The G Man strikes as Killarney Celtic stay on course for domestic treble
Killarney Celtic 1 Lisselton Rovers 0
By Murt Murphy Pics by Dom Walsh
Killarney Celtic will not be complaining about the length of the season after they deservedly added the Denny Premier A trophy to the Greyhound Bar KO Cup won just seven days earlier, when they defeated holders Lisselton Rovers in a tense final, played at Mounthawk Park on Sunday last.
It was a week of contrasting fortunes for both sides with Lisselton Rovers winning a controversial play off game in midweek after they had informed Killarney Athletic that they would not have a team to fulfil the fixture.
The fact that they turned up with a near full strength side and beat Athletic left a sour state all round so they won few friends and the majority of the crowd at Sundays game, probably wanted Celtic to win.
Celtic on the other hand were forced to dig deep as they lost their two central defenders and two of their most experienced and best players, Brian Spillane ( ligaments) and John Doyle ( ankle forced off after ten minutes) so it was a severe test of their bench.
It was to Celtic’s credit that they were able to overcome that loss and team boss Karl McMahon has done a wonderful job in juggling his pack all in the run in so that he had a strong bench and that that proved crucial in the final analysis.
Lisselton Rovers missed the suspended Stephen Conway and the otherwise engaged Shane Brosnan but overall Celtic was the better side on the day so Lisselton Rovers can have few complaints.
In fact Killarney Celtic should have won by a wider margin but over elaboration in the first half cost them, and Lisselton Rovers central defensive pairing Shane Doolan and Damian Wallace were in outstanding form.
Celtic exploded from the blocks, with Anthony O’Leary driving forward down the wing before crossing to the back post where Peter McCarthy was lucky to see the ball go the wrong side of the post for a corner.
A minute later it was the young player of the year, Chris Brady, ran onto to a pass from Geratus Paketurus but Peter McCarthy was back again helping his defence to clear the danger.
Joe Sheehy who was an influential figure at midfield for Lisselton Rovers then created Rovers first chance from a corner that was powerfully headed goalwards by Damien Wallace but Mike O’Sullivan was on the line to head clear, when the ball fell to Kyrle Holland, he was tackled by John Doyle, who injured his ankle, and limped out of the action after just ten minutes.
Alan Nagle came in and did a good job for Celtic, as they continued to attack with Johnny Enright called on to make a number of good stops to keep them out. In fact he had to be at his best to deny Gary Keane, G Paketarus, Stephen Hayes and Pa McGrath in the first quarter.
Midway through the half Lisselton had a goal disallowed when Joe Sheehy switched play wide to Ouro Akokaro Moussirine but he shot straight at Michael Gustafir and when Paul Kennelly floated the ball back into the area, Liam Costello headed the ball to the net but it was disallowed for offside.
At the other end a great ball from Chris Brady saw Paketarus beat the offside trap but Wallace got back to make a great tackle.
Twice in the 37th minute Rovers keeper Enright made was called into action to deny Paketarus and Anthony O’Leary.
Then in the 43rd minute after another Wallace tackle Lisselton broke upfield and when they had a free cleared by Gustafir, John McDonagh found Stephen Hayes, who raced to the end line, before crossing for Paketurus to head home at the near post, for a Celtic goal that proved to be the winner.
Celtic led 1-0 at the interval and always looked comfortable in the second half though Lisselton never gave up.
In the 50th minute Anthony O’Leary raided deep into the Lisselton half before picking out Michael O’Sullivan who should have scored from six yards but Enright made a brilliant save.
Six minutes later Vladimir Sirotiak replaced O’Sullivan and was immediately involved in the action. Lisselton should have equalised in the 56th minute but Paul Kennelly headed over from close range.
Ouro Akokaro Moussirine, who was well marshalled by David Hayes all afternoon, was shown a second yellow card in the 67th minute and that was the end of the line for the champions.
Lisselton Rovers never threw in the towel and Joe Sheehy beat a succession of Celtic defenders but Gary Keane averted the danger with a strong tackle on the edge of the box.
Paketarus got behind the Lisselton defence but shot from too far out when he had team-mate Sirotiak free to his left. Late in the game Pa McGrath received a second yellow but it mattered little as Killarney Celtic who finished eight points clear of the field, got their just deserts. .
Michael Gustafir, Chris Brady, John McDonough, David Hayes, Gary Keane, Pa McGrath, John Doyle, Mick O’Sullivan, Stephen Hayes, Geratus Paketarus, Anthony O’Leary. Reserves: Alan Nagle, Vladimir Sirotiak and Stephen Devane.
Lisselton Rovers: John Enright, Owen Fitzgerald, Kyrle Holland, Shane Doolin, Damien Wallace, Peter McCarthy, Paul Kennelly, Liam Costello, Joe Sheehy, Stephen McCarthy, Ouro Akokaro Moussirine.
Referee: Kevin O’Regan