to rectify that before the end of the transfer window

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Loughgall 0-1 Dungannon Swifts

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    Boggs, Beacom, Alderdice, Doyle, Black, Glasgow, Toal (Vieira 60), Heneghan, McAnallen, Patton, Courtney (Roohi 60)

    See above

    NORTHERN IRISH LEAGUE CUP SECOND ROUND
    Glenavon 2-3 Loughgall
    After Extra-Time
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    Boggs, Glasgow, Alderdice, Copeland, Black, Heneghan, Vieira, McDonagh, McAnallen (Roohi 62), Courtney, Patton (Toal 64)

    We played very well and should have won it in normal time, spurning chance after chance and highlighting our need for more quality

    LEAGUE TABLE
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    A decent start to the month, yet to win at home though
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  45. SEPTEMBER
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    A promising start to the season last month, we need to build on that

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Cliftonville 1-1 Loughgall
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    Doherty, Beacom, Alderdice, Doyle, Black (Copeland 83), Glasgow, Toal, Vieira, McKinney (Heneghan 59), Patton, Croskery (Courtney 78)

    We didn't deserve to go behind, but we did, so it was an uphill struggle with even before Stuart Glasgow's moment of madness. Fortunately this squad is resilient and that resiliency showed as we battled from behind with 10 men

    DANKSE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Loughgall 2-1 Portadown
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    Doherty, Beacom, Alderdice, Copeland, Black, Heneghan, Toal (McDonagh 78), Vieira, McAnallen, Courtney (Patton 57), Croskery

    OUR FIRST HOME WIN OF THE SEASON! Portadown have struggled slightly so far, but it was us who struggled early on as they took the lead. We dominated but couldn't force our way through until late on with McAnallen and Patton the saviours

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Crusaders 3-1 Loughgall
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    Doherty, Bradley, Alderdice, Doyle, Black, Glasgow, Toal, Vieira, McAnallen, Patton, Croskery

    Just not good enough, Nigel Beacom has signed for Queen's University Belfast, who play in the Third Division...

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Glentoran 1-3 Loughgall
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    Doherty, Glasgow, Alderdice, Copeland (Doyle 81), Black, Stewart, Toal (McKinney 59), Vieira, McAnallen, Patton, Croskery (Courtney 81)

    We tried out a new tactic for this game and it worked wonders! We played a counter-attacking 4-1-2-1-2 and ripped Glentoran apart, somehow dominating despite being the counter-attacking team

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Loughgall 5-0 Ballinamallard United

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    Doherty, Bradley, Alderdice, Doyle, Black, Heneghan, Toal (Stewart 64), Vieira, McAnallen, Patton (Courtney 64), Croskery (McKinney 75)

    WOW! My primary focus in the summer window was to add a bit of quality in the final third, and if this performance is anything to go by, we did just that! Three of our summer signings scored in a stunning 5-0 win

    LEAGUE TABLE
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    Top six? Keep this up and we could be going on another European tour
    Seano, naterr, Telstar and 2 others like this.

  46. OCTOBER
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    Just keep going

    NORTHERN IRISH LEAGUE CUP THIRD ROUND
    Loughgall 2-1 Newry City
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    Doherty, Bradley, Reilly, Doyle, Black, Glasgow, Bright (Toal 53), Heneghan, Roohi (McAnallen 53), Courtney, Patton

    A slightly rotated side fared pretty well here, securing safe passage to the next round despite a slight scare at the end

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Ballymena United 1-1 Loughgall

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    Doherty, Bradley, Alderdice, Copeland, Black, Heneghan, Toal, Vieira, McKinney, Patton, Courtney (Grainger 68)

    A tight affair that offered little in the way of entertainment as we battled with Ballymena, with a draw being the fairest result in the end

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Lurgan Celtic 0-3 Loughgall
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    Doherty, Bradley, Alderdice, Copeland (Doyle 64), Black, Heneghan, Toal (Glasgow 64), Vieira, McAnallen, McKinney (Croskery 81), Courtney

    Since our opening day 0-0 draw, both sides have taken very different paths, with Lurgan Celtic battling at the bottom of the league whilst we have European ambitions and the difference showed today as we battered them

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Loughgall 1-2 Linfield
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    Doherty, Bradley, Alderdice, Copeland, Black, Heneghan (Glasgow 65), Toal, Vieira, McAnallen, Courtney, Croskery (Patton 65)

    Defensive errors cost us as Linfield reversed the 2-1 defeat we inflicted on them earlier in the season with as they took the three points home with them, very disappointing

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Glenavon 2-2 Loughgall
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    Doherty, Bradley, Alderdice, Doyle, Black, Glasgow, Toal (Heneghan 78), Vieira, McAnallen, Patton, Croskery (Courtney 78)

    We absolutely battered Glenavon and should have won 2 or 3 nil, but didn't. Glenavon would probably admit they were lucky

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Loughgall 5-2 Coleraine
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    Doherty, Glasgow (Bradley 70), Alderdice, Copeland, Doyle, Heneghan, Vieira, McKinney (Toal 81), McAnallen, Patton (Courtney 70), Croskery

    Wow.

    LEAGUE TABLE
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    Europe calling?

  47. doing great man! hopefully can keep it up, Game is definately messed up though too many matches where you have 6 or 8 away fans, I know footballs not great but come on!

  48. Quote Originally Posted by AldoKemp-1 View Post
    doing great man! hopefully can keep it up, Game is definately messed up though too many matches where you have 6 or 8 away fans, I know footballs not great but come on!
    Cheers mate

    I think the reason we have so few away fans is because Loughgall are a village team for a village of ~250 people, so it would probably be unrealistic to have more than a few away fans every week

  49. NOVEMBER
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    We've been great so far this season, can we keep it up?

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Loughgall 0-0 Cliftonville
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    Doherty, Glasgow, Alderdice, Copeland, Black, Heneghan, Vieira, McKinney (Toal 73), McAnallen, Patton, Croskery (Courtney 73)

    Lots of chances, lots of shots, zero goals. Interesting.

    NORTHERN IRISH LEAGUE CUP QUARTER FINAL
    Loughgall 2-0 Ballymena United
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    Doherty, Bradley, Alderdice, Copeland, Black, Heneghan, Toal, Vieira, McAnallen (Courtney 45), Patton, Croskery
    2 goals in 10 minutes meant that this was a simple victory

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERHSHIP
    Dungannon Swifts 2-0 Loughgall

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    Doherty, Glasgow (Bradley 68), Alderdice, Copeland, Black, Heneghan, Toal, Vieira, McKinney (McAnallen 68), Patton, Croskery

    I wasn't expecting anything from this game as Dungannon have been brilliant this season, still we didn't disgrace ourselves and gave them a game

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Portadown 3-4 Loughgall
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    Doherty, Glasgow, Alderdice, Doyle, Black, Heneghan (Reilly 64), Toal (McAnallen 64), Vieira (Roohi 85), McKinney, Patton, Croskery

    Attack. Great. Defence. Shit.

    LEAGUE TABLE
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    We're still looking good as we enter December

  50. DECEMBER
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    We have a pretty hectic month as we begin to enter the "Third Phase" of the season

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Loughgall 1-3 Glentoran
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    Doherty, Glasgow, Alderdice, Doyle, Black, Heneghan, McAnallen, Vieira (Toal 65), McKinney, Patton, Croskery

    We had 27 shots, they had 6. Very disappointing.

    MID-ULSTER CUP FIRST ROUND
    Loughgall 6-1 Lurgan Celtic
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    Doherty, Glasgow, Alderdice, Copeland, Black, McAnallen, Toal, Vieira, McKinney, Patton, Croskery

    Talk about a game of two halves! A slightly drab, boring first half and then a second half filled with action 7 goals! Six of them ours!

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Loughgall 4-2 Crusaders
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    Doherty, Glasgow, Alderdice, Copeland (Doyle 65), Black, Heneghan, Toal, Vieira (McAnallen 65), McKinney, Patton, Croskery (Roohi 88)

    To lose the lead twice in one game is awful, fortunately the referee took pity on us and gave us two penalties in the last 10 minutes

    NORTHERN IRISH LEAGUE CUP SEMI FINAL
    Loughgall 0-1 Linfield
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    Doherty, Glasgow, Alderdice, Copeland, Black, Heneghan, Vieira, Toal (McDonagh 62), McAnallen, Patton, Burns

    A pretty poor display dumps us out of the League Cup, the only cup competition I'm yet to win in Northern Ireland, that I've managed in of course

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Loughgall 2-1 Ballymena United
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    Doherty, Glasgow, Alderdice, Copeland, Black, Heneghan, Vieira, Toal (McDonagh 64), McAnallen (Roohi 64), McKinney, Patton

    A very exciting game, lots of shots and chances and fortunately we converted more as we ran out winners in an important match against nearby (Positionally) Ballymena

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Ballinamallard United 2-3 Loughgall

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    Doherty, Glasgow, Alderdice, Copeland, Black, Heneghan, Vieira, Toal (Stewart 60), McAnallen, Patton, McKinney

    We had a first half that was full of excitement and goals (4 of them) and then a second half that was tense as both teams tried to simultaneously hand on to their lead and score the winner. Fortunately our quality shone through with Joe McKinney bagging the winner

    DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
    Loughgall 2-0 Lurgan Celtic
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    Doherty, Glasgow, Alderidce, Copeland, Black, Heneghan, Toal, Vieira, McAnallen, Patton (Roohi 63), McKinney
    We kick off the third phase of the season with a 2-0 win that leaves us still in contention for Europe, what a season

    LEAGUE TABLE
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    We enter 2018 in 4th in the Premiership! Amazing for a village team!

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