Celtic through to semi-finals
Senior Soccer Munster Junior Cup Quarter Final - Southend United (Waterford) 0 Killarney Celtic 3
Killarney Celtic made the long trek to Waterford on Sunday and came home in high spirits after a great win over Southend United which sends them through to the semi-final of the competition.
Celtic made very hard work of winning the game as they were by far the better side over the 90 minutes, but were guilty of squandering a whole litany of scoring chances which kept their opponents in the game.
Celtic began with the wind in their sails and went ahead after 10 minutes with a great goal from Gary Keane in his new role as an attacker. It came after superb approach play by a number of players producing a splendid team goal.
Now Celtic were in full flight and they should have doubled their lead in the 25th minute, but Wayne Sparling who was tearing the Southend defence to shreds with his electric pace and turn of foot failed to hit the target. He had another chance four minutes later after being set up by Danny Roche but he was unable to finish it off.
The home side then produced a couple of half chances but Celtic keeper David Spillane made a brace of comfortable saves. Celtic went close to scoring a second goal in the 42nd minute after a penetrating attack when Gary Keane tried to chip the Southend goalkeeper, but he got his calculations slightly inaccurate.
Celtic were the better side in the opening 45 minutes, but going in ahead 1-0 at the interval they knew they needed another goal to establish a more comfortable cushion of safety.
They took up where they left off at the start of the second half and Danny Roche missed a glorious chance in the 46th minute. Two minutes later they squandered another great chance with Gary Keane the culprit on this occasion.
As they continued to mount attacks another chance presented itself but Pa McGrath's header went over the top in the 55th minute. Then Cathal O'Shea got into a great scoring position but he failed to produce the finish he was seeking.
The home side got a free kick just outside the box and luckily for Celtic the shot came off the defensive wall. Celtic got a free kick in a good position in the 70th minute but John McDonagh's effort was over the top and now concern was beginning to creep in that they might regret these misses later in the game.
Another chance came in the 77th minute, but sub Peter McCarthy was unable to find the target. However, the top marksman was not to be denied in the 87th minute when he showed his predatory instincts with a great finish from close range.
Celtic were not finished yet as Chris O'Leary came off the bench to score their third goal in the 90th minute. The man of the match for Celtic was Chris Brady. Celtic will be delighted to advance to the last four in the provincial competition, but they know they will have to brush up on their finishing for this showdown.
This game showed just how versatile a player Gary Keane is as he fitted into his new role up front admirably and scored a great goal. It was nice to see Chris O'Leary makng an appearance as a sub having been out for a long time with an injury.
Celtic now eagerly await the semi-final draw hoping for a home fixture.
Killarney Celtic: David Spillane, Michael Devlin, Brendan Falvey, John McDonagh, Jamie Spillane, Chris Brady, Wayne Sparling, Pa McGrath, Cathal O'Shea, Gary Keane, Danny Roche Subs: Peter McCarthy, Stephen McCarthy, Lee Downing, Chris O'Leary, Gary Vaughan, Jordan Leahy, Conor McCarthy
Southend United: Dylan Power, Chris Raymond, Seamus Byrne, Mark Phelan, Billy Ryan, Shane Power, Jake Mooney, John O'Donnell, Sean O'Loughlin, Niall O'Toole, Joey Twomey