ON THE smallest moments games can turn and destinies can change forever.
In the case of Sunday’s promotion and relegation decider between Glen and Newbridge in Kilrea, a save by Michael O’Neill at one end of the field and a Tom Walls goal other, within second of each other, condemned Glen to relegation and returned Newbridge to the top flight a year after they were relegated.
There was heart break for Mickey Culbert and Glen but jubilation for Newbridge as they won promotion in the most dramatic of circumstances.
Newbridge in fairness where the better team over the 60 minutes but Glen stayed within touching distance of winning the game right up until first Walls and then Eamonn Burke netted to give their side a famous victory.
The Watty Graham’s started brightest and ran into an early lead with Michael Warnock and Ryan Witton particularly lively for Glen.
Eamonn Burke, Nathan Rocks and corner forward Danny Mulholland all got on target for the Sean O’Learys as they stayed in touch through the opening 20 minutes of the action.
The scores were tied at 0-4 apiece when Burke pointed brilliantly with the outside of his right foot 23 minutes in before Danny Mulholland gave Newbridge their first lead of the game a minute later.
However some confusion in the Newbridge defence a few minutes later allowed John McCamley to finish to the net despite the best efforts of the Sean O’Learys defenders.
Two late points from Mulholland and blood sub SP McCann left the scores tied at the break.
Kevin Sweeney opened the second half scoring for Newbridge but Emmet Bradley was on target for Glen as they opened up a one point lead again.
Midway through the second half the scores were tied at 1-7 to 0-10 as Nathan Rock and Mulholland were again on the scoresheet for the Sean O’Learys as they sensed an upset might be on the cards.
After Rocks put Newbridge into the lead a glorious chance presented itself to Ryan Dougan but he was denied by Michael O’Neill who turned the ball round the post for a ‘45’, which goalkeeper Andy Warnock converted for Glen.
Just a minute later the Watty Graham’s luck was out as Tom Walls shot dipped just under their bar giving the Newbridge men a 3 point lead with just minutes left.
A minute later Eamonn Burke put the game beyond doubt as he dispossessed Andy Warnock and bagged another goal for his side inspite of a number of fouls.
Glen tried in vain to get back into the game but all they could manage was a late point as Newbridge returned to senior football.