Starting with men’s football, the bitter rivalry between Lincoln Red Imps and Europa saw the league go right down to the wire, with Lincoln needing all three points on the final day of the season to edge ahead of their opponents. Lincoln’s recently acquired star, Tjay De Barr, put them ahead early on in their final day contest against Lions, and the Red Imps didn’t look back on their way to a 3-0 victory, landing them on 48 points for the season. Europa also beat Mons Calpe 3-0 on the final day but it would only get them to a 47 point total; agonisingly close, but no cigar.
St Joseph’s further cemented their position in what has now become a ‘big three’ in Gibraltar football. Sitting on 45 points, they were just a couple of points behind Europa and comfortably ahead of the rest of the field – Mons Calpe the next closest contender in fourth place with 32 points.
And huge controversy over in the Rock Cup, where, on the field, Lincoln beat Glacis United by two goals to nil, completing yet another domestic double for the Red Imps’ collection.
However, here had been fireworks off the field in the build up to the game after Europa (who defeated Lincoln on penalties in a heated semi-final fixture) were removed from the competition after the GFA judged them to have breached substitution rules. When their internal appeal was dismissed by the GFA, Europa appealed to the Supreme Court, which judged that the appeal had merit – but the final could not be postponed to allow for a hearing.
As such, Gibraltar’s domestic football season draws to a close with Glacis missing out on what they hoped would be their first taste of European competition. As Lincoln have already qualified for the Champions League qualifiers through their league finish, Mons Calpe now get that coveted final place in the Europa League for their 4th place finish.
We head indoors next to the preliminary qualifiers for the women’s futsal Euros (read more on page 67) where the national side made its European debut against Belgium. Kazakhstan unfortunately had to pull out of the competition at the eleventh hour, but Gibraltar had opportunity enough to show what they were made of against the Belgians, with a dogged display that saw them narrowly miss out on penalties after extra time ended 3-3.
The netball season also drew to a close, with another closely fought battle for first place in the top division seeing GJBS/Europa Elite pip Marble Arc to the post in the final fixture. Montagu Phoenixes were convincing winners in Division 2, while MEDCOMP/Restano topped Division 3 and the Bavaria Dragonites were winners of Division 4.
The men’s hockey league was decided by mid-May, with the Eagles following up their title win by completing a clean sweep of 4 wins from 4 over their only competitors: Grammarians. The Grammarians will be wondering how best to address the current imbalance, with Eagles having dominated over the course of this season’s encounters, which included a 4-0 scoreline.