The New Saints celebrate JD Cymru Premier Title Success
Domestic
15 March 2022

The New Saints celebrate JD Cymru Premier Title Success

The champagne was flowing at Park Hall on Saturday as The New Saints reclaimed the JD Cymru Premier title with a 3-3 draw against Penybont to become domestic champions for the 14th time.

Anthony Limbrick's side needed only a point to confirm their status after missing out on the title to Connah's Quay Nomads for the last two seasons, but found themselves two goals down at half-time as Penybont looked set to put the celebrations on hold. However, an inspired double change at the break would prove decisive for the Saints as substitutes Ashley Baker and Ben Clark both scored either side of a Lewis Harling own goal. Liam Walsh scored a late equaliser for Penybont, but it wasn't enough to prevent the trophy from returning to Park Hall.

“We knew we needed to improve from last season,” explained Limbrick to Sgorio after the match. “The pressure is on here to win the league every season. I'm sure it was an entertaining game and we were far from our best, but to be 2-0 down at half-time we then showed great character. It was disappointing to concede the goal at the end but we deserve to be in the position we're in because the table doesn't lie. I said last season when we came second that whoever finishes top deserves it, and we deserve it this year. I'm very proud of the players and the staff and everyone involved. I think we've been excellent with our desire, our determination, our character and the way the players have worked hard.”

Anthony Limbrick has led TNS to their 14th JD Cymru Premier title.
Anthony Limbrick has led TNS to their 14th JD Cymru Premier title.

Australian Limbrick, who is now the first overseas manager to win the domestic title, arrived at Park Hall in April last year after replacing Scott Ruscoe and saw his side miss out on the title for the second season in a row as the Nomads retained the trophy. Impressive results and performances in the UEFA Europa Conference League offered an early indication that the Saints would be in a position to reclaim the title, and the signing of striker Declan McManus from Scottish outfit Dunfermline Athletic has been a catalyst to their success. With 21 league goals already this season, McManus made headlines in the summer with his superb hat-trick in the 4-2 win over Viktoria Plzeň, and has clearly made a seamless transition to the Welsh domestic game.

A 14th league title for The New Saints means a return to UEFA Champions League qualifying, and Limbrick will be desperate for his side build on knocking Glentoran and Kauno Žalgiris out of the UEFA Europa Conference League last year before narrowly losing to Viktoria Plzeň on penalties. The New Saints are not a club to rest on their laurels, and the longevity of their domestic success has been built upon strengthening and improving their squad each and every season. Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar reached the group stages of UEFA's newest club competition this season, but were eliminated from the Europa League by The New Saints back in 2018/19, such are the fine margins that stand between our clubs reaching the holy grail of the European group stages for the first time.

2023-03-12 - TNS v Penybont -48.jpg

The opening two games of the season set the tone for the league campaign as The New Saints scored nine goals against Newtown and Caernarfon Town back in August. Completing the double over Connah's Quay Nomads prior to their points deduction was also significant after the last two years, but there was a surprise 1-0 defeat to Aberystwyth Town back in November which remains their only league defeat of the current campaign. With seven games remaining in the Championship Conference, Limbrick will be desperate for his side to finish on a high and head into their next European challenge full of confidence and belief.

TNS players celebrating with their young fans.
TNS players celebrating with their young fans.

But the remaining games of the domestic season are not just restricted to the formalities of completing the league season, and on Sunday the side take on Colwyn Bay in the semi-finals of the JD Welsh Cup at Belle Vue, Rhyl. Colwyn Bay manager Steve Evans is a key part of The New Saints' history having played and coached the side to a number of trophies during his time at Park Hall, and Limbrick will be well aware of the challenge of taking on the side who knocked Connah's Quay Nomads out at the quarter-final stage with a manager who has a point to prove against his former club. But the Saints have set high standards this season, and Limbrick will not stand for any complacency as his focus turns to achieving the domestic double.

2023-03-12 - TNS v Penybont -51.jpg

For news, fixtures and results from the Cymru Leagues, JD Welsh Cup and Ardal Leagues, visit the FAW's  CymruFootball.Wales.