A clinical Killarney Celtic dumped Newmarket Celtic out of the FAI Junior Cup on Sunday afternoon.
Killarney Celtic 3
Newmarket Celtic 2
Venue: McDonough Memorial Park, Newmarket-on-Fergus
Clare’s involvement in the FAI Junior Cup has ended with Newmarket bowing out of the competition in the last thirty two stage. They now join Galway giants Mervue Utd, Abbeyfeale Utd and Newcastle West FC in the list of teams conquered by the Kerry club in this season’s competition.
Thirty years ago the clubs clashed with Killarney coming out on top 3-1, while the scoreline changed the result didn’t this time round. The winners were the far superior team in the opening half but the hosts controlled matters for much of the second but crucially Killarney began to get more and more into the game as it wore on with Chris O’Leary’s winner coming moments from the finish.
As the game commenced, Newmarket appeared to be the more nervy of the sides as Killarney caused them some hassle early on. They didn’t help themselves either by keeping the ball at the back for too long and involving goalkeeper, Rob Shier in the play too much. Their use of possession at the back would come back to haunt them as the tie progressed.
A header from Eoin O’Brien and parry from Shier in separate corners denied Killarney any chance of taking the lead but the Clare side were visibly under pressure as the visitors tried to put their mark on proceedings.
With twenty one minutes on the clock, Newmarket took the lead as Paddy Purcell got on the end of a David McCarthy corner and saw his effort deflected to the back of the net as it hit off John McDonagh to confuse netminder Roy Kelleher.
In their next attack Killarney were back on level terms. A Newmarket free was cleared which left only winger Wayne Sparling and Darren Cullinan in front of Shier, it was Sparling that won the race for possession and he dodged past the challenge of Cullinan before slotting past the former Limerick FC U20 goalkeeper.
Members of the home support felt that a handball should have been awarded prior to the Killarney clearance which led to the goal, while they seem to have been correct in their protests, there was no excuse for leaving Cullinan isolated.
Ian Collins showed a glimpse of what he could do on the thirtieth minute when he left his marker reeling with a burst of pace however the teenager’s shot sailed over the crossbar. Shier was called on to deny striker Cathal O’Shea who won back possession for his side far too close to the Newmarket goal for the liking of their supporters.
While O’Shea didn’t finish his effort, Wayne Sparling made no mistake with their next attempt as he collected his second goal on the thirty sixth minute. Shier rolled out possession to full-back Darren Cullinan who passed to Colin Ryan and the 2013 All-Ireland senior hurling medallist was too complacent with his planned pass to Seamie Lawlor that Sparling easily intercepted and fired to the top left hand corner of the Newmarket net.
Both sides were reduced to ten men before the sounding of the half-time whistle. Whilst in control of the ball, Cathal O’Shea was dispossessed following a strong Tino Nzvaura tackle. O’Shea was not too pleased with the tackle and threw a punch in Nzvaura’s torso region when they were getting up from the ground, he responded by grabbing the striker’s jersey by the neck. O’Shea was shown a straight red card while Tino picked up a second yellow card having already been cautioned.
At half-time the sides retired to the dressing rooms with ten men apiece and the visitors in front 2-1.
Manager Mike O’Malley had his troops raring to go as the second half commenced with Newmarket a different animal for the majority of the half. A well-worked move almost bore fruition but Darren Cullinan now operating on the left-wing missed the target. Five minutes later they another great chance and Brian Monaghan came inches close to equalising as they continued to apply the pressure.
That pressure paid off as David McCarthy was fouled inside the box giving Mark Rellis no option but to award the penalty. Up stepped captain Eoin Hayes and he made no mistake with the execution firing to the bottom left corner of the net on the fifty ninth minute.
Hayes almost doubled the lead two minutes later. His header from a Newmarket corner hit the crossbar and bounced on the line before being cleared away to the relief of the visitors. Further opportunities presented themselves to the Irish international and Paddy Purcell but neither of them properly tested Roy Kelleher.
They were kept on their toes at the other end in the final fifteen minutes with an excellent tackle from Eoin O’Brien dispossessing Peter McCarthy who was straight through on goal, minutes later Paddy Purcell made a vital block with McCarthy once more being the player denied.
As the game entered the final five minutes, Killarney took a quick corner as they caught their opponents off-guard. Conor Randall saw Matt Keane in space and he returned to ball to Randall whose delivery into the danger-area was finished to the net by full-back Chris O’Leary as he rose highest to head the ball past Rob Shier.
Sparling won a penalty for Killarney when he rounded Shier and fell to the ground easily on the ninetieth minute. However Gary Keane’s strike went to the left of the goal and wide giving Newmarket hope of a late comeback. However it wasn’t to be as last season’s quarter-finalists saw their run come to an end.
When they were in the danger-area, Killarney put their opponents under more pressure. Instead of doing the same, Newmarket played too much in their own defence and paid the ultimate price with the second goal arising from such an instance. As they look back, O’Malley’s side will be most disappointed with their first half showing, they showed their ability with a strong forty minute spell in the second half, the five minutes in which they faltered also proved to be costly.
Going forward they will need to provide more support for Eoin Hayes who was constantly surrounded by two men. There is ambition within the squad and so their exit will upset them, however reaching the last thirty two in Ireland is a feat that must be praised. Eoin O’Brien was their standout player during the game while Seamie Lawlor and Eoin Hayes did well at times.
For the winners they will be grateful for the contribution of Wayne Sparling while Jamie Spillane was solid at the back throughout, substitute Peter McCarthy kept the opposing defenders on their toes while during his forty minute spell on the field, Cathal O’Shea caused problems.
Killarney Celtic: Roy Kelleher; Chris O’Leary, Jamie Spillane, John McDonagh, Brendan Falvey; Stephen Hayes, Gary Keane, Pat McGrath, Wayne Sparling; Matt Keane, Cathal O’Shea. Subs: Peter McCarthy for Falvey (HT), Conor Randall for McGrath (72), Conall Murphy for Sparling (93).
Newmarket Celtic: Rob Shier; Seamie Lawlor, Tino Nzvaura, Paddy Purcell, Darren Cullinan; Colin Ryan; Ian Collins, Eoin O’Brien, Brian Monaghan; Eoin Hayes, David McCarthy. Subs: Cathal Hayes for Cullinan (72), Stephen Kelly for Monaghan (87).
Referee: Mark Rellis
Gallery of photos by Martin Connolly