Mid Ulster Ladies are celcbrating a huge play-off victory over Lisburn to retain their Premier League status next year.
The local ladies held a slender 2-1 lead going into the home leg of their two-match playoff, but a hat trick from Samantha Kelly and goals from Sharagh Murphy, Hannah Turkington and Chloe McCarron gave Mid Ulster an 8-3 aggregate win.
“No disrespect to Lisburn, but we expected to beat them,” said Clare Charles from the club.
“It is quite a step up to the Premier League and if we deserve to be here, as we believe, we should be beating teams like Lisburn - and beating them comprehensively.
“At the start of the season I thought that we would be in with a chance of challenging for the title. That we ended up in a relegation/promotion play-off just goes to show how fickle football can be!
“That said the margins were just so tight in the league this year.
“For as long as I can remember Glentoran and Crusaders have dominated the league, but this year it came down to the last game.
“We were playing Newry away and were running a little late due to an injury. They actually ended up winning the championship because of a last minute goal against us.
“It hasn’t been our best season, but we have a lot to build on for next year.
“Hopefully the experience of this year will hold to us in the years to come.
“We have been able to introduce young players like Rachael Rodgers and Sharagh Murphy to the team - Rachael is just 15 but has a big future ahead of her,” she said.
“For the first time ever we have been able to field an eleven-a-side team in the U15 league and our junior section continues to grow on a weekly basis. The future is bright for Mid Ulster Ladies FC.”.