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O’NEILLS LEINSTER JUNIOR SHIELD

Mourne Celtic prove too good in Leinster Junior Shield clash at ALSAA

DAA FC…………………..1 MOURNE CELTIC……4

A GAME that promised much ended in disappointment for DAA FC as they exited the O’Neills Leinster Junior Shield at the fifth round stage at a sunny ALSAA, Saturday afternoon.

 Visitors Mourne Celtic from Skerries had to come from behind to advance  into the next round but few could argue that by full time, the north county side deserved their success.

Truth was this was a battle of two contrasting styles with DAA more measured in their passing while Mourne adapted a more direct long ball approach. 

By EAMON SCOTT

On a firm but bumpy pitch the long ball game seemed a better option but DAA’s style in fairness did offer up the first goal of the game.

 The Skerries side saw a freekick on the edge of the DAA box beaten away and the home side moved the ball quickly with centre forward Eoghan Dowling muscling out Eoin Wilde down the right flank.

Dowling cut in goalwards and as Alan Cullinan in goal came out to narrow the angle, Dowling’s shot was blocked at the first attempt but he kept his composure to slot the ball home to the unguarded net from an acute angle.

 That was in the 15th minute but remarkably Mourne Celtic levelled within the minute when Patrick Grant went through the middle and although Adam Farrelly got a hand to the ball, the pace of Grant’s shot took it to the back of the net.

DAA had scarcely had time to celebrate going in front and remarkably found themselves 2-1 down just two minutes after grabbing the initiative on the scorline.

The lead for Mourne came courtesy of  the impressive Johnathan Gunnery who was able to pick his spot as the DAA defence got their lines crossed for Gunnery to blast his side into the lead more or less from the restart. 

Much of Mourne’s cutting edge came from the boot of goalkeeper Cullinan who had a prodigious length from hand or off the ground. He was hitting the edge of the box and it was pushing DAA deeper and deeper. DAA’s best route to goal was through Paul John Tait and Ben Devereaux.

Both had a box of tricks with a bit of pace to inject into the game and often they were the target of DAA’s approach play. Mourne keeper Cullinan injured a groin with  one of his long clearances and had to be replaced by Danny Lamont.

Credit Lamont for donning the goalkeeping gloves but it looked as if he had little experience in the role but his back four protected him very well for the remainder of the match.

Credit both sides for the quality of football produced. It belied the Division 3 status with many of the players on view capable of operating at a much higher level.

 Central defender John Ferguson of Mourne Celtic took a heavy knock in a tackle but carried on and was impressive in the heart of the visitors’ back four with his reading of the game and accurate clearances. 

The second half was only three minutes old when Mourne added to their tally.

The Skerries men won a corner on the right but DAA only cleared as far as midfielder Cormac Grimes. His rasping shot arrowed through a phalanx of bodies with Farrelly in the home goal unsighted and the ball flew past him into the net. 3-1 to Mourne!

Still DAA were not out of it with plenty of time left on the clock and the visitors started to sit deeper and deeper inviting DAA on.

That suited the likes of Paul John Tait whose dribbling and trickery kept Mourne on their toes protecting Lamont but it was shot from distance that caused a moment of concern as the ball slipped through his hands for the concession of a corner. 

Off the corner Mourne failed to clear their lines and DAA saw two goal-bound shots beaten away with sixty minutes on the clock.

A big turning point came on 68 minutes when referee Chris Murphy flashed a red card DAA’s way with Billy Murtagh sent to the line for an ‘off the ball’ offence. 

On 72 minutes centre forward Grant got in behind the DAA backline only for Farrelly to make a big save as he spread himself. Five minute later however Grant added to his tally with a deft lob when he got clear once more, this time the ball finding the back of the net. 

The game was done and dusted for Mourne at that stage but DAA will rue a couple of missed opportunities and also the fact that they couldn’t consolidate when they got their noses in front.

 Credit Mourne for their belief and ability to bounce back straight away and the reality was that over the 90 minutes they were the better of the two sides and advance in this coveted provincial title. 

DAA FC: Adam Farrelly; Darragh O’Grady, Stephen McGivern, Padraig Byrne, Padraig Rice, Jason McArthur, Ben Devereaux, Thomas Carthy. Eoghan Dowling, Ethan McGuire, Paul John Tait.  Subs: Colm Bride, Billy Murtagh, Harry Thomas, Wesley Nsana, Bryan Currie, Max Boylan. 

MOURNE CELTIC: Alan Cullinan; Ross Kelly, Eoin Wilde, John Ferguson, Stephen Morgan, Cormac Grimes, Luke Canning, Tom Mullen, Parick Grant, Johnathan Gunnery, Ciaran Sheridan. Subs: Garreth Monks, Gerard O’Connor, Seamus Farrell, Grard McAllister, Danny Lamont, Aaron Farrell, Stephen Lawless.

 

Referee: Chris Murphy

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