OLIVER BOND CELTIC………1
HIGH-CLASS fare on offer at Pearse Park on Sunday morning where the home club captured the Loughran Cup from a more than competitive Oliver Bond Celtic with the game in the balance right to the final minutes of an enthralling game.
James Lee’s LSL Champions were taking on recent arrivals to the intermediate ranks in OBC and they showed just what a force they will be with an excellent display in a game that really could have gone either way right up to the final few minutes.
By Eamon Scott
Crumlin were on the front foot from the off, clever passing and neat interplay was matched by a competitive OBC who chased and harried as they looked to get a foothold in the game.
If it was Crumlin who produced the early pressure it was OBC who conjured the first half-chance but the shot was ragged wide. Then on 20 Troy Carey was lurking at the back post and Crumlin were happy to clear for a corner.
Two minutes later OBC’s cause was undone with a brilliant finish with a weighted pass for Jake Walker to get in on goal and he rounded Sean Quinn to stroke home to an empty net.
The mercury gauge was rising and so was the competitive nature and OBC tried to respond but Ajibol Sule’s run on goal was smothered by Kian Clarke. Sule was to tweak a hamstring to bring his morning to a premature end which coincided with the ‘water-break’ with referee Declan Troy reminding Eddie Keogh that is was exactly that and not a ‘coaching break’ as Eddie barked out his instructions under the scorching Crumlin sun in the absence of manager Alan Reilly..
Troy Carey then tried his luck from distance but Clarke in the home goal parried the shifting strike from 30 yards and gathered at the second attempt.
On the resumption Jake Walker came close to adding to his opening strike from a free-kick but the OBC netminder Quinn was equal to the goalbound shot and the danger was averted.
In fairness, OBC were beginning to impose themselves on the game and pressed Crumlin deeper and deeper and Clarke made several timely interceptions to keep his goal intact.
But there was not a lot he could do as the Oliver Bond pressure was finally rewarded in the 64th minute. Crumlin were caught cold off a freekick and Ciaran Walsh was on hand to find the back of the Crumlin net with a smart finish from close in.
Oliver Bond were definitely in the ascendancy and Crumlin battled manfully to stem the tide. The experience of John Lester and Adam Mitchell were added to the OBC mix and for a time it looked as if the visitors were the more likely victors.
But James Lee’s side are champions for a reason and they rode out the pressure and then struck with two quick fire goals to close out the game just as it looked as if it would take penalties to separate the sides.
As OBC committed bodies forward the ball was cleared and substitute Lee Duffy latched onto the ball down the right wing. He showed a clean pair of heels to the chasing OBC defenders and cooly slotted home past Quinn just as the clock turned 90.
But there was more to come. OBC still felt as if they could get something from the occasion and pushed forward again in search of an equaliser deep into injury time, but again Crumlin’s footballing craft came through.
This time it was leading goalscorer of the tournament Jake Walker who picked up a loose ball just inside his own half and with Quinn pushing up past the halfway line, it was a sprint for Quinn to retreat and Walker to outpace the netminder. It was Walker who won the contest finding the back of the Oliver Bond net with Declan Troy’s final whistle bringing an end to an excellent high-tempo final.
Credit both sides for the entertainment they provided. A perfect preseason workout and for Lee another piece of silverware to add to the growing CV.
The tournament’s leading goalscorer was Crumlin’s Jake Walker and he also collected the Player of the tournament award for a nice personal double. A fine talent and a player sure to fine the net with the quality of supply he’ll receive at Pearse Park this season.
CRUMLIN UNITED: Kian Clarke; Alan Barrett, Pedro Malanda, Jamy Nawanda, Jack Funge, Jamie Whelan, Evan Smithers, Anto Dolan, Jake Walker, Jamie Henderson, Eoghn Rowe. Subs: Lee Duffy, Craig Henry, Jamie Hamilton, Lee Fahey, Kevin Lisimba, Charlie Smith, Fasid Madjid, Jonathan O’Donogue, Favour Menuduagham..
OLIVER BOND CELTIC: Sean Quinn, Carl Bateman, Michael Early, Cian Byrne, Joseph O’Neill, Brandon Daly, Thomas Hannon, Dean Brady, Ajibola Sule, Troy Carey. Subs: Killian Hudson, Ciaran Walsh, Adam Mitchell, John Lester Jake Carey.