Premier Intermediate League: Midweek Roundup and a Look at the Season So Far

NIFL Premier Intermediate League

There was one midweek game in the Premier Intermediate League (PIL) this week, Newington v Armagh, so in this article, we’ll be looking at that fixture as well as having a look at the PIL so far this season.

Newington Youth Club 0 Armagh City 4

Armagh made it two league wins in a row on Wednesday night with this convincing win away to Newington and they now sit in a much healthier looking 3rd place in the league. The game was never in doubt as goals from Michael O’Hehir, Ultan Lennon, and Stefan McKenna sent City racing into a 3-0 lead before the half hour mark!!! Any chance of a comeback was made harder for Newington when they were reduced to ten men when Chris McFall handled on the line before the second goal of the game. In the second half Nedas  Maciulaitis wrapped up the win with a goal on his debut but there was still time after this for Newington to be reduced to nine men when Padraig Scollay was sent for an early bath.

Now to look at the season so far, the early pace setters are my own team Lisburn Distillery who are the only team to have taken maximum points so far this season. At the beginning of August most Whites fans perhaps didn’t know what to expect after a mixed bag of results and performances in the pre-season friendlies but if anything the side have proven that friendly results and performances count for very little. New signing Matthew Ferguson has caught the eye 6 goals in his first 7 games for the club, not enough goals was a huge issue last season but the new striker has started off all guns blazing and Johnny McCaw, Gary Workman, Nick Beta and Paul Young have also chipped in with goals of their own along the way. Defensively the team look solid with new signing Conor Corry impressing before picking up a suspension and injury, William Wharry has proven to be a rock at the back, Joe Reid has been promoted from the U20’s after impressing in pre-season and has been excellent and Jonah Nicholl has made a string of fine saves in goal. After five difficult years perhaps it’s finally time for some optimism at New Grosvenor.

Hot on the Whites heels in second place are another of last season’s bottom half sides in the shape of Sport & Leisure Swifts who have 9 points from 12. Prior to last season Sport & Leisure were regarded as one of the top teams in the division and look as though they are determined to prove that last season was just a blip. Making up the rest of the top six we have Armagh, who after a slow start have won their last two games and will be hoping to get their own season up and running now following last season’s relegation, Dundela who most people are backing to win the league and so far have only lost one game to the current table toppers Lisburn Distillery (I’ll never tire of pointing this out), with Banbridge and Queens University completing the top six and being closely followed by Tobermore. The PIL is known to be an unforgiving and tight league with any team being capable of beating anyone, last season only 20 points separated 2nd from bottom in the league, and at the minute only 5 points separate 2nd from 9th in the league with 3rd, 4th and 5th all on equal points.

Towards the bottom end of the table, we have Donegal Celtic, Moyola and newly promoted Portstewart who all sit on 4 points. DC will likely be frustrated with their points tally as some people, myself included, had thought they would be challenging for the title but already sit 8 points behind first place. Moyola will be concerned that they haven’t got a win on the table since the opening day but will know that they have plenty of football ahead of them and Portstewart will perhaps be quietly content with their start so far though will need to get more points on the board asap.

Occupying the bottom two spots we have Newington who have only one win and three defeats so far. They’ve also shipped quite a few goals in their opening games with not many going in at the other end and will need to rectify this problem. Annagh are currently holding up the league in bottom spot with zero points to their name after 4 games, they’ve also suffered the loss of their top scorer Aaron Duke. Most had tipped Annagh for back to back relegations and even at this early stage, it’s hard to see past that.

There are no PIL games this week due to Steel & Sons Cup action but we will return the following week with our usual roundup.