Town tor­ment Celtic First-half goals earn the three points for Ark­low out­fit

Wicklow People - - SPORT - BREN­DAN LAWRENCE

ARK­LOW TOWN SHAM­ROCK CELTIC 3 1

A VERY ca­pa­ble and ac­com­plished Ark­low Town side put a bat­tling Sham­rock Celtic to the sword at Bridge­wa­ter Cen­tre Park on Fri­day night last in an en­ter­tain­ing yet at times frus­trat­ing Di­vi­sion 3 bat­tle.

The visi­tors never re­ally found any flow or rhythm in this game, and they will be very dis­ap­pointed with their over­all per­for­mance on a fairly ugly night to be away from the sit­ting room fire.

All the scor­ing was done in the open­ing half. Ark­low Town had their three-goal tally posted by the 40th minute thanks to a first half of very im­pres­sive foot­ball that saw them look­ing for the jugu­lar at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity.

Sham­rock Celtic rarely trou­bled the goal of Willie Hors­man in that open­ing half, but one er­ror from the Ark­low net­min­der saw a clear­ance drove in the di­rec­tion of the very handy Glen McCarthy who ri­fled over a lob off his left boot that sailed ma­jes­ti­cally into the top corner of Horse­man’s net to give the visi­tors a tiny glimpse of hope at the end of a dis­ap­point­ing open­ing half.

An early clash of heads be­tween Sham­rock Celtic’s Gary Doyle and Ark­low Town’s Craig Led­with left us with a wor­ry­ing few min­utes as both men re­ceived at­ten­tion on the ground.

It was a purely ac­ci­den­tal col­li­sion and thank­fully both were good to go after a few mo­ments al­though Led­with wouldn’t reap­pear after the first half.

There was 18 min­utes on the clock when Craig Led­with would fire home the open­ing goal. A lovely through ball found the striker and he slot­ted home sweetly past Mikael Hodgkinson in the Sham­rock Celtic goal.

Celtic tried hard to break down the res­o­lute de­fence of Shane Dono­hue, Craig Snell, Donal O’Ke­effe and Ed­ward Dunne but they lacked a real clin­i­cal edge.

Town on the other hand were tor­ment­ing the Sham­rock Celtic de­fence with alarm­ing reg­u­lar­ity. Conor Dodd’s free had Mikael Hodgkinson pan­ick­ing but the strike sailed inches above the cross­bar.

Craig Led­with saw his weak ef­fort dealt with by Hodgkinson and an Ed­ward Dunne corner was sent wide by Led­with at the near post in a close call for the Sham­rock Celtic de­fence.

The busy Scott Meaney fired in a cross to an un­oc­cu­pied Ark­low Town box in what was Celtic’s first real as­sault on the home side’s de­fence but Willie Hors­man had no trou­ble in gath­er­ing.

A pair of wides fol­lowed – the first from Paul Kelty for Town, the sec­ond for Celtic’s Kevin Coady in the 27th minute as the game started to flow bet­ter.

Willie Hors­man gath­ered an­other Scott Meaney ball be­fore a Led­with ball at the other end found a col­league in an off­side po­si­tion.

On we went un­til the 35th minute with Town still lead­ing by a goal to nil.

The home side at­tacked through the cen­tre and a beau­ti­ful flick pass from Paul Kelty put Conor Dodd through and he made no mis­take past Hodgkinson.

It was ex­actly what the Town team de­served hav­ing shown the greater in­dus­try and po­ten­tial in those open­ing 35 min­utes.

Sham­rock Celtic won a free far out, but the lofted ball drifted harm­lessly wide.

And then came the fa­tal blow for Sham­rock Celtic. The ex­cel­lent Conor Dodd took the ball around Gary Doyle and a flail­ing chal­lenge from Doyle caused Carl Doyle to sound the shrill whis­tle for a penalty.

Peter Walker took on the re­spon­si­bil­ity and he drove it low and hard to Hodgkinson’s right, giv­ing the Sham­rock Celtic net­min­der no chance of sav­ing. 3-0 to Ark­low Town and surely no way back for a Celtic side who had looked fairly limited in at­tack up to this point.

But some­times all a team needs is a mo­ment of magic to give them hope where no hope ap­pears to be. A poor clear­ance from Hors­man in the Town goal sent the ball to Glen McCarthy in the bright orange boots and the Celtic mid­fielder sent back a mis­sile over Hors­man’s head that flew into the top corner of the Town goal to make it 3-1 to the home side after 41 min­utes.

Celtic lost Philip Gill to in­jury a mo­ment later and they sent in Bob Quinn for the re­main­der of the game.

Town would come look­ing for goals on two more oc­ca­sions be­fore the break, but Ed­ward Dunne’s vol­ley was gath­ered by Hodgkinson who also col­lected a hope­ful ball from Dil­lon Mor­daunt.

Both sides made changes through­out the sec­ond half and both had plenty of chances over the course of the 45 min­utes, but Hors­man and Hodgkinson proved ca­pa­ble in both goals.

Kevin Coady had a shot from dis­tance that he never re­ally got hold of be­fore a Dil­lon Mor­daunt free was gath­ered by Hodgkinson in the Celtic goal at the other end.

Craig Snell made the most im­por­tant in­ter­cep­tion of the night 28 min­utes into the sec­ond half when he got his head to a neat ball over the top from Celtic’s David Shorthall who was busy and keen all night.

Hors­man had to be alert to gather a ric­o­chet from a Town clear­ance that re­bounded off a Celtic body mo­ments later.

A sweet ball from Peter Walker re­leased Paul Kelty but he was fouled by Greg Doyle with Ed­ward Dunne’s free be­ing saved well by Hodgkinson.

Celtic just couldn’t find that sec­ond goal that might have swung the game’s mo­men­tum in their favour.

They found it too dif­fi­cult to break down a phys­i­cally su­pe­rior Town side who had use­ful op­er­a­tors all over the pitch.

A de­cent game on a cold and wet night at the Bridge­wa­ter Cen­tre Park with Town’s ef­fec­tive at­tack­ing play prov­ing to be Celtic’s un­do­ing in the open­ing half.

1. Willie Hors­man,

2. Shane Dono­hue, 3. Craig Snell, 4. Donal O’Ke­effe, 5. Ed­ward Dunne, 6. Kyle Dowl­ing, 7. Paul Kelty, 8. Conor Dodd,

9. Peter Walker, 10. Dil­lon Mor­daunt, 11. Craig Led­with. Subs: 12. Dean Doyle, 13. Ryan McGowan, 14. Ge­orge Byrne, 15. Fer­dia Hunt.

ARK­LOW TOWN:

Mikael Hodgkinson, 2. Philip Gill, 3. Greg Doyle, 4. Ing­vard Hanssen, 5. Gary Doyle, 6. Alan Coady,

7. Kevin Coady, 8. Glen McCarthy, 9. Ai­dan Small, 10. David Shorthall, 11. Scott Meaney. Subs: 12. To­mas Duffy, 13. Ta­mas Schaf­fer, 14. Bob Quinn, 15. Ai­dan O’Neill,

16. Craig Doyle.

SHAM­ROCK CELTIC: REF­EREE:

Carl Doyle.

Ark­low Town, who over­came the Sham­rock Celtic chal­lenge in their Di­vi­sion 3 match at Bridge­wa­ter Cen­tre Park.

Sham­rock Celtic, who lost out to Ark­low Town in their Di­vi­sion 3 match on Fri­day evening.

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