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Northern Ireland round-up: Portadown clinch title

Published: Saturday 27 April 2002, 19.24CET
Portadown FC pipped Glentoran FC in a dramatic finish to the Irish league title race.

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Published: Saturday 27 April 2002, 19.24CET

Northern Ireland round-up: Portadown clinch title

Portadown FC pipped Glentoran FC in a dramatic finish to the Irish league title race.
Portadown FC pipped Glentoran FC by a point in a dramatic finish to the Irish league today as both sides recorded home victories.

First title in six years
The Ports' 3-1 success over Cliftonville FC at Shamrock Park was enough to secure their first championship since 1996 and the fourth in their history. It also rendered Glentoran's 2-1 win over Coleraine FC at The Oval meaningless.

Ports fight back
Portadown came from behind to take the points they needed after the visitors had taken a shock tenth-minute lead through Pat Wall. Portadown equalised on the half hour through Gary Hamilton's 20th goal of the campaign. Two minutes later Vinny Arkins brought his tally for the season to 35 before Cullen Feeney added a third 20 minutes from the end.

Double hopes
The Gibson Cup was brought to Shamrock Park by helicopter and Portadown will now hope to complete the double by beating Linfield FC in next Saturday's Irish Cup final.

Glens miss out
Glentoran at least did what they had to by beating Coleraine 2-1 in east Belfast. When Gary Smyth put the home side in front on 13 minutes, the Glens were heading for the title. But by half time Portadown were back in the driving seat, and matters got worse for Glentoran when Rory Hamill deceived goalkeeper Alan Gough for the equaliser. Mark Glendinning's 79th-minute header earned the points but not the title.

Linfield sign off
Outgoing champions Linfield signed off with a 3-2 home triumph over Omagh Town FC. The Blues also had to come from behind, Andy Crawford putting the Tyrone team ahead on eleven minutes. But three goals in as many minutes turned the game after the break. Midfield player Norman Kelly levelled before Stuart King's brace put Linfield firmly in control. Omagh narrowed the gap through Ivan Sproule but could not find an equaliser.

Crues' consolation
Crusaders FC also ended the term with a win against Newry Town FC at The Showgrounds, Davy Munster dividing the sides. Newry still finished just above Crusaders in eighth spot.

On the rise
Meanwhile in the first division, Lisburn Distillery FC held on to top spot after defeating bottom club Armagh City FC with goals from Glenn Hunter. Runners-up Institute FC eased past Carrick Rangers FC and are also promoted to the new-look 12-team Premier Division.

Last updated: 27/04/02 19.43CET

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