Celtic beat Dingle in big 'A' clash
Denny Premier A - Killarney Celtic 2 Dingle Bay Rovers 0
The big Premier A heavyweight clash at Celtic Park on Friday turned out to be a normal early season affair with both sides a bit more restrained than they normally would be in big clashes of this nature between the title contenders.
The game had a decent competitive edge but it lacked the passion of games in which there is more at stake between these arch rivals.
Celtic were unbeaten for the whole season in domestic competitions last season and they could equal that again this season given the very strong panel of players they have.
Under new team manager Dan Maunsell, Dingle are a totally different side to last year and may take a few more games to gel together more cohesively.
They have a lot of new signings and are a young squad that will take time to develop.
Kerry U-17 players James Rusk and Paddy O'Rourke were in the starting line up for the West Kerry side while Irish Youth International and former Brighton and Hove Albion and Worthing defender Rian O'Sullivan also got the start.
Celtic were without a few regulars but they showed what a strong panel of players they have winning this game more comfortably than the final scoreline indicates.
Played in wintery conditions both sides done their best to keep the ball on the deck and served up quite an entertaining game and it was handled very well by referee Seamus O'Mahony.
Celtic were the better side over the 90 minutes but they took a long tome to kill the game off as it was 1-0 until the concluding stages of the game.
Celtic got off to a flying start and went ahead after just 6 minutes after a period of pressure they unhinged the Dingle defence and when Gary Keane was bundled over in the box referee Seamus O'Mahony pointed to the spot.
Danny Roche made no mistake from 12 yards drilling his shot low and hard to the bottom corner of the net
As the half progressed Dingle began to get a better foothold on the game but they were greatly lacking in penetration in the final third of the pitch where play was breaking down regularly with the final lasses going astray.
Dingle's first chance fell to Luke Burgess but his shot from distance missed the target.
Celtic's new left back Sean Maloney was turning defence into attack on a regular basis with his darting runs up the right wing giving the Dingle defence plenty to contend with.
Celtic went close to doubling their lead in the 30th minute but Danny Roche was denied by a great save by Dingle keeper Barry Galvin.
Pa McGrath then created a chance for Roche coming in at an angle his low shot came back off the post and was cleared to safety.
Play then moved down the other end with Joe Sheehy setting up a chance for Adam O'Rourke but his shot was saved by Celtic keeper Robert Osborne.
Dingle forced a couple of corners before half time but they were easily dealt with by the Celtic rearguard.
Celtic made a change at half time with Cathal O'Shea replacing Pa McGrath.
The game got a bit scrappy in the second half with Celtic having a lot of possession but finding it difficult to set up scoring chances.
As the half moved on both sides used their benches and at 1-0 Dingle were still very much in the game.
Their biggest threat was coming from counter attacks and dead ball situations with Joe Sheehy whipping testing balls into the goalmouth.
However they were not getting clear strikes on goal with the Celtic defence rock solid throughout the game.
Gary Keane and Matt Keane were calling the shots for Celtic at midfield and it was an intriguing battle against their opposing duo Joe Sheehy and Luke Burgess who were doing trojan work for Dingle.
Celtic almost got their second goal in the 67th minute but Danny Roche's effort was taken off the line and the rebound was put narrowly wide by sub Cathal O'Shea.
Now Celtic were playing much more cautiously protecting their slender lead but they wrapped up the game in the 88th minute after some excellent approach work by Gary Keane, and Matt Keane the ball was played wide to sub Wayne Sparling who used his speed and craft to get past a number of defenders and he crossed the ball to the inrushing sub Cathal O'Shea who stole in behind the Dingle defence and he volleyed it to the net from six yards.
Celtic were very deserving winners at the end and the jury is still out on Dingles prospects for the season ahead but they are likely to be one of the leading contenders in the title race.
Killarney Celtic: Robert Osborne, Sean Maloney, Shane Brosnan, John Mc Donagh, Stevie O'Mahoney, Matt Keane, Gary Keane, Pa McGrath (Cathal O'Shea, 46 min), Stephen McCarthy (Wayne Sparling, 56 min), Padraig O'Connor, Danny Roche (Conor McCarthy, 75 min).
Dingle Bay Rovers: Barry Galvin, Brian Rayel, Paddy O'Rourke, James Rusk, Rian O'Sullivan, Joe Sheehy, Luke Burgess, Gearoid Sayers, Sean O'Connor (Joe Sayers, 84 min), Adam O'Rourke, Colm O'hEartaoin, Sean Fitzgerald.
Referee: Seamus O'Mahony