ARRANMORE UNITED WERE this afternoon crowned champions of the Old Orchard Saturday Division for the second time in three years.
Arranmore United 1-0 Orchard FC
Gavin McGlanaghy scored the only goal of the game against an Orchard FC side who arrived on the island needing a win to keep themselves in the title race.
Photo caption: The Arranmore United squad with the Old Orchard Saturday Division One title trophy this afternoon at Rannagh Park. Photo: Kayla Early
McGlanaghy showed his predatory instinct to drill home on 44 minutes when he bagged his 17th league goal of the season – his 25th in all – following a pass from Conor Proctor, who will have a double reason for celebration with his 21st birthday party on tonight.
Jerry Early’s Arranmore are still unbeaten in the league this term and have yet to concede a goal at Rannagh Park, but that statistic almost came undone six minutes from time today.
Arranmore goalkeeper John Green made an instinctive point-blank save late on to deny Jerome Burke (captured above by Gerry O’Donnell).
When the celebrations die down, it’ll be back to training for Early’s side as they face Glencar Celtic next Saturday at Diamond Park in Ballyare in the semi-final of the Downtown Cup.
But they’ll enjoy themselves before then.
The victory was a poignant one as well as Arranmore lost one of their greatest supporters recently, John O’Hara.
“We dedicated the win to John, who has been to more Arranmore games than anyone down the years,” Early told Donegal Sport Hub this evening.
“We spoke about John before the game and there was a minute’s silence. We wanted to do it for him. He was a very good friend of everyone at the football club.
“I’m chuffed with the title, I really am. This is more than a club – it’s a community thing with us. The commitment of this squad of players is what has made it possible. I have players travelling from Cork, Galway and Drogheda to play every weekend and there are lads getting shifts changed at work so they can play for this team.”
Arranmore have Strand Rovers to play in their last home game of the season in two weeks’ time but Early was glad to put the issue to bed this afternoon.
It’s a special triumph for the only island club under the jurisdiction of the FAI and a club who almost went to the wall three years ago with Early admitting at the time they were finding it near impossible to field on a Sunday. The move to Saturday, though, has reinvigorated the club and they added to the title success of 2013/14 this afternoon.
“Strand is a derby game for us and anything can happen in those sort of games,” Early added of this season’s triumph. “Our defence has been our bedrock all season and if you’r solid at the back and have the likes of Gavin up front in the form that he’s in, well, then you’ve certainly got a chance.
“It’s not an easy division to win and we’ll enjoy the celebrations and then it’ll be back to training on Monday night. We’ve Glencar in the cup on Saturday and that will be a tough game no doubt. Orchard today was tight again but we managed to get the goal and the save that John made near the end was miraculous. I’ve been involved in football for a long time and never have a seen a save as good as that.
“But, for us, it’s great to win. There have been so many good wishes passed on from people wide and far and we’re delighted for all those people as well.”
Arranmore United squad: John Green, Frankie Early, Phil Boyle, Dan Rodgers, Michael McHugh, Sean O’Hara, Jason O’Donnell, Ruane Reynolds, Declan Proctor, Conor Proctor, Martin Proctor, Benny McGarvey, Christopher McGlanaghy, Gavin McGlanaghy, Paul Early, Dion Byrne, Sean McCauley, Leo McLoone, AJ Gallagher, Shaun Sharkey, Prezneka Torski, David Ward, Sean Ó Gallchóir, Edward McGowan, Noel Early.Tags: