Jordan Owens (32)

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Crusaders - 2016 Danske Bank Premiership champions (Picture: Stephen Hamilton/Press Eye)

CRUSADERS DEFEAT COLERAINE BEFORE LIFTING GIBSON CUP

Crusaders celebrated their Danske Bank Premiership title win at Seaview on Saturday after defeating Coleraine 1-0 in a game that had an end of season feel to it.  

Coleraine looked the more lively side early on with Jamie McGonigle testing Sean O'Neill, before good work by Paul Heatley in the box set up Jordan Owens to slot home and put the champions 1-0 just after the half hour mark.

Winger Heatley shot against the Coleraine crossbar before half-time while McGonigle once again carried Coelraine's biggest threat going forward.  He struck the Crusaders woodwork in the second half which was the Bannsiders only real chance as the Crues ran out the game for a 1-0 win before the real celebrations began at Seaview.

Speaking after the game, skipper Colin Coates said: "This title win is probably more satisfying than last season's title.  Last year, we were euphoric to win the title for the first time in 18 years, but to retain the trophy means more.

"It's very special to the players because I think winning back-to-back championships proves we are a great team.

"Any questions that were asked of us, we answered, and any blips, we bounced back from. We always responded."

Crusaders will end their successful campaign next Saturday at the Oval as they face Glentoran.

Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Magowan, Coates, Caddell, Forsythe, McClean, Owens, Snoddy, Heatley, Whyte subs McKibbin (not used), O'Carroll (replaced Heatley 90+1), Clarke (replaced Caddell 86), Carvill (not used), Mitchell (replaced Coates 71)

Coleraine: Johns, Beverland, Mullan, Higgins, Ogilby, McCauley, McCafferty, Brown, McLaughlin, Lyons, McGonigle subs Doherty (not used), Douglas (not used), Morrow (replaced Lyons 74), Parkhill (replaced McCauley 71), Law (replaced McCafferty 63)

Referee: Mervyn Smyth

Attendance: 1810

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Tags:  Coleraine  Crusaders