A 2-0 home win over Limavady was enough to see Institute clinch the Championship 1 title after Bangor could only draw 1-1 with Harland and Wolff Welders. The afternoon was an emotional rollercoaster, with concern over captain Paddy McLaughlin carried off injured quickly replaced by delight when his replacement, Stephen O’Donnell, headed in a free kick at the back post on the half hour mark. 5 minutes before the interval, Michael McCrudden scored another great individual goal as he turned his man, ran along the byline and fired in from an accuate angle. Shortly after however new filtered through that Bangor had taken the lead. A more muted second half saw Stute with a few chances to make it to 100 goals for the season, with Corey Wilson doing well to keep out Ryan Varma (twice) and then substitute Robbie Hume. With news filtering through that Ards-bound Josh Cahoon had scored an equaliser for the Welders, attention in the stands turned firmly again to Bangor. Relegated Limavady didn’t manage to trouble Stute stopper Michael Doherty all game, but as the final whistle blew a nervous wait ensured until all the stoppage time at the Bangor Fuels Arena had been played. At long last however the result was confirmed and it was jubilation for Stute.
After the game, as Stute’s players, fans and officials waited for the trophy to arrive, Paul Kee spoke to the Sentinel’s Kevin McLaughlin.
INSTITUTE: Doherty; Crown, P McLaughlin (O’Donnell, 29), Curran, McKeever; McCauley (Curry, 74), Varma, Walsh, McCrudden; Parkhouse, O’Flynn (Hume, 74)