With another Amateur League season behind us, Times correspondent Alan Hall casts an eye over a season that could be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
One notable exception was Mossley who secured promotion into 1b and going into the last week with a chance of clinching the 1c championship, only to pipped by Downshire YM.
Manager Garry Campbell said: “It’s credit to all involved. The coaches were fantastic, the players committed and the committee organised – a proper club producing proper results, making proper progress!
2015/16: P26 W20 D2 L4 F84 A37 – 62 points (2nd, 1c)
Davy Rollo was in charge at the start of the season but he failed to win a league game before the club announced his departure in November. Mark Duff replaced him but he stayed a few weeks before Stephen King arrived from Grange. Life in Division 1A beckons.
2015/16 P26 W3 D6 L17 F24 A97 -73 15 points (13th Premier)
Stephen Donald’s Wellington Rec were squeezed out of the promotion reckoning in 1b.
“I impressed by the standard in 1b, but we were were as good as the two teams that got promoted,” Donald said.
“We’re here to stabilise the club; fourth-bottom to third is progress. Our last match showed just how good we can be but in a few games we threw it away and it cost us!”
2015/16: P26 W13 D8 L5 F52 A41 – 47 points (3rd, 1b)
18th NEWTOWNABBEY OB
18th Newtownabbey started the season with a new boss in Phil McMahon but while there was a notable Irish Cup success over Mossley it was when Mark Miskimmin came in as joint-manager that things really took off. Miskimmin stressed: “It was all about laying a foundation for next season when we’ll have a go at promotion.”
2015/16: P26 W15 D4 L7 F69 A46 – 49 points (5th, 1c)
There was a top-half finish for Premier Division Nortel and manager Lee McCartney said: “Top six was the target; top eight was progress, but I’m happy with seventh. We could have been closer to the leading pack when you think of the points we threw away.”
2015/16: P26 W10 D3 L13 F50 A54 – 33 Points (7th, Premier)
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It was sixth spot for the second year in a row for Larne Tech. Thinking back to victories such as the five-goal success over runners-up Lisburn Rangers, manager Johnny Hastings admitted: “It’s frustrating when you see just how good we can be. We’d fancy our chances against anyone at home but we can’t seem to do it in away games.”
2015/16: P26 W12 D1 L13 F51 A46 – 37 points (6th, 1a)
Rathfern finished ninth but it doesn’t tell the full story as defeat in their final game at Donard would have seen them relegated.
Injuries to David McBride and Gary Orr (with 68 goals in the last two campaigns) hindered their progress.
2015/16: P26 W7 D4 L15 F55 A7 – 25 points (9th, 1b)
UUJ started off with a new manager in Brian O’Neill, but looked set for a second successive relegation until they sparked back into life by the arrival of player-manager Billy Youle.
Three successive victories vaulted them off the bottom but it was only in their penultimate match that they ensured another term in 1b.
2015/16: P26 W5 D5 L13 F42 A53 – 23 points (11th, 1b)
Nobody could seriously argue that relegation wasn’t coming, with Barn getting out of trouble in two of the previous three seasons.
Even the appointment of Tommy Kincaid failed to inch them out of the drop zone and for the final five games, Barn reverted back to old boss Jim Pherson. He praised the effort of the players but added: “The big problem was not scoring enough goals, relying too much on Andy Kane and the other teams were getting wise to that.”
2015/16: P26 W3 D L17 F32 A72 – 15 points (bottom 1a)
Not a season to remember for Newington Rangers. They started off with Graham McConnell and Sammy Smith in charge, and then Graham himself and then Jamie McGarel. James Tennant saw things through for the remainder. However, a goal difference of – 125 tells its own tale.
2015/16: P26 W3 D1 L22 F27 A152 – Points 10 (bottom 1c)