Sun 16 Dec 18
Score: 2 - 3
Trim Celtic came up just short in the finale of the NEFL season as Muirvevna Mor retained the Challenge Cup they won in May. A large Trim crowd gathered to cheer on the team but the Dundalk side started brightest and should have scored inside five minutes with a free header from a corner. Soon after they had the ball in the net with a header from a free kick to give them the lead. At the other end Aaron Williams and Eoin O’Connor both had headed half chances at the back post but in truth they were stretching and did well to make contact at all. A superbly timed intervention from Sean FitzGerald denied a Muirhevna Mor striker a shot he looked destined to bury with James Goggins snuffing out a similar chance minutes later. Around the half hour the Trim side hit a purple patch with Colm Carney dropping deeper to pick up the ball and worry the opposing defence. The striker drifted a long range shot just over before being denied a certain goal when his shot inside the box was deflected wide. Deep into injury time Celtic got the goal their pressure deserved as Eoin O’Connor headed home Dean Courtney’s superb free kick. It was to be the last touch of the half and the last touch of the game for the free-scoring defender who did not re-emerge for the second half. Minutes into the second half Celtic took the lead. Courtney was getting joy down the left and one of his superb crosses caused havoc in the box with Aaron Williams reacting brilliantly to fire the ball into the top corner. Celtic’s joy was to be short lived as Muirhevna Mor equalised with a looping header two minutes later. Courtney was having a fine spell and another dangerous cross was foiled by the defenders before an excellent touch saw him race through on goal but he shot into the side netting from an acute angle. The Dundalk side had a spell of their own and took the lead with a fine finish on 66 minutes. Rob Westphal made a smart save from a long-range effort before getting one of his defenders out of jail following a defensive lapse with a fine one on one save. Celtic continued to push and another Courtney free found Robbie Dillon at the back post but he again was stretching and volleyed into the side net. The elusive equaliser looked like it might come from a goal-line scramble but somehow it stayed out and was hacked to safety. Brian Faulkner headed a free kick over before another goalmouth scramble but despite all our lads efforts there was to be no equaliser and Muirhevna Mor held on to claim the cup. Congratulations to Muirhevna Mor who showed fantastic character to bounce back from the disappointment they had during the week. Trim Celtic: Westphal, Leavy, O’Connor, FitzGerald, Goggins, Corcoran, Faulkner, Walsh, Courtney, Williams, Carney. Subs: Robbie Dillon (for O’Connor), Luke Mahon (for Williams), Derek Donohoe (for Corcoran), Scott O’Leary, Anthony Burke, Ciaran O’Connell, Gary Connell.