League Final – Castleisland AFC and Killarney Celtic Must Meet Again

Castleisland AFC’s Adam O’Donoghue has his progress halted by a challenge from Killarney Celtic’s, Matt Keane during their Denny Premier League A Final at Mounthawk Park on Sunday. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Killarney Celtic 1 – Castleisland AFC 1.

Killarney Celtic came into this game chasing a league and cup double but they will have to wait at least another week if they want to accomplish this as they were held to a draw by a very committed and highy motivated Castleisland side at Mounthawk Park on Sunday in a keenly contested Premier A League Final.

Report by Mike Rice

This was a very entertaining game played at a fast pace with Celtic dominating play for long periods while Castleisland soaked it up very comfortably with some heroic defending at the back.

Celtic came into the game as favourites but Castleisland had their own containment plans and they worked very smoothly on the day.

It was a game of contrasting styles with Celtic keeping the ball on the deck as much as possible and doing their best to perfect their passing game while Castleisland defended deep and tried to hit on the counter attack and from set piece situations whenever they got an opportunity.

Tommy Feehan’s Great Shift

Any free kicks they got near midfield was driven into the goalmouth by their goalie Steven Bartlett but Celtic also defended very well and dealt with the airial threat very effectively for most of the game.

Tommy Feehan was the lone striker up front for Castleisland and he turned in a great shift running himself into the ground chasing any ball that came his way.

The first half of this game did not create too many scoring chances with most of the play confined to the middle third of the pitch and shots on goal were very few and far between.

Cross into the Box

Celtic’s first penetrating attack came in the eighth minute with Stephen O’Mahony, Danny Roche and Gary Keane combining but the cross into the box was headed out by Aidan O’Callaghan.

The first shot on target came from Celtic’s Stevie O Mahony with a low effort from distance comfortably saved by the Castleisland custodian Steven Bartlett.

Then Castleisland forced a couple of corner kicks which yielded nothing.

Over the Top

Castleisland had a bit of a let off in the 36th minute when a Gary Keane corner kick was spilled by Steven Bartlett in the goalmouth but Aidan O Callaghan came to the rescue and cleared the ball to safety.

A foul on Stevie O Mahony by Paul Carmody then led to a Celtic free kick on the edge of the box.

It was taken by John Mc Donagh but his left footed effort was over the top.

Then Paul Carmody delivered a great through ball to Colin McCarthy who drilled his shot into the goalmouth but Roy Kelliher smothered the ball and got it to safety.

Feehan Struck First

A minute from the break the deadlock was broken with Castleisland scoring from a set piece situation.

Colin Mc Carthy whipped in a great free kick from way out on the sideline into the goalmouth and when it broke loose in front of goals Tommy Feehan reacted quickest and blasted the ball to the net through a forest of players.

A bit of a mix up in the Celtic defence then gave Eamon Nolan a chance just outside the box but he skied his effort on goal.

Close to the Break

Celtic put a good attack together just before the break and a shot form Matt Keane fizzed inches outside the post.

Castleisland went in 1 – 0 ahead at the break and must have been chuffed to score so close to the break.

Now Killarney Celtic knew they were in a game and they would have to up their performance if they were to get back into the game.

Whatever manager Brian Spillane had to say to his players at half time it had the desired effect and their performance moved up a gear in the second half.

Equaliser – A Great Goal

The equaliser came in the 50th minute and it was a great goal.

It came from good build up play between John Mc Donagh and Gary Keane who fed Stevie O’Mahony who delivered a great cross into the box where Ryan Kelliher headed to the roof of the net.

Now Celtic began to turn the screw as they built up wave and wave of attacks but they were being rebuffed every time by a rock solid Castleisland defence.

Brilliant Save by Bartlett

Their corner kick tally began to mount up but they were having no joy in front of goals.

Castleisland hit on the break in the 64th minute and Ray Huggard let fly from distance and his shot was just over the top.

Then Celtic forced a corner kick which Gary Keane delivered into the box and a bullet of a shot from John Mc Donagh was brilliantly saved by Steven Bartlett.

By now both sides were using their benches and as the clock moved on Celtic were pressing for a winning goal.

Nicking the Game

Stevie O’Mahony had the ball in the net in the 69th minute but it was ruled out for a foul in the box.

Celtic went close to taking the lead in the 82nd minute when Stevie O’Mahony found Danny Roche with a free kick and his screamer of a shot was pushed over the top by Castleisland goalie Steven Bartlett.

Celtic went close to nicking the game late on when Brendan Falvey made a great run from midfield and drilled the ball right across the goalmouth and sub Padraig O Connor was only a fraction away from making the contact that would have provided a goal.

Celtic Disappointed

Celtic will be a bit disappointed they did not win the game given their dominance in the second half while Castleisland will be delighted to get another bite of the cherry and must be very pleased with their overall performance.

Their defensive quartet of Paul Carmody, Aidan O Callaghan, Michael Walsh and Pierce Brosnan were absolutely superb throughout the game.

Replay on Friday at 7:30pm

The replay takes place at Mounthawk Park next Friday evening with a 7 30pm kick off.

The Teams

Killarney Celtic:

Roy Kelliher, Gary Keane, Brendan Falvey, John Mc Donagh, Stevie O’Mahony, James Sugrue, Matt Keane, Wayne Sparling, (Lee Downing 79), Ryan Kelliher, Cathal O’Shea, (Padraig O’Connor 79), Danny Roche

Castleisland AFC:

Steven Bartlett, Pierce Brosnan, Paul Carmody, Aidan O’Callaghan, Michael Walsh, Ray Huggard, (Pa Hickey 78), Mike Hanifan, Luke Lyons, Colin Mc Carthy, (Colm Murphy 61), Eamon Nolan, (Adam O’Donoghue 61),  Tommy Feehan, (Stan Divane 76), .

Referee Anthony Morrison.

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