It is 42 years since any Kerry side have won consecutive back to back league and cup titles and Killarney Celtic now have that remarkable achievement in their CV after they were crowned Premier A Champions at Mounthawk Park on Friday evening after an impressive win over Castleisland in an entertaining final replay.
Report by Mike Rice
St Brendans Park were the last side to attain this enormous feat and given the strength of this Celtic side they could be going for a hat trick of doubles next season.
While only a single goal separated the sides at the end Celtic were by far the better side on the night and were very worthy champions at the end.
However when you meet a Castleisland side managed by Edmond Harnett you will earn your salt and Celtic had to use all their resources to deal with their route one game and aerial bombardment.
Bartlett’s Great Saves
Over the 90 minutes the Celtic goalie Roy Kelliher had very little to do while Castleisland keeper Steven Bartlett had to make a number of great saves to keep his side in the game.
Celtic began the game strongly building up attacks from midfield and they had two early chances but Danny Roche and Stephen Mc Carthy were unable to test the Castleisland goalie.
Castleisland’s first chance came in the 12th minute when Tommy Feehan found Adam O’Donoghue with a clever ball but his effort on goal was taken off the line by John Mc Donagh conceding a corner kick.
This was drilled into the goalmouth by Danny Feehan with Aidan O’Callaghan finishing it to the net but he was pulled back for a foul on a defender.
Celtic went ahead in the 25th minute with a well crafted goal.
Wayne Sparling used his dainty footwork to release Stephen Mc Carthy inside the box producing a corner kick.
Mc Carthy’s delivery was headed out to the edge of the box where James Sugrue ran on to it and he unleashed a rocket of a shot which looked destined for the top corner of the net but Castleisland goalie Steven Bartlett made an absolutely brilliant save clawing the ball out but it fell invitingly to ace marksman Danny Roche and he drilled his low shot to the bottom corner of the net.
Celtic continued to display the biggest threat and Castleisland were relying on route one attacks and high balls into the box from free kicks.
They almost doubled their lead in the 38th minute when a clever ball by Cathal O’Shea created an opening for Wayne Sparling and his shot was just inches wide.
Just before half time Danny Roche opened up the Castleisland defence with an electrifying run and his shot crashed back off the crossbar.
Screaming For a Penalty
Immediately Celtic players were screaming for a penalty kick when it appeared that Pierce Brosnan handled a Wayne Sparling shot in the goalmouth but referee Eddie O’Mahony allowed play to continue.
However his attention was called upon by linesman Thomas Sheehy who saw the incident from another angle and after the consultation the decision was a penalty kick.
Red Card Calls
Celtic players were calling for a red card to be produced but none emerged which did not please Celic players and supporters.
The spot kick was taken by Stevie O Mahoney but Castleisland keeper Stephen Bartlett played mind games with his opponent pretending to move to his left but remained in a central position and consequently O Mahony went down the middle and the keeper made a great save pushing the ball away with a strong hand while Aidan O Callaghan cleared it to safety.
A Huge Let-Off
This was a huge let off for Castleisland right on the stroke of half time as if Celtic had scored they would be in a very snug position at the break.
Castleisland started the second half on the front foot and they were only a whisker away from equalising in the 50th minute when Michael Walsh latched on to a Tommy Feehan free kick and his looping header was only inches wide.
Great Build Up Play
As the half moved on the game got very scrappy and Celtic went close to doubling their lead in the 58 minute after great build up play Gary Keane shot narrowly wide.
Then played moved down the other end and a long throw in from Pierce Brosnan found Adam O Donoghue but his header missed the target.
By now both sides introduced substitutions and with just a goal in it Castleisland were still in with a chance.
Slowing Down Play
However they were finding it very hard to get the ball down the pitch as Celtic were slowing down play and using their passing game to good effect.
Castleisland had a half chance with 2 minutes to go when sub Colm Murphy got on to the end of a Stephen Bartlett free kick but his volley from just outside the box went a foot wide.
At the end Celtic were very worthy winners and there was a great reception for the captain of the side John Mc Donagh as he was presented with the cup.
Teams: Killarney Celtic: Roy Kelliher, Padraig O’Connor, Brendan Falvey, John McDonagh, Stevie O’Mahony, James Sugrue, (Matt Keane 57) Gary Keane, Wayne Sparling, (Shane Brosnan 88), Stephen McCarthy, (Ryan Kelliher 81), Cathal O’Shea, Danny Roche.
Castleisland: Steven Bartlett, Pierce Brosnan, Paul Carmody, Aidan O’Callaghan, Michael Walsh, (Dean Poolman 86), Ray Huggard, (Pa Hickey 83) Mike Hanifin, Luke Lyons, Adam O’Donoghue, (Stan Divane 70), Eamon Nolan, (Colm Murphy 70) Tommy Feehan.
Referee Eddie O’Mahony linesmen Thomas Sheehy and Kevin Cunningham.
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