Institute clinch Bluefin Sport Championship title

Institute 3-0 Loughgall

Institute produced a championship winning display to easily see off Loughgall and clinch the Bluefin Sport Championship title.

Despite everything that has been thrown at Paddy McLaughlin, his debut season as a manager, in my opinion means he's manager of the year.

The Waterside men had only one home game at the Riverside Stadium way back at the start of the season, before the Drumahoe venue was completely ruined with floods in August, which meant they had to play their entire season on the road at either Wilton Park or Limavady Showgrounds, but that didn't stop them deservedly clinching promotion back to the Danske Bank Premiership.

Skipper Michael McCrudden has been in tremendous form all season and his man of the match display at a sun soaked Wilton Park on Saturday was capped off with a second half brace to see off the Villagers.

Stute thought they had taken a second minute lead but Niall Grace's header wasn't adjudged to have crossed the line, despite the home side celebrating.

Institute players celebrate winning the Bluefin Sport Championship title.

Institute players celebrate winning the Bluefin Sport Championship title.

Loughgall went close on 18 minutes but Stefan McMaster's attempted lob from some 35 yards whistled just over Marty Gallagher's crossbar, much to the Stute keeper's relief.

Neither side created many clear cut chances in the first half, as the windy conditions weren't helping either team.

The deadlock was broken on 49 minutes after some neat play by Callum Moorehead ended with his teasing right wing cross finding McCrudden, who made no mistake blasting home from just outside the six yard box.

Just before the hour mark Loughgall should have levelled things but Peter Campbell incredibly fired over with the goal at his mercy.

The champagne corks were popped on 88 minutes as 'Stute added a second when substitute Gareth Brown bundled the ball home from close range, after that man McCrudden had created the chance.

Then in stoppage time McCrudden broke the offside trap, before racing clear down the left, he cut inside and fired home with his favoured right foot, to spark wild celebrations amongst the 'Stute players and supporters.

Institute: Gallagher, R Morrow, Scoltock, D Curry, Seydak; Harkin, Jarvis, Grace (McCrudden 76); Dunne (Brown 60), McCrudden, Moorehead (Wilson.69).

Loughgall: Buchanan, Rea, Campbell, Copeland, Finlay, McMaster, Ferris, Neill, Liggett, Hoey, McConnell.

Referee: Mr Declan Hassan (Ballymoney).