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Civic celebration to be proposed for promoted City

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Civic celebration to be proposed for promoted City thumbnailIT was all smiles for Councillor Gary Stokes, Newry City AFC Chairman Martin McLoughlin, Councillor Michael Savage and committee member Andrew Boyd who were on the Taylor’s Avenue pitch at the final whistle following Newry’s Premiership promotion.

A PROPOSAL for a civic reception to honour the achievements of Newry City is to go before Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.

The club will celebrate their centenary year in the Premiership after achieving promotion last week.

After finishing second in the Championship, the club, managed by Darren Mullen, had to play Carrick Rangers, who had finished second bottom of the Premiership, to decide who would play in the top flight of Northern Irish football next season.

After going 2-0 down early in the first leg, played last Friday, they fought back to win 3-2 and secured their return to Premiership football on Wednesday past, winning the second leg 3-1 in Carrick.

It is a remarkable feat considering five years ago the former club was facing oblivion after it was forced to liquidate following an unfair dismissal claim to former manager, Gerry Flynn, was unpaid.

But a brand new club was formed and they began their footballing life in the Mid-Ulster League's Intermediate B division. Successive promotions have now seen Mullen's blue and white army book their place alongside the likes of Linfield, Glentoran and Cliftonville.

Local SDLP councillors Michael Savage and Gary Stokes travelled with the Newry fans to the game at Carrick on Wednesday night and they were full of praise for Darren Mullen's men and the club's board.

Mr Stokes said it was a "fantastic night" for Newry City AFC.

"What an achievement," he said. "The club was almost out of business five years ago and now it is back at the top table of local football.

"I remember going to matches when they started back up again in the fifth tier of the league and look at the journey the club has been on ever since. Four promotions in five seasons is quite remarkable and full credit to Darren Mullen, the playing and coaching staff, the board and the fans for believing in the club and bringing it back to where it belongs.

"Newry City will be in the Premiership in the club's centenary year. Both Cllr Savage and myself will be proposing that a civic reception be held later in the year to mark the centenary and the club's remarkable success story."

Cllr Savage added: "The hard work and dedication of everyone at Newry City AFC has paid off. I am delighted for the players and coaching staff and for Darren Mullen who has proven himself to be one of the most capable managers in local football.

"I am also delighted for Martin McLoughlin, the directors and everyone at the club in getting Newry back into the Premiership.

"It is an unbelievable achievement but one that is richly deserved. The challenge now will be to sustain the club at the top level and we will be asking the Council to give whatever support it can to assist the club and I would urge the local business community to acknowledge the positive contribution the club makes to our city and support its efforts through sponsorship in the coming season.

"This is a great time for everyone associated with our club and a great time for our city - we are going up!"

Meanwhile Sinn Fein MP for Newry and Armagh, Mickey Brady, added his congratulations to the club on their promotion.

Praising the commitment and skills of all involved, he said, "Congratulations to the promotion winning team, manager Darren Mullen and all involved with the club.

"This has been a richly deserved achievement gained by commitment, passion and skill. This great sporting achievement has given the entire area a great lift and we look forward to the excitement of the Premier League challenges."

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