Castlebar Celtic 0
The final score-line may not reflect the difference between these two sides in terms of technical ability or superiority but it does show the dogged defending by a Celtic rearguard that was under pressure for most of this game. Celtic started this game without their best player Noe Baba and also full back Michael Hall due to injury. The influence of Baba would surely have reduced the dominance of Crumlin’s Tom Moroney and Jack McCarron in the vital midfield area. It is also true to say that the Dublin boys were physically more powerful, and were dominant in the aerial combat.
It was clear from an early stage that Crumlin would have a good deal of possession and territory. They opened the scoring after six minutes after an excellent left footed cross from full back Conor Mahony found the head of inrushing Doolan O’Toole who powered his header beyond a helpless Eric Eaton in the Celtic goal. Celtic were unable to make any impression either in the midfield exchanges despite the efforts of Colm Nevin and Liam Irwin. The Crumlin central defensive unit of Tom Lahiff and captain Jamie Goonery were giving no change to Celtic’s Jordan Loftus or Ronan Carolan. The Celtic rearguard of Stephen Walsh, Jamie Ivers, Mark Nolan, and Keith Mulchrone, although under severe pressure at times, was also doing well in curtailing the energetic Azeez Yuriff and tall striker Doolan O’Toole.
Crumlin should have doubled their lead after 24 minutes when the Celtic defence failed to deal with a throw in, and space opened up for the fast thinking Tom Moroney, but his effort from eight yards in front of goal and only the keeper to beat ballooned over the bar, with the goal at his mercy. Moroney had a further chance some minutes later but his shot went over the bar from his 20 yard effort.
Celtic came out in the second half clearly intent on making a game of it with a more positive mental attitude, and a greater physical presence in their challenges. Their defensive unit were giving little space to their opponents, and home side were attacking the ball in a positive constructive manner and standing up to the physical challenge.
Celtic’s best effort of the game came about on 57 minutes when Ronan Carolan’s 20 yard effort was well held by Hammond in the Crumlin goal. Carolan was most unfortunate some minutes later when he deflected Stephen Fry’s effort into his own net, and gave the visitors the cushion of a two goal lead.
Celtic: E Eaton, K Mulchrone, M Nolan, S Walsh, J Ivers, G Walsh, K McDermott, L Irwin, J Loftus, C Nevin, R Carolan. Subs: A Smyth, C McNeela, G Hunt, D Murray, S McDermott, K Quinn, P Walsh.
Crumlin: A Hammond, P Daly, C Mahony, T Lahiff, J Goonery, T Moroney, S Fry, J McCarron, A Yuriff, D O’Toole, G Murphy. Subs: O Frezmo, H O’Callaghan, C Stafford, J Mahon, D Clarke.
Ref: Kevin Cox.