Rivervalley’s magic eight

by Gazette Reporter

HAVING had one hand on the AUL Sunday Senior Division title for almost the entire season, Rivervalley Rangers senior footballers finally got two hands on it last Sunday in Ridgewood Park.

The league was captured in fine style too, with an 8-0 win over the helpless McKelvey Celtic leaving the Valley on 42 points, with 14 wins from 14 games.

That tally now makes it mathematically impossible for Carndonagh, St Pat’s/Phoenix or East Wall Rovers to catch Stephen Doran’s side, though it has seemed a question of when rather than if the title would be secured since almost Christmas time for the Swords side.

Rangers went in at the break three goals to the good with strikes from Paulie Ryan, Conor Dowd and Gary Weafer providing the lead. Dowd completed his hat-trick in the second half while Ryan grabbed his brace along with goals from Colly O’Brien and Jimmy Rock to complete the rout.

GazetteSport spoke to Doran after the title winning performance and he was delighted with how his side performed in such a game. “It was a really great way to win it,” he said. “We scored some brilliant goals; our passing was excellent the whole way through, we never let up, we were really good.”

Managers often say at the start of the season that their team will want to go out and win every game, but it very rarely happens.

In the case of Doran’s Rivervalley side however, that’s been exactly the case in the league so far with four games remaining. “We’re delighted to get 14 wins out of 14, it’s always your aim as a manager to win each game as it comes and if we went on to claim 18 from 18 it would be some achievement. I think we would be the only team in the AUL to do so this season.”

With relative ease Rivervalley have won the Senior Sunday this year and there is a case for them to be placed in a higher division than the expected Premier C next season.

And Doran is under no illusions his side could compete at any level.

“We’re an ambitious group,” he said. “At the moment, we’ll be going into Premier C next season and are looking forward to testing ourselves there. But if something came up which meant it may be possible for us to play Premier B next season, it would be something we would relish too. We certainly have the calibre of players.”

The season is far from over for Rangers as they still have the chance of a double with the final of the Mullion Cup to come on April 24 against St Pats/Phoenix in the AUL Complex.

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