Even by the ever-increasing standards of the Ballymena Saturday Morning League, the 2015-16 campaign will take some beating.
For the first time in the league’s 46-year history, both of the most sought-after trophies in Northern Irish Junior football - the County Antrim Junior Shield and Irish Junior Cup - sat proudly among a glittering array of trophies at the league’s annual dinner.
The recipients of both trophies were Harryville Homers, who drew huge plaudits after a remarkable season.
Describing the Harryville side as “history makers”, league chairman Davy King said: “Hopefully they can go again next year and do it all over again.”
League President Andy Kerr, who sponsors the league individual awards, also added his praise, stating: “The Homers’ achievements have raised the stature of this league to a very high level of one of, in the THE best junior league in this country.”
Ballymena United chairman John Taggart noted the remarkable achievement of both the County Antrim Junior and Senior Shields residing in Ballymena at the same time, for the first time ever, adding: “I hope that Homers can also bring the Irish Junior Cup back again next year and that we can match it with the Irish Cup.
“It has been a great season for the Ballymena Saturday Morning League and for all the teams who compete in it,” added Mr Taggart.
Alderman Robin Cherry, representing Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, said the local authority would continue the work of its predecessor Ballymena Borough Council in providing the best quality sporting and leisure facilities.
“The Ballymena Saturday Morning League has played a significant part in the borough’s sporting heritage and the league has shown tremendous growth over the years.
Adding his congratulations to Harryville Homers, Alderman Cherry said: “The team is a credit to their coaches and club and they deserve great recognition for their achievements.
Long-serving league secretary Brian Montgomery - who thanked the league’s array of loyal sponsors - reflected on the events of May Day as Homers completed their incredible ‘double’ by winning the Junior Cup for the third year in succession.
“It was a very proud day at the National Stadium - the best facilities available to play a final - and it came across very well.
“Some people, even in junior football, don’t appreciate just how big an achievement it is to win the Junior Shield and Junior Cup.”
Reflecting on his involvement since day one of the league Monty said: “Little did I know when I was 20 years of age and someone asked me to be secretary of a new league that I would still be here all these years later.
“If I had known then what I know now, I would have emigrated!” he laughed.
“You do sometimes wonder why you do this when every move is scrutinised but the day after one of our cup finals this season, I got a text from the manager of the losing team, telling me how well the final had been organised and how well his team had been treated - that is why we do it.
“I just hope next year is as good a year as this one,” added Monty.