Soccer fairytale in reach for South Lismore after 26 years
A FAIRYTALE finish could be on the cards for South Lismore with the Celtics the first team through to the Far North Coast men's premier division soccer grand final.
It is a big achievement with the club only two years back in the competition after a 15-year hiatus from the top grade.
South Lismore has not played in a premier division grand final since winning the competition in 1993.
They had to overcome minor premiers Byron Bay on Sunday and it took extra time and a penalty shootout to seal the win.
"It was a surreal moment and it's hard to put into words how we're feeling," South Lismore coach Cameron Hyde said.
"The boys showed great character to come from 2-0 down and to win from a pressure situation later in the game.
"It's extra special when you look at where we've been and how we've been able to get here."
The Celtics returned to the premier division last year and exceeded expectations, falling just one game short of the grand final.
They have built around teenagers while the likes of Kaine Allan and Jonty Miller have played a supporting role behind the competition's Player of the Year Paddy Kable.
"We've got a good mix of players and a few of them have come back to prems with a bit of a point to prove," Hyde said.
"I was overseas with Kaine Allan a few years ago and I was keen to bring him to the club from Lismore Thistles.
"Jonty is a big body and still a bit of an unknown; he can be anything on his day and he's done well for us at centre-back and striker."
The Celtics will play the winner of Byron Bay and Lismore Thistles who meet in the preliminary final at the Byron Recreation Ground on Sunday at 2pm.
Thistles overcame Richmond Rovers in a penalty shootout in the minor semi-final after a win over Bangalow on penalties the previous week.
"Thistles have had a really good season and they deserve a lot of credit, too," Hyde said.
"(Coach) Darren Beardow has done a great job and Byron Bay were really complimentary towards us after our game."
The grand final is at Crozier Field, Lismore, next Saturday.