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EAMONN Hawkins watched his Crumlin Star side crash through the 100-goal barrier at the weekend and proclaimed: "We're unstoppable."

The North Belfast side now lead Division 1C by 11 points with just five games left following their 4-2 demolition of Civil Service, boasting an unassailable goal difference of 84.

The Star only made the step up into the ranks of Intermediate football at the start of this season following a one-year tenancy agreement with Irish League giants Cliftonville.

But they are taking their new surroundings by storm, and have played all season with the swagger of a team who have far bigger fish to fry.

Striking sensation Joe Gormley, coveted by Newry City and Carrick Rangers among others, has already passed the half-ton mark and Hawkins expects the title to be wrapped up sooner rather than later.

"We've been firing the goals in from all roads, to be honest," said the Star boss.

"The team is full of confidence and young Gormley is banging them in, he has over 50 himself and I'm expecting him to add a few more over the rest of the season.

"But they are coming from all angles. His partner Paul Brown has something like 15 or 16 and then the midfielders, Sean Brown has eight or nine and Seammy Crockett has eight or nine so they are all chipping in with their own tallies - it's been a healthy season on that front.

"I don't think anybody can stop us now in the league. We've only five games left now. Playing out of Solitude has been a great help too, we've no backlog for the first time I can remember.

"Normally at this time of year, we have 10 or 12 matches left but we'll be finished early and I'd like to wrap it up early and get a few more wins under our belt and have it done and dusted."

Hawkins has already started building for what he predicts will be another titlewinning season next year, identifying areas that need strengthened as he bids to make the Ardoyne side a real force in Intermediate football.

"Promotion was our main aim from the start of the season, we've still the Clarence Cup, we would like a wee run in it but getting promotion was always the priority," he said.

"And I've already sounded out a few players for next year. There are a couple of teams folding in North Belfast here so I've sounded out their better players and hopefully they can come along.

"We want to kick on. The hunger and desire that was there to get out of 2A has followed on and we know we are a better side than 1C and 1B to be fair so it is just a matter of finding our level.

"So I'll be thinking about who we need to get in and how we need to improve. It's an exciting time for the club. We needed to kick on from 2A because we were becoming stale and we were fed up because we were winning the league at a canter at times and there was no challenge to us."

Crucial to Crumlin Star's title-winning form this season has been the prowess of leading goalscorer Gormley.

The 20-year-old hotshot was on the verge of a move to the Irish League during the transfer window but finally opted to stay for the rest of the season at least and the Star boss appreciates how big an asset the striker is to the club.

"Carrick to be fair to them came up and approached Joe through the right channels which I appreciated," explained Hawkins.

"This was just before Christmas but Joe didn't think he was ready and declined their offer then Newry came in for him, and he was thinking about it and went training with them a few times but unfortunately Gerry Flynn is no longer there so to be fair to him, he has knuckled down.

"He was a wee bit unsettled for a week or two, thinking, 'Should I go or should I stay?' but he's settled down again and is enjoying his football.

"I wouldn't hold him back by any stretch of the imagination, I've advised him and told him what I think he should do. I've told him to think hard about travelling up and down to Newry, it's a trek, I did it myself when I was there for eight years."

Solitude has become a fortress for Crumlin Star this season with the club claiming maximum points in 11 out of the 12 games they have played at home.

enjoying football. I Their deal with landlords Cliftonville expires this summer, but Hawkins is confident a similar arrangement can be thrashed out for the next season or two while the Star scour North Belfast for a suitable home of their own.

"We have a one-year deal with them but we have a provision for another two or three years and we should tidy things up in the next two or three weeks, there's been no real hassle there.

"Hopefully we can stay there for a year or two until we get our own place sorted.

"It has been a great fillip for us playing at Solitude. You can say to players you are going to be playing at an Irish League ground every other week so it's a wee added bonus and incentive to them so it's a help to us."


AND THEN HE BRAN AWAY Crumlin Star's Anto Braniff holds off James Beihain of Civil Service in Saturday's match SEAN HIS BACK Sean O'Reilly of Crumlin Star feels Chris Murphy's presence at the weekend LOSING COUNT? Joe Gormley adds another goal to his staggering tally for Crumlin Star this year STRONG ARMED Civil Service's Wesley Stitt tries to get physical with Star's Jim Campbell
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 8, 2011
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