AUL Division 1 Sunday
Mourne Celtic FC – 6 (Hess x2, Miley x2, Coleman, Wynne)
Villa Celtic FC – 3 (Ward x2, Norris)
Mourne came out on top today against Villa in a goal-filled battle of the Celtics.
A purple patch either side of half-time secured the three points for the home side, who finished with nine men, on a blustery Easter Sunday morning in Skerries.
The Coolock side began the game on top and a powerful Stephen Ward shot was well blocked by Mourne netminder Jackie Scott following a clever Darren Langan cutback. Soon after, Glen Smyth saw a header flash wide from a Gary Smyth corner.
After eleven minutes Villa grabbed the opening goal their early dominance merited when defender Paul Dempsey knocked down a floated free kick and it fell to Ward who stabbed home.
Mourne Celtic had an opportunity to equalise almost immediately when Billy Hess raced through down the left, but the striker could only curl his shot over the bar from inside the box.
The away side retook control and Ward almost had a second with a looping header from the edge of the box after a gorgeous outside-of-the-foot cross from Vincent Norris, however the ball just didn’t dip in time – much to the relief of the backpedaling Scott.
Norris then had an effort of his own, a half-volley on the turn, fly over before the Skerries side stormed into match with a well-worked goal after twenty-five minutes. After an incisive run down the left side, Stephen Coleman sent in low cross that was left by Kevyn Miey for his strike partner Hess who calmly side-footed home from ten yards out.
Their tails up, Mourne almost had a second from the restart when Hess charged down a pass back but David McMahon in the Villa goal was eventually able to get the ball clear.
The North Fingal team however were not to be denied and took the lead on the half-hour mark when Hess released Coleman inside the box and the winger rifled home a left footed shot into the far corner.
The lead was short-lived though, and Villa pegged their hosts back after a mix-up in the Mourne box, presenting the ever-dangerous Ward with the simple task of rolling the ball into the empty net.
To their credit, the home side did not let their heads drop and a slicing run from Hess after forty minutes allowed him to feed Miley in the box, but the striker could not generate any power on his shot – although his best was still to come.
Right before half-time Miley artfully controlled a low kickout and, spotting the ‘keeper off his line, delicately lobbed McMahon with a sumptuous side-footed volley from all of thirty-five yards which sent the Skerries outfit into raptures.
3-2 at the break, Villa came out of the traps quickly in the second half, and Ward almost had his hat-trick only to see his header from a Langan cross clip the outside of the post.
McMahon then had to be alert to take the ball of Hess’s toes as the Mourne frontman raced onto an inviting through ball.
Ward would have a shot from an acute angle stopped by Scott in the Mourne goal before the home side grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck.
First, on fifty-five minutes, a jinking Seamus Farrell run ended in a driven cross that was only half cleared and fell to captain Aaron Wynne who diverted the ball home in off the post to give the hosts a two-goal cushion.
Then, just three minutes later, Farrell collected a long Paddy Joyce throw-in and, after turning his man, was tripped for a penalty. Miley stood forward to take the spot kick and sent the keeper the wrong way, rolling the ball into the bottom left corner for Mourne’s fifth.
Seemingly cruising, the home side were then dealt a blow on the hour mark as defender Jonny Boyers was given his marching orders for an off-the-ball incident.
Capitalising on their numerical advantage, Villa began to get on top and Ward was released one-on-one but the big striker blazed his powerful shot over the bar.
With fifteen minutes to go, Mourne hit back with a sucker-punch. A quick counter saw Coleman send the ball into no-man’s-land and Hess turned on the afterburners to knock the ball past the onrushing McMahon and tap the ball home.
Villa kept fighting and pulled a goal back after eighty minutes when Norris curled home a delightful shot into the top corner from the edge of the box.
The final ten minutes were a backs-to-the-wall job for Mourne as they went down to nine men following the dismissal of Joyce for a second bookable offence. The seasiders however put their bodies on the line and Cian Archibold bravely blocked a Ward effort after the Villa striker had gotten past the keeper.
Langan especially threatened for the visitors throughout this period and the midfielder thought he had the reward his effort deserved when he slammed home a low Gary Smyth cross – but the goal was ruled out for offside and Mourne saw out the remainder of the match to take the three points..
Mourne Celtic FC: Jackie Scott, Jonny Boyers, Luke McKenna, Conor McKenna, Cian Archibold, Paddy Joyce, Aaron Wynne, Stephen Coleman, Seamus Farrell, Billy Hess, Kevyn Miley. Substitutes: Stephen Lawless, Jay Brady.
Villa Celtic FC: David McMahon, Paul Dempsey, Cormac Doherty, David Sullivan, Kevin McDonald, Gary Smyth, Darren Langan, Glen Smyth, Gary Fitzgerald, Stephen Ward, Vincent Norris. Substitutes: Peter Goslin, James O’Dwyer, Chris Reilly