Champs up for the fight

NORTH EAST FOOT­BALL LEAGUE

The Argus - - SPORT -

ARDEE CELTIC MUIRHEV­NAMOR 0 3

A sec­ond win in a row and an­other clean sheet has en­abled the cham­pi­ons to close the gap on the lead­ing teams in the pre­mier di­vi­sion of the North East League.

The re­sult on Fri­day night meant that only six points sep­a­rated the cham­pi­ons and the pace­set­ters Boyne Harps with the lat­ter with two more games played.

It is the teams be­hind Boyne how­ever, that look the real dan­ger to their ti­tle, with sec­ond in the ta­ble Trim five points ahead, with the same num­ber six matches played, and New­foundwell be­hind them one point ahead of the cham­pi­ons with five games played.

How­ever, the cham­pi­ons are now in touch with the main chal­lengers, and not alone are their re­sults and per­for­mances im­prov­ing, but they also have strength­ened their squad.

Colin Hoey, back home af­ter a seven and a half year spell in Canada, has re­joined them, and made his re­turn as a sec­ond half sub­sti­tute, while they have also signed cen­tre-half Niall Hearty, who also was on the bench, and are await­ing clear­ance for left back Nathan Mur­phy for­merly with Dun­dalk to also lend his con­sid­er­able tal­ent to their bid to re­tain the league.

They started slug­gish enough, and had goal­keeper Michael Cooney to thank for a top notch save that pre­vented Ardee from tak­ing the lead in the open­ing quar­ter of an hour when a home player broke clear of his de­fence.

It was the wake up call that the cham­pi­ons per­haps needed as they took con­trol from there on and Billy Smith gave them the lead Gary Clarke clears for Muirhev­namor as Gareth Kane closes in.

just be­fore the break. He ran onto a lovely pass by Philip Duffy and was taken down in the penalty box. He took the spot kick him­self which he blasted into the roof of the neck.

The striker nearly scored again straight from the re-start when he ran onto an­other through ball and struck the wood­work.

Ten min­utes into the sec­ond half Tier­nan Mul­venna fin­ished off a lovely piece of play, fea­tur­ing again Philip Duffy with a cheeky side foot dink over the Ardee goal­keeper.

The cham­pi­ons quickly af­ter claimed they were de­nied a third goal when Duffy picked up a clear­ance from a cor­ner kick and hit a crack­ing shot from 30 yards which hit the home cross­bar and bounced down and across the goal line.

How­ever, the third goal came 15 min­utes from time af­ter both sides in quick suc­ces­sion went per­ilously close to scor­ing. Michael Cooney pro­duced a sec­ond first

rate save to deny Ardee, and the ball switched al­most im­me­di­ately to the other end where cen­tre-half Chris Caulfield cleared off the visi­tors line.

Smith put the out­come be­yond doubt when he re­ceived a pass form Gary Clarke and fin­ished with aplomb.

The cham­pi­ons could eas­ily have in­creased their win­ning mar­gin, but im­por­tantly they are back on course again to spell out they are not pre­pared to eas­ily re­lease their grip on the ti­tle. MUIRHEV­NAMOR: Michael Cooney, Brian Be­g­ley, Adrian Raf­ferty, Chris Caulfield, Con­all Mul­venna, Philip Duffy, Mickey O’Kane, Gary Clarke (Con­nor Gor­man), Billy Smith (Gino Cooney), Bren­dan Hughes (Colin Hoey), Tier­nan Mul­venna (Thomas McShane).

ARDEE CELTIC: Stu­art Reynolds, Rob­bie Reynolds (Dar­ren Clarke), Niall Sharkey, David Fair­clough, Ciaran Clarke (Gra­ham Tighe), Mikey Nulty (Wayne Reilly), Paul Ma­tondo, Ross Gaynor, James McMullen (Stu­art Os­bourne), Gareth Kane, Dar­ryn Gaynor (Lor­can Myles).

Muirhev­namor striker Billy Smith gets a shot away as Paul Ma­tondo closes in for for Ardee.

Muirhev­namor’s Tiar­nan Mul­venna takes on on Ardee’s Mikey Nulty.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.