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Killarney Celtic see off Castleisland to claim quarter-final berth


Killarney Celtic are through to the quarter-finals of the KO Cup Photo by Brendan Moran / Sportsfile

Killarney Celtic are through to the quarter-finals of the KO Cup Photo by Brendan Moran / Sportsfile

Killarney Celtic are through to the quarter-finals of the KO Cup Photo by Brendan Moran / Sportsfile



Castleisland 1

Killarney Celtic 2

While Castleisland were disappointed not to make the Premier A League final being pipped at the post by Killarney Athletic they had an opportunity to have a crack at the Premier A League Champions Killarney Celtic at Georgie O’Callaghan Park on Saturday afternoon in the last 16 of the Greyhound Bar Cup.

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Castleisland are always a great cup side so Killarney Celtic knew they would have to perform to their very best to defeat the home side. It turned out to be a terrific cup tie that providing plenty of entertainment as well of passages of some very good football by both sides.

Of course, Killarney Celtic were hot favourites going into the game so the home side had nothing to lose and Castleisland boss Edmond had his own game plan to try and upset the odds.

The game was played in very testing conditions with constant rain and wind but both sides rose to the occasion admirably and provided an excellent contest that hung in the balance right up to the very end.

Both goalkeepers had to be on guard early in the game with Castleisland keeper Steven Bartlett doing well to hold onto a Wayne Sparling shot while at the other end the pitch Roy Kelliher made a decent save to deny Colin McCarthy.

By now Celtic had moved into top gear and were putting some very penetrating attacks together.

Terry Sparling had a good chance to put his side ahead but he put his shot wide when he should have hit the target. Celtic had a glorious opportunity of going ahead in the 13th minute when a handball in the Castleisland box produced a penalty kick.

The spot-kick, which was taken by Steven McCarthy but it was superbly saved by Castleisland goalie Steven Bartlett and this greatly boosted the confidence of the home side.

However, things took a downturn turn for the home side three minutes later after great build up play Terry Sparling put Celtic ahead with a great finish from just inside the box. 

The same player was in the thick of the action shortly afterwards when he latched on to a long clearance by Roy Kelliher, but Steven Bartlett had his bearings calculated accurately and came out of goals to deal with the situation.

Just before the break Liam Spillane made a great run from midfield for Celtic taking on defenders on his patch, but he was unable to finish from a tight angle. Castleisland must have been pleased with themselves at the break just a goal in arrears and the game was still wide open.

Castleisland made a change for the second half with Freddie Galway replacing Kieran Griffin and they began on the front foot and started to make the Celtic defence earn their keep.

After a period of sustained pressure they equalised in the 65th minute with a great strike by Eamon Nolan which put the game into the melting pot.

Now the tension mounted and as tackles went in from all angles by both sides referee John Ross had to brandish a few yellow cards to restore order.

Celtic went close to regaining the lead on a couple of occasions and as the game progressed it appeared that it might take extra time to decide the issue.

However everything changed in the blink of an eye in the 75th minute when Celtic put a few good passes together and when the ball landed invitingly for Jamie Spillane outside the box he hit it on the volley from 25 yards and his bullet of a shot gave the Castleisland goalkeeper no chance and was a goal worthy to win any game at it was sheer class.

Castleisland threw caution to the wind after this as they tried to engineer an equaliser but Celtic slowed the game to their own pace winding down the clock and they won the game on merit at the end.

So Celtic progress to the quarter-final and they will take a lot of stopping to deny them a league and cup double.

At present no side in Kerry can match Celtic and they are looking good to add further silverware to their souvenir cabinet before the season concludes.

While this game brought down the curtain on Castleisland’s season they must have been pleased to put their opponents to the pin of their collar to win the game and if they can strengthen their squad a bit they can look forward with optimism for the new season.

CASTLEISLAND FC: Steven Bartlett, Shane O’Connor, Padraic O’Connor, Michael Walsh, Aiden O’Callaghan, Kieran Griffin, Colin McCarthy, Timmy Walsh, Eamom Nolan, Jason Brennan, Stan Devane, Josh Horan, Alex Kepp, Freddie Galway, Kevin Moroney

KILLARNEY CELTIC: Roy Kelliher, Liam Spillane, John Mc Donagh, Jamie Spillane, Gary Keane, Wayne Sparling, Terry Sparling, Steven McCarthy, Lee Downing, Matej Vrljicak.

Ballyheigue Athletic 0

Fenit Samphires 3

Premier B champions Fenit Samphires advance to the quarter-final after a comfortable win over Ballyheigue Athletic. Billy Walsh, Richard Burke and Ger McCarthy scored for the winners. They will face Mainebank in the quarter-final.


Castlegregory A v Killorglin A

Killarney Celtic B v Lisard Wanderers or CSCB

Castleisland B v Tralee Dynamos A

Iveragh Utd v Mastergeeha A or Dingle Bay Rovers

Camp Utd v Killarney Athletic A or Ballymac Celtic

Castleisland A v Killarney Celtic A

Fenit Samphires v Mainebank FC

Listowel Celtic A v Castlemaine Utd