CHAMPIONES!!

It’s all about the winning!!

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Crusaders F.C. win their 3rd title in 4 seasons

It may one of the lower budget sports competitions in Europe, but Northern Ireland’s domestic football league – the NIFL Danske Bank Premiership – is as exciting as any.  I have the privilege of doing the matchday video camera for video analysis and YouTube channel highlights, as well as a bit of photography with Crusaders FC – a fan-owned club in north Belfast. 14 years after nearly going out of business, Crues are one of the top clubs in Ireland. On 28th April 2018, after a neck and neck chase to the title, Crusaders  pipped Coleraine FC to become winners of the Irish Premiership by winning away at Ballymena and also gaining lucrative entry to the qualifying stages of the UEFA Champions League.

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Manager Stephen Baxter interviewed live on BBC

Most of the players in the league are part-time professional, training 2 or 3 times per week while holding down full time jobs.  There is a strong sense of community within Irish football in midst of all the rivalries as the league competes with round the clock multi-platform coverage of the English Premier league and the other large European leagues.

These photos are of the post-match celebrations on winning the title – taken while also running around with the camcorder videoing the event..

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The final score – equal on points with Coleraine but on better goal difference going into the game, a win guaranteed the championship.
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Super-sub.  David Cushley (and daughter)  – Cush got the late goal which clinched the title.
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The winning squad with NIFL Confetti Gun Operator on the left
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Howard Beverland – one of the best defenders in the league, and possibly made of steel
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Club captain Colin Coates tells the BBC how it was won

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photo-bombing the BBC
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Sean Ward – can play anywhere.  A previous league winner with Linfield
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Brian “The Beast” Jensen.  He’s Danish.  Previously of Burnley fame, now a League winner.
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Matthew ‘Skimmer’ Snoddy.  A young player with his 3rd league winners medal
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From the backroom – coach Marc Wilson
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The club’s record goalscorer – Jordan Owens
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The glittering prizes for 2018  – The Gibson Cup league trophy (right) and the Co Antrim Shield
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Winner of the club and Northern Ireland player of the year awards – Gavin Whyte, with manager Stephen Baxter.  It’ll not be long before we see Gavin in the English league.

The great thing about football is that as the season ends – on a high or in disappointment – we get to do it all over again after the summer.

Kit:  Canon 6D, tweaked in Color Efex Pro pretending to be Portra 160