Banbridge Rangers Swifts secured a third promotion in succession on Saturday with a 4-1 win over Markethill Reserves.
Banbridge Rangers’ third team have had a remarkable run since joining the Mid Ulster Football League and will now play in the top division available to them next season after their stunning rise up the league pyramid.
Robbie Baird’s recruits started well in the crunch game on Saturday and opened the scoring after only three minutes when a corner was diverted in by Jason Adamson at the back post.
Markethill responded well and had a fifteen minute spell of pressure when Rangers were pinned back. On the stroke of half-time, Markethill were awarded a penalty when Woods upended their striker. However, it soon became clear that nothing was going to spoil their big day as Banbridge Rangers’ stand-in keeper Steven McMinn dived low to the right with great agility to save the penalty and keep his side in the lead.
This proved to be a turning point in the game as Banbridge Rangers Swifts scored twice in two minutes at the start of the second half to race into a 3-0 lead and end the game as a contest.
Stephen Copes set up Dean Gordon for the Swifts’ second goal and it was provider turned scorer as winger Copes popped up to fire home himself within two minutes.
With 20 minutes to go, promotion was secured by Neil Wilson who capitalised on a parried shot from Dean Gordon and slotted home to make it 4-0.
Markethill scored a consolation goal in the final minute of the game but that did little to dampen the Swifts’ celebrations.
At the final whistle, Captain Neily Wilson uncorked the champagne and the celebrations started. The same player has now been involved in five promotions in five seasons through Banbridge Rangers seconds and thirds.
Each of the two promoted sides have one game left but the title will go to Glenavy if they win their final game as they have a two goal advantage.