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Last Updated: Monday, 3 May, 2004, 16:29 GMT 17:29 UK
Rhyl claim second trophy
Andy Moran's hat-trick for Rhyl settled the Welsh League Cup final (SportsPix)
Rhyl added the Welsh League Cup to their Welsh Premier league title with a 4-0 win over Carmarthen on Monday.

The north Wales club are also through to next Sunday's Welsh Cup final against TNS, plus the FAW Premier Cup final against Wrexham on 12 May.

Top scorer Andy Moran claimed a hat-trick for Rhyl, opening the scoring from close range after 13 minutes.

Moran struck twice more after the break, with substitute Chris McGinn adding a late fourth.

Under manager John Hulse, the Belle Vue club clinched the championship on Saturday with their 2-0 win at Porthmadog.

Rhyl's entry into next season's Champions League preliminary qualifying rounds as Welsh league champions caps an admirable rise.

Rhyl played in the English pyramid system before rejoining the Welsh set-up in 1992, and managing director Peter Parry admits that the club has toyed with thoughts of switching once again.

"We are a very ambitious club and I have previously felt the English system is the best way forward because it would allow us to work our way through," said Parry.

"We are still looking at that but I have to admit being at the top of the Welsh system is very rewarding.

It's not that long ago that Cwmbran played against Celtic in the Uefa Cup and last season TNS played Manchester City
Former Wales wing Mickey Thomas

"We have secured a place in Europe for the first time, which we wouldn't be able to do if we were part of the English set-up.

"We are getting big crowds and the prospect of playing continental opposition for the first time is attractive for everyone connected with the club."

The likes of former Wales wing Mickey Thomas - Rhyl's director of football - will be hoping for a choice draw in the Champions League.

Former European Cup winners Steaua Bucharest are potential opponents, although there is also the danger of meeting far less attractive opponents.

Rhyl will learn their first European opponents at the end of June, when the draw for the first two qualifying rounds takes place in Switzerland.

Apart from the Romanian title winners - which is currently a fight between Steaua and their traditional city rivals Dinamo - the domestic champions of Hungary, Finland, Iceland, Northern Ireland and the Republic are all possible opponents.

However, there is also the prospect of arduous trips to Georgia, Kazakhstan or Azerbaijan.

"Given the choice of going to the far tip of Europe or nowhere at all, we would take the former every time," said Thomas.

"Clearly, Rhyl have no chance of winning the Champions League, or even reaching the group stages, but the prospect is there to draw a really attractive tie.

"It's not that long ago that Cwmbran played against Celtic in the Uefa Cup and last season TNS played Manchester City.

"Something like that would do wonders for the club and would be a worthy reward for all the effort Peter Parry has put in."

Welsh League Cup 2003/4
25 Mar 04 |  Welsh

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