Denny Premier A Castleisland AFC 3 – 3 Killarney Celtic
The Castleisland AFC A team members kicked off their season on Sunday morning against last season’s double winners Killarney Celtic.
By: Neil O’Sullivan
The boys lined out in their new first team kit kindly sponsored by Tom McCarthy’s Bar.
Tight Opening Stages
The opening stages of the game were tight but it was Celtic that had the first chance when a corner fell to Wayne Sparling who had his goal bound shot cleared from danger by Paul Carmody.
Soon after, Celtic had another chance to take the lead when Mícheál Walsh brought down the advancing striker on the edge of the box but the resulting free kick ended up high and wide of Steven Bartlett’s goal.
Solid at the Back
Goal chances were few and far between in the first half with both teams looking solid at the back. Referee Seamie O’Mahoney brought an end to a tight first half affair with the game still in the balance.
Celtic started strongly in the second half and Bartlett was called into action for the first time to get down low to save an effort heading for the bottom corner.
On the hour mark Celtic took the lead, Bartlett, having made a great save from a one on one was unlucky to see the ball fall to Wayne Sparling at the corner of the box and he finished well with his curling effort finding the top right hand corner.
Chaotic Five Minutes
The next five minutes was chaos from a Castleisland point of view. Three minutes later the home side found themselves two down when they failed to clear a corner and the Celtic centre back easily finished into the back of the net. Two minutes later it was 3-0 and it looked like the game was over.
New manager Edmond Hartnett introduced Steven McCarthy, Matthew Browne and newly appointed captain Pat Hickey to the game and the fresh legs immediately made a difference to the game.
Downey Rewarded for Effort
With twenty minutes to go Jonathan Downey got his reward for his hard work up front as the lone striker. Downey got on the end of a clearance and advanced into the Celtic box before being brought down for a penalty. He then stepped up to take the penalty which trickled over the line after the Celtic keeper got a touch on it.
The goal sparked new life into the game and with another fresh man in Pauric O’Connor being introduced the home side looked like they had one last push left in them.
Patrick Hickey was playing his first soccer in a couple of years due to injury but was taking the game to Celtic from midfield and his range of passing and coolness on the ball was causing problems for the away side.
On the 84th minute Hickey rose highest in midfield to head the ball on to Steven McCarthy who raced past a tiring Celtic defence and chipped the on- rushing keeper.
Extra Six Minutes
Castleisland was now well on top and pushing for an equalizer. The referee indicated that there would be six additional minutes after Michael Walsh had treatment to a cut over his eye.
In the second minute of added time Hickey played a pin point ball out to Downey on the left who crossed for McCarthy but he failed to make contact with his first effort but made no mistake at the second time of asking when his shot rifled past the Celtic keeper to make it 3-3.
Heart and Attitude
Great credit is due to the boys for the heart and attitude they displayed to stay in the game against one of the top Junior sides in the country. It was an encouraging first day out for the A team and with a lot of players left to be added to the squad they are sure to improve as the weeks go on.
Castleisland AFC Team – Steven Bartlett, Paul Carmody, Aidan O’Callaghan, Mike Cahill, Kevin Mahony, Ray Huggard, Pierce Brosnan Colin McCarthy Tommy Feehan Michael Walsh, Jonathan Downey. Subs used: Steven McCarthy, Matthew Browne, Patrick Hickey, Pauric O’Connor, Kevin Moran.
Juvenile Training Updates
U-8 and U-10 training has re-commenced on Wednesday evenings from 4-5pm in Castleisland Community Centre, Don’t forget your runners and €2 and new players are welcome.
Thursday at 6pm. U-11 soccer training Thursday September 13th, 6-7pm, soccer field up the Limerick Road, don’t forget your shin guards and water.
Saturday at 10am: U-14 Girls will have their first training session this Saturday 15th September 10am to 11am at the soccer field. Don’t forget shin guards and water.