No 4 Menai Bridge Tigers
League champions, winners of one cup and beaten finalists in two others – a very impressive season for Menai Bridge Tigers.
Sean Brett’s side clinched the one they really wanted – the Gwynedd League title – with a 4-0 home victory against Glantraeth on April 30.
They also lifted the Cwpan Gwynedd by beating Bro Goronwy 2-1 in the final.
Things went uncharacteristically badly for Bridge in the Bob Owen Memorial Shield final, where totally out of the blue they were thrashed 5-0 by Nefyn United.
The Tigers also suffered a shock 5-0 NWCFA Junior Cup loss to Bro Goronwy, as well as going down 3-2 in the Safeflue Shield final to Glantraeth.
Nonetheless, the season overall has to be looked upon as a magnificent one for the islanders, who have gained promotion to the Welsh Alliance for the first time in their history, but have had to appeal to the FAW against the league’s decision to refuse them entry.
There were so many success stories on the field for Menai in 2018-19, the biggest being Dean Redmond, who banged in 39 goals in all competitions, while Sion Hogan also shone in the net-finding department.
Menai have also suffered the blow of long-serving manager Sean Brett stepping down, but he leaves the team in good hands with Aaron Rowlands and Karl Roberts at the helm.
No 3 Airbus UK Broughton
Airbus UK Broughton were head and shoulders above everyone in the Huws Gray Alliance this season – not a bad feat when one considers the quality of clubs in the tier-two league.
At the start of the 2018-19 campaign, many predicted a landslide title victory for a Bangor City side which had come down from the Welsh Premier after failing to secure the relevant licences, but had appointed ex-TNS manager Craig Harrison to lead the team and assemble a high-quality squad.
Rhyl were another team expected to do very well, but from day one it was the Wingmakers in charge, a 14-match winning run putting them in complete command at the summit.
Airbus went off the boil for a spell, but a strong finish ensured they took the title by a massive 18 points to book a return to the Welsh Premier.
The double was sealed when the Broughton-based side whipped Holyhead Hotspur 5-1 in the Huws Gray Cup Final.
Steve O’Shaughnessy became only the fifth manager in the HGA’s 29-year history to win the double. He was not surprisingly named league Manager of the Season and placed a lot of credit for that success on the shoulders of fellow management team members Andrew Thomas and Mark Allen.
No 2 Flint Mountain
No other team in North Wales senior Saturday football won four trophies in the 2018-19 season apart from Flint Mountain.
And they were not far off from making it five, also reaching the final of the Goals Premier Cup only to lose to Acton.
Otherwise, apart from an 8-0 defeat in their first match of the campaign to Welsh Premier side (four leagues above) Cefn Druids in the NEWFA Challenge Cup, Mountain had a perfect season.
Runaway winners of the North East Wales League title, going all 20 matches unbeaten with 18 wins and 111 goals scored, Mountain also lifted the President’s Cup, Horace Wynne Cup and Mike Beech Memorial Trophy.
In 2018/19, Mountain’s record in all competitive matches was: Played 36 Won 32 Drawn 2 Lost 2 Goals For 156 Goals Against 48.
Mountain are now promoted to Welsh National League Division One and in 2019-20 will undergo a name change.
The club is now known as Halkyn and Flint Mountain Football Club as part of ambitious plans to progress to as high a level as possible.
In order to secure promotion to the Welsh National League, the club have secured facilities at Pant Newydd in Halkyn, formerly home to now folded senior side, Halkyn United, which will become the club’s new permanent base.
Not only do these facilities provide the necessary criteria for tier four, they also tick most of the boxes to achieve any future promotions.
No 1 Cefn Albion
It was not just the fact that Cefn Albion won the 2018-19 FAW Trophy that makes them such a special team – it was the way they did it.
Few clubs in the history of this 129-year-old competition could have won it so convincingly.
Albion rattled in six goals in each of their first three ties – against Johnstown Youth, Saltney Town and FC Nomads – before coasting past Bow Street 3-0 in the last 16.
The quarter-final brought arguably their best result in their tournament – a 5-3 away victory against a Corwen outfit that was beating pretty much everyone at the time – then came a great 3-1 win over STM Sports in the semis.
In the final, Cefn were expected to struggle against a Pontardawe Town side which had whipped highly-fancied Bodedern Athletic 5-0 in the penultimate stage.
Yet the Albion hit new heights again to lift the Trophy with a 4-0 triumph.
In the seven ties it took to win the national competition, Sean Jones and Stephen Davies’ side had amassed 33 goals and conceded eight.
They did not just sweep aside all opposition, they annihilated the majority.
Star man of the tournament was undoubtedly Conner Kendrick, who notched 10 goals in those seven matches.
Not content with just the FAW Trophy, Albion overcame a late-season run of poor results to hit top form again and win the Welsh National League Premier Division trophy for a second time.
Their journey to the final was tough, but when it came to the showpiece game, Cefn dazzled again to wallop a highly-rated Mold Alexandra 5-1.
And that man Kendrick was on fire again with another hat-trick as Albion made it eight trophies in just five years of existence.
That is why they are my North Wales Team of the Season 2018-19.