Spot kick is 'Curtins' for Ardee
ROCK Celtic Under-12s began their league campaign with a well deserved and comprehensive win away to Ardee Celtic.
On a wild, wet and blustery Sunday morning, both teams took to the pitch and worked hard to keep the ball under control. To use the old cliché, this really was a game of two halves. The opening exchanges were evenly matched, with both teams cancelling out each other. For much of the first half, it was the defensive players who were involved in much of the action.
Rock's Adam Gartlan and Conor Casey held solid but the midfield struggled to get a grip on the game as the ball was knocked long and appeared to by-pass that sector.
It was the home side that took the lead on 22 minutes when the Rock defence were caught napping. A long-range shot from the Ardee midfielder found the back of the net to put Ardee 1-0 up at half-time.
Rock made changes at the interval with the introduction of Josh Hanna and Conal McCaul and the impact was immediate, with Rock taking control of midfield and Donal Leavy using Declan Curtin on the left to run at the Ardee defence.
Within three minutes of the restart Rock were back on level terms with a goal from striker James McNamara. Josh Hanna battled hard in midfield and found himself taken down in the Ardee box, with the referee blowing for a penalty. Declan Curtin converted to put Rock 2-1 ahead.
Ardee had some good breaks and tested the Rock defence, but Conor Casey, Adam Gartlan and Patrick Mullen all held it tight at the back. Jack Donohue was called upon to make a great save from a long-range effort from Ardee but was well positioned to keep everything under control.
Rock pressed again down the right wing, with Conal McCaul showing strength and pace to knock a ball into the box for Edward Otesanya to make it 3-1 to Rock.
Moving into the final minutes of the game the Seasiders were well on top and so it was no surprise when Josh Hanna picked up a ball in his own half, beat three players and unleashed a super shot to find the back of the net.