9th November, MDL Grounds
NECSL U16 Shield Final
Trim Celtic 3-2 Johnstown
Scorers: Alan Costello 2, Aaron Mc Cormack
Trim Celtic U16 claimed their 2nd trophy this season with a hard fought 3-2 victory over 2019 cup winners Johnstown FC on a windy morning in the MDL.
Celtic started the brighter as they used the wind advantage to attack Johnstown at every opportunity. However, it was Johnstown who took the lead on 14 minutes following a fine passing move which lead to a right wing cross in behind the Celtic back four to the unmarked center forward to tap in. The goal didn’t seem to change the pattern of the game as Celtic continued to press forward with the huge wind advantage.
It only took 5 minutes to draw level. Following another attack, Celtic were awarded a corner. Alan Costello’s excellent delivery from the corner flew straight into the far corner in the windy conditions.
Moments later, another in swinging set piece from Costello’s left foot just flew a yard over to the relief of the keeper.
In typical fashion, Celtic midfield of Joey Cole, Kris Gorman, James Molloy, Alan Costello and Jamie Callan battled for everything as they tried to pin Johnstown in. When on 25minutes, Kris Gorman gained possession but was fouled Alan Costello’s wand of a left foot found the top corner to send the league champions into the lead. It was Costello’s second of the game and moved him joint top scorer for the season along with both Kris Gorman and Henrique Magno.
Johnstown continued to play good football and when they did get past the Celtic midfield, the outstanding Wes Gibbons and excellent Glen Prendergast were on hand to snuff out any danger.
HT: Celtic 2-1 Johnstown
Celtic knew the second half would be a different affair as they adjusted for the windy conditions. The injuried Kris Gorman was replaced by last season’s top scorer Jared Akigbesote as Celtic looked to sit deep and counter attack with pace. A fantastic attitude and effort from last season’s player of the year Kris Gorman as he could barely run in the warmup following an injury midweek. Both Alan Costello and Henrique Magno continued to hold the ball up superbly and were excellent out balls for a defence under huge pressure in the windy conditions. Johnstown continued to play very well and Celtic knew from previous meetings this season they were going to have to battle for everything to claim back to back doubles.
The injured and determined Celtic keeper, Glenn Prendergast played through the pain barrier to make a couple of fantastic saves to keep Johnstown at bay as they pressed for the equaliser. Wes Gibbons continued to lead the back four as himself, Harry Cottrell, Sean Tully and Blake Gibbons threw their bodies at any shots coming in. A fantastic effort from the back 5 and it’s easy to see why they are the foundation of this team’s success.
Aaron Mc Cormack replaced the hard working Jamie Callan with 20 minutes to go. Aaron had already scored in two previous meetings against Johnstown this season and the Celtic management were keen to get him involved. And with 10 minutes remaining, a Johnstown attack was intercepted by the excellent powerhouse Joey Cole who then had the vision to pick out the onrushing Aaron Mc Cormack with a pinpoint ball over the top. Aaron controlled the ball superbly and it allowed him the time to relax and he had the composure to beat the keeper with an excellent low shot into the bottom corner to put the Celts 3-1 up with 10 minutes remaining.
The game took a nasty turn as an off the ball incident resulted in a red card for a Johnstown player. However, overall the final and all other matches this season have always been played fairly by two excellent and competitive teams. And credit to Johnstown, even with the 10 men they continued to attack and they scored an excellent second goal following a fine strike from the edge of the box to give the Celtic keeper no chance.
Celtic brought on both Conor Fay and Conor O’Hare for the excellent James Molloy and Alan Costello and both men had chances to extend the lead. It was Conor O’Hare first taste of action following a 10 month lay off following a nasty leg break in an SFAI against Bohemians earlier in the year. Conor and his left foot will be an excellent addition to the team next season and it’s great to see him back.
The ref blew the whistle on what was the final game of the season for the outstanding young men from Celtic. Captain Wes Gibbons collected the Shield in what has become a habit for the serial winners.
Successful back to back doubles in a very competitive and improving league.
This season outstanding achievements when the team lost all of their attacking players from last season has been extra special. A total of 73 goals taken out of the team as a result of long term injuries and other sports. But with some excellent additions in Glenn Prendergast, Jamie Callan, Henrique Magno and Conor Fay added to a winning mentality, hard work and never say die attitude this team continued to deliver top performances on a consistent basis. A well deserved League and shield double.
Commiserations to Johnstown FC on the day. The cup winners will undoubtedly be a force next season.
Glenn Prendergast, Sean Tully, Wes gibbons, Harry Cottrell, Blake gibbons, Joey Cole, Jamie Callan, James Molloy, Kris Gorman, alan Costello, Henrique Magno, Jared Akigbesote, Aaron Mc cormack, Conor fay, Conor o hare
Man of the match: Wes Gibbons