26th October, Watters Lane
NECSL U16 Premier Division
Parkvilla 2-3 Trim Celtic
Trim Celtic were crown champions again after entertaining title decider match away to Parkvilla.
The game had a cup match feeling to it as both sides started the match knowing that a win would seal the league title. Celtic only needed a draw to bring it their final match at home to Kingscourt.
Celtic went into the game without their inform and influential midfielder Kris Gorman. However, they started the brighter and had 6 corners inside the opening minutes as they looked to take an early lead. However, it was the home side that took the lead against the run of play as the ball skidded off the surface following a long range effort. Celtic’s keeper Glenn Prendergast could only parry it out and the Parkvilla forward reacted the quickest to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Celtic continued to press but failed to convert their chances after some excellent set pieces from Joey Cole. On the stroke of half time, James Molloy rifled an excellent long range effort off the inside of the post. The rebound hit the back of the keeper and stayed on the line. Celtic were hoping it wasn’t going to be one of those days.
Both sides had chances before Henrique Magno did superbly well to beat 2 defenders on the edge of the box before firing past the Parkvilla keeper to level the tie. However, Parkvilla regained the lead within 5 mins in a pulsating end to end match. As a long cross shot eluded everyone the Parkvilla right winger was on hand to tap in at the back post. The goal sent the home side into wild celebrations as they knew they were back in the driving seat.
However, time and time again, this young bunch of lads from Trim Celtic find an extra gear especially in the big games when it’s needed most. With a never say die attitude, they completely turned the tie within 10 mins. Firstly, after some more excellent work from Henrique Magno on the left he found the hard working Cealain Geraghty unmarked in the box. Cealain made no mistake to put the Celts back on level terms. The goal was a blow to Parkvilla who knew a draw was no good to them. They continued to push for the winner. The Celtic lads dug in and worked harder and threw their bodies at everything with the excellent Joey Cole, Wes Gibbons and Harry Cottrell driving them on. Only when Parkvilla managed to get past the Celtic defence, Glenn Prendergast made an outstanding save onto the post to keep the title alive. With 9 clean sheets in 15 games is easy to see why Glenn is the league’s best keeper.
With 10 minutes remaining and both side looking for the winner, the game was setup for one man, Jared Akigbesote.
Last years top scorer was been out of action for 5 months. He only returned to training this week but was eager to get a run out. But what an impact he made. He was unlucky not to get a penalty with his first touch. A few minutes later, he closed down an attempted clearance by the Parkvilla right full back, gained possession, beat 2 defenders and unleashed an unstoppable 20 yard shot into the far top corner to seal the win and send the current league champions into celebrations. A goal worthy of winning any match and especially one that wins the league title.
A fantastic end to a very competitive League season. As all teams improved where each team is very capable of beating each other, it was just Celtic’s consistency to get the results even when the squad was down to the bare bones with some long term injuries. An excellent achievement from a fantastic bunch of lads.
Man of the Match: Harry Cottrell
Squad: Glenn Prendergast, Sean Tully, Wes Gibbons. (Capt), Harry Cottrell, Blake Gibbons, Joey Cole, Jamie Callan, James Molloy, Henrique Magno, Alan Costello, Cealain Geraghty, Jared Akigbesote, Conor Fay, Henri Devine, Cormac Conroy