Beaten Ardee switch focus to big cup tie
Soccer: North East Football League Premier Division - Ardee Celtic 0 Trim Celtic 4
Three goals in a five-minute spell coming up to half-time effectively settled this low-key Premier Division game as Ardee Celtic suffered a heavy home defeat at Townparks on Friday night.
The Deesiders made a bright enough start and Shawni Dowdall twice tested the Trim keeper in the opening 14 minutes, with assistance on the second occasion from Bryan O'Connor who provided the pass.
However, an error by Pierce Hawkins led to a free kick for the visitors in the 26th minute and Ardee keeper Declan Butler was forced into a fingertip save to keep the Louth men on level terms.
Another Trim attack resulted in a shot by their winger which flew narrowly wide with the aid of a slight deflection.
Ardee could have gone ahead on the 35-minute mark when Dowdall latched onto a long crossfield ball from Gareth Kane, but he fired straight at the keeper and Trim went straight up the other end to score as their winger got in behind the Ardee full-back before beating Butler with a low shot.
Two minutes later Trim doubled their lead - this time from the penalty spot - and almost immediately Ardee conceded a third goal when a Trim player collected a clearing header from Niall Sharkey and got the better of Butler with another low shot despite the keeper getting his fingers to it.
This being Ardee's final league game of the short season, they had little but pride to play for in the second half and the play was drab for the spectators as both teams battled the wind and rain.
Ryan Burns and Kane tried their luck from long range for the home side, but neither effort troubled the Trim netminder and Burns sent another shot over the bar before Butler was forced into a save with 20 minutes remaining.
Ardee kept plugging away and on 81 minutes another Burns shot zipped off the surface and troubled the away keeper enough for him to drop the ball. However, O'Connor just couldn't react quickly enough to latch onto the rebound.
Ardee lost keeper Butler with injury 20 minutes from time, Hugh Murphy coming into the action and he had to save smartly with his first touch. A superb lob beat him with two minutes remaining to complete the scoring.
Ardee now turn their attentions to their upcoming Tully Bookmakers Cup quarter-final against Premier title contenders Muirhevnamor.
Ardee Celtic: Declan Butler, Lorcan Myles, Pierce Hawkins, Niall Sharkey, Robbie Reynolds, Shawni Dowdall, Kevin Treanor, Aaron Roche, Gareth Kane, Ryan Burns, Bryan O'Connor. Subs: Hugh Murphy, Darren Clarke.