CASTLEKNOCK’S Under-19s claimed the bragging rights over local rivals as they shaded an evenly contested local derby with St Mochta’s in their top of the table clash in Porterstown.
Abidemi Dare had broken the deadlock on 10 minutes while Celtic thought they had stretched their lead on 25 minutes when Mikey Aherne found the net, but his effort was ruled out as the referee deemed it to be offside.
St Mochta’s got their reward for their first half efforts when Ryan Cullinane equalised moments after the Celtic disallowed goal. The game continued to ebb and flow, but it was Celtic who made the next breakthrough after Conor Hamilton was taken down in the box. The Celtic striker converted the penalty to give his side the 3-1 edge at the interval.
The second half was again keenly contested with both sides going close.
It was St Mochta’s who were to suffer as an over-robust tackle by one of their players saw him reduce his team to 10. Celtic exploited their numerical advantage and it was man of the match Dare who got the all-important third.
St Mochta’s did continue to create chances and were unlucky on a number of occasions not to score, being denied most of the game by some excellent goal keeping by Celtic number one, Alex Bradean, including one blinding save at point blank range late on.
The win for Celtic increases the gap to four points between them and St Mochta’s in the league table where they occupied fourth and sixth place at the start of play.
Elsewhere, Celtic’s AUL Premier B Sunday side faced Sheriff YC in their league clash at the IT Blanch all-weather pitch last weekend. Goalless at half-time, Celtic started the second period with a goal almost instantly.
Kevin Keane seized on an opportunity to put the home side ahead. Sheriff exerted a lot of pressure in an effort to gain parity, but it was Celtic who were to extend their lead with 15 minutes to go.
Sylviu Aghinita got possession in the middle of the park, raced forward, and one-on-one, it looked a certain goal.
But the keeper upended the striker and the referee had no hesitation awarding the spot-kick. John Byrne stepped forward after much delay as players protested and were booked.
The Celtic midfielder coolly slotted home, sending the keeper the wrong way. In fairness, the scoreline flattered Celtic as they had sustained a lot of Sheriff pressure with the visitors going close on a number of occasions.
It was no surprise, then, that 10 minutes from time, Sheriff finally converted one of their chances when Sam Fitzpatrick shot home from 10 yards. Five minutes from time, the Sheriff recovery was complete when Alan O’Keeffe’s shot ricocheted into the net to bring the sides level at 2-2.