Martin Moloney Shield Final
Newbridge United FC 2 Old Fort Celtic FC 3
Old Fort Celtic claimed their second trophy of the season on Sunday when they defeated fellow Premier league side Newbridge Rovers FC by the odd goal in five. They did just about enough to claim victory following a late comeback by Rovers.
Newbridge started the game on the front foot and seemed to be the more lively of the two sides, controlling the tempo of the game and creating some chances through some good passages of play. Fortunately for Old Fort none of the Newbridge attempts at goal troubled the keeper too much.
A Newbridge through ball that looked like it was going to be cleaned up by the Old Fort defence resulted in a penalty when Dav Bocotan was brought down and Referee Eddie Sullivan pointed to the spot. Bocotan dusted himself off and sent a rocket of a spot kick to the back of Dean Bland’s net to put the Newbridge men 1-0 up.
This was a wake up call for the Portlaoise men and the midfield trio of Conor Dowling, Lee Carroll-Talbot and Shane Lynch were winning all of their battles both on the ground and in the air which was allowing Old Fort to get further up the pitch and put the Newbridge backline under pressure.
A foul just inside the Newbridge half resulted in a free kick for Old Fort, with Shane Lynch standing over it. It was familiar territory for the midfielder who scored from a similar position a few weeks beforehand and looked like he was going to replicate it but Newbridge keeper Barry Lyons pulled off a great save to keep it 1-0 to United.
Not long after, another free kick for Old Fort saw Lynch’s delivery met by Dowling who placed his header into the bottom corner, out of reach of Lyons and drawing things level.
Newbridge looked to come back into the game but the Old Fort backline of Tyler Dempsey, David Costigan, Eoin Carroll and Jamie Preston were shutting down any attack with Dean Bland quick off his line to clean up any ball that was played through the back line.
Not long before the half Old Fort were forced into a change with Liam Brown coming on for the injured Jamie Preston. Some more good work by the Old Fort backline led to a counter attack, with talisman Stewart Brett leading the charge. Brett drove into the box and fired a shot low across goal which was parried by keeper Lyons but only to the foot of Byron Mcguirk who was following up the attack and slotted his shot home to make it 2-1 to Old Fort going into half time.
Old Fort were showing their hunger straight from the start of the second half, chasing down every loose ball. It only took ten minutes for another change in the score line, as a through ball that looked like it had just a little too much on it was mis hit by the Newbridge defender as he tried to clear it and landed in the path of Daryl Ntumba. A calm finish into the bottom corner saw Old Fort take the lead 3-1.
This set back stung Newbridge into action and they really started to manage the game with calm composed passing led by Newbridge skipper Brian Murphy and Glen Bracken, then after a fantastic ball in behind by James Mahony found Midfielder Ryan Kearney to head it over the keeper and bring United back into the game and put the minimum between the sides.
With the scoreline at 3-2 it made for an exciting finish to the game with United pushing for the equalizer with Ryan Kearney coming close with a shot from outside the box rattling the post and really limited Old Fort to the long ball that was easily handled by United’s back line of Cian Quinn , Cian Lynch and Micheal Fitzgerald. In the end Old Fort held firm and the introduction of Brian Smith up top and Scott Coyle in midfield gave Old Fort the energy they needed to see the game out. With the final whistle blowing Old Fort Celtic walked away 3-2 victors, completing yet another double for the club.