Bluebell United had more than one reason to celebrate on Sunday afternoon as the christening of a club member’s baby was interrupted by news they had sealed the LSL Sunday Senior title.
Andy Noonan’s side were handsome 3-0 winners away to Portmarnock on Sunday morning – a result that meant they could only be caught on goal difference – and returned to the club.
It was amid the celebrations that word filtered through that, against all predictions, an injury-ravaged Newbridge Town had gone out on their shields with a 0-0 draw against Crumlin United.
With Killester United’s challenge having fallen away following their 2-0 defeat to Firhouse Clover on Saturday, that meant the Bell got their name on the trophy for the third time in four years.
“I wasn’t expecting it on Sunday,” a jubilant Noonan told the Dublin Gazette. “I knew Newbridge were struggling for bodies but they gave a heroic performance to keep coming at 0-0. It was a perfect day for us.
“When the news filtered in that it was a 0-0 result, everybody was together and it turned into [Adam Griffiths] baby’s christening coupled with a victory party. I couldn’t have asked for any better.”
Having missed out on a spectacular three-in-a-row on the final day to St Mochta’s last year, there were more than a few in the Bell dressing room with a point to prove.
Key to their success was a 12-game winning streak around the beginning of the year, 11 of which came after they lost star striker Dean Ebbe to professional football in Wales.
The addition of Sean Byrne – who won two titles previously with the club – and League of Ireland legend Jason Byrne helped give them an edge up front, particularly late in games.
“I’d like to go through that myself to satisfy my own curiosity but I’d say easily 12 or 15 points this season have been with goals in the last five minutes of games. The lads, they have it in their locker.
“There’ve been several games where we’ve gone 1-0 down and we’ve pulled it back around to get the win.”
Plans are afoot to continue improvements at the club’s grounds at the Red Cow, with the division’s only covered stand having been unveiled their earlier in the season.
There are also developments in the pipeline in relation to the schoolboy section of the club, while senior players like Aaron Robinson are being targeted by League of Ireland clubs.
“We’re looking at a sports capital grant. We’ve already explored a couple of avenues in relation to that. We’re looking at floodlights and keeping the facilities progressing.
“We’re trying to provide a comfortable venue for people to come and watch football. The likes of Shamrock Rovers, it is definitely an attractive place and a comfortable place to go and watch a game.
“We’re trying to provide something similar at Leinster Senior League level. We’ve a covered stand now, which is fairly unique at our level, and obviously the bar and the viewing platform.
“It’s all stuff to attract people to come down and watch. And the more people watch us, the more we’re available for sponsors. It’s exciting times, it really is.”