Sunday 9 December 2018

Liam's left seals it!

Forth Celtic 'B' 4 Gorey Celtic 'B' 3

Reuben Lafferty of Forth Celtic nicks the ball away from Gorey Celtic’s Ryan Callaghan
Reuben Lafferty of Forth Celtic nicks the ball away from Gorey Celtic’s Ryan Callaghan

Jason Goodison

Forth Celtic will thank the sweet left foot of Liam Donoghue for keeping their title hopes alive as they edged out Gorey Celtic in an enthralling Wexford and District Schoolboys League Under-14 Division 2A game in Murrintown on Saturday.

It was Donoghue's precision on set-pieces which saw him involved in all four Forth goals, scoring two himself and creating two.

Starting the day six points behind their rivals, with a game in hand, and eight behind leaders Killenagh, whom they had played three games less than - Forth Celtic knew their fate still rested in their own hands, but nothing less than a win would be good enough if they were to still compete for the title.

The travelling Gorey side dominated the early stages and took first blood.

A tidy Evan Duffy controlled a high ball before supplying Tomás Mythen.

Mythen slipped one through the defence for James McGraynor who finished past the onrushing 'keeper.

Prior to the goal, Mythen and McGraynor had both seen efforts fly wide, and what happened next seemed to come completely against the run of play.

Forth gained what looked to be a fairly inconspicuous free-kick about 40 yards out from goal and Donoghue let fly, catching an unsuspecting Kyle Gammell off his line and levelling the tie on the 23-minute mark.

Moments later, they had the ball in the net again. This time Donoghue sent a free from a very similar location into the box which was finished on the volley by Josh Whitty.

In what was certainly a whirlwind closing 15-minute period at the end of the first-half, each team made the net bulge once more.

A deflected ball over the top allowed McGraynor to race in and flick over Harry Quirke in the Murrintown net to level, before the home side regained the lead on the stroke of half-time.

Another Donoghue free into the penalty area was this time half-volleyed home by Lewis Martin.

The second-half was admittedly quieter. Gorey had the majority of the chances but McGraynor failed to complete his hat-trick with a number of missed opportunities.

A lot of credit must go to goalkeeper Quirke, who was outstanding in denying McGraynor and his team-mates.

They did eventually get the equaliser which would have been enough to keep them in prime position, as McGraynor and Duffy linked up well before the latter dinked the ball over Quirke.

But there was to be one last twist two minutes from time, when Chris Stedmond was judged to have fouled Alfie Jeffers in the box.

There was little surprise when Donoghue stepped up to send the 'keeper the wrong way and open up the title race.

Forth Celtic: Harry Quirke; James Dunne, Josh Whitty (capt.), Paul Coggins, Cian Rossiter; Conor Mullan, Thomas Connick, Aodhán Collins, Reuben Lafferty; Lewis Martin. Subs. (rolling) - Alfie Jeffers, Liam Donoghue, Aaron O'Brien, Josh Cooney, Calum McClean.

Gorey Celtic: Kyle Gammell; Noah Maher, Dylan Nash, Chris Stedmond, Jack White; Daniel Ennis, Tiernan Black, Tomás Mythen, Ross Kavanagh; Evan Duffy, James McGraynor. Subs. (rolling) - Billy Trafford, Jamie Kinch, Ryan Callaghan.

Referee: Stephen Burke.

Gorey Guardian