Keeping Town up will be hard to top says hero
For Banbridge Town winger Ryan Gourley, last weekend will take some beating.
The local lad fired in a deadly brace to keep his hometown club in Championship Two on a day many were claiming was the biggest in the club’s 69 year history.
The goals delivered a 2-0 win at Sport and Leisure Swifts, a team that had been unbeaten in 10 matches. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.
“When that second goal went in, I went straight over to the fans,” beamed Gourley. “To see what it means to them was absolutely fantastic. I think I nearly took Beansy out when I ran into them.
“I have to thank them for their support all season. On Saturday they came out in numbers and really helped us to get that win.
“To keep my hometown team in the league was very, very special. I’m a big fan of the club as well so to get the two goals on a day like that was something I’ll never forget. It will be hard to get many better days in football.”
It was a victory that was needed. A defeat would have seen Town drop out of NIFL but that was not something that the players even entertained.
“There were a few nerves but we knew we had trained well and prepared well and we knew that we had the ability to beat them,” said Gourley.
“We weren’t even thinking about other results or what could happen elsewhere. We were very confident going up on the bus.
“We all travelled together and the mood was good, the craic was mighty.”
Amongst the support, nerves were perhaps slightly more frayed but Ryan and his team-mates didn’t waste any time in ensuring it would be a good day all round.
“We took it to them right from the word go,” said Gourley. “They were probably feeling the effects of five games in 13 days but we started well and got that early goal.
“That helped to settle any nerves and we knew we had to keep working harder than them off the ball.
“We had a plan to play diagonal balls with them playing three at the back. That’s the way my first goal came. The second was from some brilliant team play. Kevin Anderson did really well to find Conor Downey and he delivered an absolute peach of a ball into the box. We know we can do things like that.
“Banbridge Town should be competing at a high level. We should even be up in Championship One and pushing forward.
“I have to thanks Ryan Watson and his staff for sticking by me all season as well.”
Town will hope to at least be further from the drop this time next year but on Saturday, it was simply time for celebration back at Crystal Park.
“What a night. It was 10 out of 10,” laughed the hero. “Glen Waddell hosted the Mr and Mrs and DJ Greener ripped it up as well. It was a brilliant day for the club.”