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Lifford Celtic crowned champions on dramatic day

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BY AIDAN O’DONNELL

LIFFORC Celtic were last night celebrating their first ever Donegal League Premier Division title after leapfrogging last season’s champions Glenea United on a truly dramatic final day of the campaign yesterday afternoon.

The border side, trailing Glenea by a point prior to kick-off, defeated Dunkineely Celtic 2-0 at Darney Park courtesy of goals from Declan Lafferty and Jude Patton.

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That brought the Greenbrae residents onto 40 points, but as the full-time whistle blew, Lifford’s win seemed irrelevant as Glenea led Rathmullan Celtic 4-3 as the game at Flagpole Field entered injury-time.

Michael Barry put Tom Coll’s side, who trailed 3-2 with half-an-hour to play, 4-3 up in the 89th minute. However, the Glasserchoo outfit failed to hold onto their lead as Dara Patton fired home a 93rd minute equaliser to destroy their hopes of recording back-to-back triumphs.

The reversal of fortunes in such a short space of time was quite amazing: Lifford, despite winning, were despondent, but within a couple of minutes their mood was transformed upon hearing word filter through that Glenea had collapsed right at the death.

The league title wasn’t the only thing up for grabs yesterday as four sides looked to avoid relegation to Division One.

Despite losing at home, Dunkineely managed to escape automatic relegation, albeit at the expense of a promotion/relegation play-off, which will be against Cranford.

Any kind of a result for Lagan Harps against St. Catherine’s would’ve seen them switch positions with Dunkineely, but the Manor side fell to a 2-1 defeat and, by virtue of an inferior goal difference, go down alongside Castlefin Celtic, who were already consigned to relegation a number of weeks ago.

The win for the Saints saw them finish five points clear of the relegation places while a 1-0 win for Gweedore Celtic over Milford United also consolidated their top flight status.

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