The Park 4 Killarney Celtic 1 THE clash of the two big Premier A heavyweights lived up to its billing at Christy Leahy Park on Sunday morning providing a good quality game with plenty of creativity by both sides.
The final scoreline might suggest that the Park won this game easily but that was not the case as it was wide open right up to the concluding stages but two late goals by the home side ensuring victory.
Celtic were without a number of regulars with David Hayes, Gary Keane, Robert Watson out through injury.
The Park dominated the first half with David Conway Stephen O'sullivan and Fergal Maunsell lording proceedings in the middle of the park and creating plenty of chances for the strike force of Pa Mccarthy and David Courtney. Indeed had they taken all their first half chances they could have been out of sight by half time.
The home side began at a blistering pace and went ahead after just six minutes. Dan Robinson won the ball out on the wing and after making room for himself delivered it into the goalmouth where Stephen O'sullivan nodded it on to David Courtney and he exacted a delightfull overhead kick which flew into the roof of the net.
Four minutes later they could have doubled their lead when Fergal Maunsell flew down the wing like a spring hare and centred to Pa Mccarthy but his shot missed the target.
It took Celtic 21 minutes to get their first shot on goals but the effort by Jamie Spillane did not bother Park custodian Tommy Moriarty.
Pa Mccarthy was not to be denied four minutes later when Stephen O'sullivan fed Fergal Maunsell out on the wing and after breezing past defenders he chipped the ball into the packed goalmouth where Mccarthy nodded goalwards and it went in off Brian Spillane.
Killarney Celtic brought Peter Mccarthy out to midfield and this change drastically changed the game. Now Celtic were becoming a potent force with Mccarthy creating some great openings.
They should have got one back on the half hour mark when Stephen Devane was all alone inside the box but he fluffed his shot.
However, five minutes later the game was thrown wide open again when Celtic found the net. Stephen Hayes' throw-in into the danger zone was flicked on at the near post to the inrushuing Peter Mccarthy and his header from six yards hit the underside of the crossbar and went in off Park goalie Stephen Bartlett.
Celtic now had a spring in their step and began taking the game to the home side. They had a few half chances before the break and the game was delicately poised at the interval.
The second half was played at a slower tempo and chances were not as frequent.
In the space of a minute both sides had great chances with The Park very unlucky in the 57th minute when the crossbar denied Stephen O'sullivan after a long throw by Martin Bowler.
Straight afterwards a high kick out by Stephen Bartklett caught The Park defence napping allowing Ginatus Paketaurus through on goals one on one with the Park keeper Tommy Moriarty, who came off his line and made a great block to deny a certain goal.
In the final 10 minutes Killarney Celtic went all out in search of an equaliser and left themselves a bit exposed at the back.
They were caught badly in the 86th minute when Brian Spillane's free kick from the Park half was poorly delivered and The Park broke with lightening pace. David Courtney took off like an express train down the right flank and after putting defenders out of the equation he rolled the ball to sub Anthony Murphy and he finished in style.
Shortly afterward they struck again with Pa Bailey delivering a great over the top ball to sub David Rogers, who still had an awful amount of work to do, but he held his composure well and applied a neat finish.
On the day The Park were very worthy winners and they now meet Division 2 side Shanakill Athletic in the quarter-final.
THE PARK: Tommy Moriarty, Martin Bowler, Con Barrett, Adrian Quirke, Pa Bailey, Fergal Maunsell, Stephen O'sullivan, David Conway, Dan Robinson, Pa Mccarthy, David Courtney. Subs: David Rogers for Dan Robinson, Anthony Murphy for Pa Mccarthy.
KILLARNEY CELTIC: Stephen Bartlett, Shane Dennehy, Brian Spillane, Alex Courtney, Eoin O Connell, Padraig O'connor, Stephen Hayes, Jamie Spillane, Stephen Devane, Peter Mccarthy, Ginatus Paketaurus. Subs: Billy Goulding for Eoin O'connell, Jack O'neill for Shane Dennedy.
REFEREE: Stuart Templemen.