Celtic manager Brian Spillane and players Gary Keane and John McDonagh retire after Killarney club retains Cup title against courageous Camp United
GREYHOUND BAR KO CUP FINAL
Killarney Celtic 1
Camp United 0
In a tough, physical, fiercely contested and very entertaining game Killarney Celtic completed a magnificent four-in-a row of Greyhound Bar KO Cup title wins at Mounthawk Park on Wednesday evening after a hard earned victory over Camp United in an exciting and tension-charged game.
It was a clash of contrasting styles with Camp United excelling in the physical side of the game while Killarney Celtic were very patient in the first half, defending sensibly, and they were like a loaded revolver at the ready whenever they got any bit of freedom and put an attack together.
While Celtic came into the game as red hot favourites they had to call on all of their reserves of grit and determination to get the better of a very spirited Camp side that fought very hard right up to the final whistle.
In the end just the one goal separated the teams, Stephen McCarthy’s goal just after the hour mark ensuring Celtic retained the Cup and made a bit oi history with their four in a row.
The game got off to a lively start with both sides sizing up each other and Camp defending deep and trying to hit on the counter-attack any opportunity they got.
Celtic began the game very patiently, keeping the ball as much as they could and defending strongly when they were called upon.
Camp used their physicality to great effect and did not allow Celtic much time on the ball as they got in the tackles to disrupt their opponents and not allow them settle in a rhythm. Both sides were very vocal and tackles went in often and hard, with referee Derek O’Shea steping into the breach when any confrontation took place and dealt with everything calmly.
Killarney Celtic hit Camp on the break in the 15th minute, forcing two corner kicks but they yielded nothing.
Liam Spillane had a shot from distance for Celtic but it was a comfortable save by the Camp goalkeeper Tommy Pierse.
Camp had a great chance to take the lead in the 26th minute when Andrew Finn found a pocket of space inside the Celtic box and his shot was brilliantly saved by Celtic goalkeeper Roy Kelliher before John McDonagh tidied up and got the ball clear.
Coming up to half time Jamie Spillane had a good chance for Celtic but he was denied by a great block by Eamon Hickson, and the teams went to half time scoreless. Camp would have been happy with themselves at the interval as they contained their opponents well and were getting the odd chance also from time to time. However they had burned up a lot of energy keeping Celtic at bay and that would tell before the game was over.
Straight after the restart Camp got a great chance to go ahead when Jason Hickson delivered a great cross-field ball to Donal Crean who recycled the ball for James Crean whose fizzing shot looked destined for the net but Kelliher made a great save.
On the half hour mark Celtic forced a corner kick and a shot from Cathal O’Shea deceived the Camp goalkeeper who was lucky to see the ball hit the upright instead winding up in the net.
As the half moved on Celtic got their rhythm in motion and were perfecting their passing game and beginning to turn the screw on the Camp defence. Lee Downing and Wayne Sparling linked up to produce a chance for Matej Vrljcak but he was unable to keep his header down.
Celtic then went ahead in the 65th minute when a defensive error resulted in a clearance going backwards, leaving Stephen McCarthy through on goal just outside the box, and while he still had a lot to do he kept his composure brilliantly and drilled a low shot to the bottom corner of the net.
Camp, understandably, were a bit deflated but they dug deep and put a few half chances together. However, Celtic went close to extending their lead in the 83rd minute when Wayne Sparling found his brother Terry with a great cross but the latter headed wide.
As Camp tried hard to engineer an equaliser they were caught badly at the back in the 85th minute when Lee Downing was through on goals but was unable to find the net.
A late attack by Camp created a chance for James Scanlon but his shot was parried by the Kelliher for a corner kick that came to nothing.
In a really tense finish Killarney Celtic hearts skipped a beat as the ball was delivered into the goalmouth and both sides getting involved in a game of head tennis but Celtic managed to stem the danger and got the ball out the field again. After this Camp ran out of time and Celtic were deserving winners at the end.
It is no wonder that Killarney Celtic are the best team in the county and they showed all their best attributes in this game. Every time they were tested by a really good Camp team they came up trumps. Camp must be commended for the great effort they made, making Celtic fight really hard for their victory.
It is an end of an era for some of the big names in the Celtic club with team manager Brian Spillane stepping down after the game, as well as two of their best players Gary Keane and team captain John McDonagh. Both players now have a lot of miles on the clock and it is fitting that they retire at this level, but hopefully they will remain involved in the game in some capacity. Keane has been one of Celtic’s best players for the past 20 years and has made a huge contribution to the club over the years. McDonagh also been a great servant of the club.
Brian Spillane has won a large amount of silverware for the club as a player and in more recent years as team manager.
KILLARNEY CELTIC: Roy Kelliher, Liam Spillane, Kevin O’Sullivan, John McDonough, Jamie Spillane, Gary Keane, Wayne Sparling, Cathal O’Shea, Stephen McCarthy (Ryan Kelliher 82), Lee Downing, Matej Vrljcak (Terry Sparling 66).
CAMP UNITED: Tommy Pierce, David Smith, Cian Griffin, Jason Hickson, Gearoid O’Shea, Eamon Hickson, Donal Crean, James Crean, Andrew Finn, Fintan Herlihy, James Scanlon.
Referee: Derek O’Shea