Portrane, one of the country’s oldest clubs, bounced back from last season’s relegation to division four as they landed the division five title in the final match of the season, defeating long-time leaders Naas to take top spot for the first time.
The club earned just one point from their opening four games of the campaign but their fortunes turned with the arrival of former Glenanne and Dublin University player-coach Nasir Munir and Mukhtar Ahmed from Clontarf (pictured, right, with Adrian Henchey).
The pair proved a massive influence on the pitch with their array of skills and goal-scoring presence which club stalwart Adrian Henchey described as “levels of hockey never before seen in our club and in every game, between them, they had contenders for goal of the season.
Munir’s positive influence on the club also saw former Sandford Park players Richard Tector and Andrew Collings join the club having experienced his coaching at the school in recent years.
The side was captained by Peter Conway who was a strong defensive presence whilst chipping in with corner goals while bagging his first competitive hat-trick of a long career when his side met St James’ Gate.
Sutton Park goalkeeper Tom Fee enjoyed a strong season between the posts, aided by veteran defenders Ken Davis and Dave Eustace.
The season also marked a special achievement for Henchey who doubled as the Swords ladies coach in reaching top spot in division five – their highest ever league finish.
He paid tribute to what he called “by far our most enjoyable season for a long, long time”.
He added that “the priority for our club is to firmly re-establish our colts and fillies section which is going very well. Also, the construction work of our new water-based pitch is commencing in two weeks time and is due for completion in April 2011”
* For a few more photos of Portrane in action in their final league tie against Naas, click here. I'm still looking to post final round-ups on division four, six and eight. If you were involved in the title race in either of these divisions, please email me on email@example.com with details to celebrate your club heroes.