Monday, July 28, 2014

Northern Ireland – familiar year: dominant leader, closed league without promotion and relegation, nothing new. Distillery (Belfast) was the weakest club this season – 7 points in total. A team like that should not have been among the best... but it was and the reason was largely preservation of the league itself. Unfortunately, Northern Ireland had the most inconvenient circumstances in the whole Europe. Mere survival of championship, a really sad story. Even the best club was not strong. It was Linfield, of course.
Another comfortable title – pointless to count how many. They lost 2 matches, won 14, tied 6, ended 6 points ahead of the second placed Glenavon.

Since there were no big changes from the squad a year before, the only conclusion is that this team had no good enough players to join English or Scottish clubs. A squad for domestic consumption... and much stronger than the rest of the league.
The Cup final opposed different teams – mid-table ones. Cliftonville vs Portadown. In its own way, a dramatic final.
The quality may have not been high, but it was spirited and tightly contested final. Goals were scored one after another.
Portadown tried hard – it was good to win a trophy, but they were a goal short at the end. 2-3. The Cup stayed in Belfast.
Cliftonville bravely kept their precious advantage to the last whistle. What else to say? Happy winners.
Here they are, Cup and all.