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SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Celtic triumph in semi-final thriller

Lakewood 2

Knocknaheeny Celtic 3

Nathan Broderick’s goal in injury time proved decisive as Knocknaheeny Celtic ran out 3-2 winners in a hard-fought semi-final of the Mossie Linnane league cup against Lakewood at Ovens.

This one was full of blood sweat and tears as both sides went flat out to try and win what was really a crunching contest.

From the goalkeepers up to their front-lines, we saw every player fully committed and as a result, the attendance was treated to a real cup spectacle.

With both sides exploding into the action at full throttle, it was only a matter of time before we saw the first opportunity and it arrived for Lakewood when a ball over the top fell nicely for Billy Mullins, but the striker hurried his effort and fired straight at the Knocknaheeny keeper.

Minutes later, Knocknaheeny’s defence were slow to push out which allowed Mullins another chance, but he failed to get his shot away with the necessary conviction.

At the other end, a terrific effort with a free kick from Gareth Cambridge had Sean Blake working to collect at the second time of asking.

Lakewood came so close after that when John Higgins’ glancing header forced Graham Murphy into making a super save at the far post.

But what an opener we saw after that when Cambridge’s rifling strike from a free kick whistled into the top corner in the 15th minute.

Lakewood responded immediately when Forde played in Kenny Murphy, but Anthony Kent came up with the goods when it came to producing an excellent tackle at the expense of a corner.

Knocknaheeny Celtic doubled their advantage soon afterwards when Daniel O’Donoghue’s cross reached Wayne Leary to guide home on the half-hour.

A good chance then fell for Lakewood when Forde’s cross came into the path of Mullins, but he skewed wide of the target.

Murphy was in action then when he had to get his body behind a forceful effort by Barry Lordan.

Lakewood continued to press and just before the break, Mullins presented Niall Allen with a half chance, but he fired his first time effort over.

Lakewood were not out of this tie at all yet and as the second half got under way, Kenny Murphy produced a fine run before drilling agonisingly wide of the far post.

And they were right back in the hunt once again when Forde picked out John Higgins who helped on for Niall Allen to steer home Lakewood’s first on the hour.

The home side were in full flight now and Graham Murphy did ever so well to get behind an effort from Higgins after he latched on to a clearance from a corner.

Forde was now looking impressive in the centre as Lakewood continued to knock on the door.

And their equaliser arrived in the 74th minute, but was helped by atrocious marking at the back from Knocknaheeny Celtic when Shane O’Byrne was able to pick out John Higgins who was all alone in the box to steer home his side’s equaliser and make it game on with just 16 minutes to go.

Knocknaheeny Celtic found themselves having to really dig in now as they watched in relief to see Shane O’Byrne’s shot-cum-cross whistle narrowly wide of the far post.

But, the North side outfit showed true grit when it came to the fight in the trenches and were rewarded handsomely in injury time when Patrick O’Sullivan’s cross reached Nathan Broderick who helped home under the body of Sean Blake to send the Knocknaheeny Celtic followers into an ecstatic state.

Soon afterwards, referee Dan Deady brought closure to what was an epic semi-final.

Lakewood: Sean Blake, John Rice Madden, Barry Lordan, Colin Moore, Bryan Kelly, Niall Allen, John Higgins, Dave O’Callaghan, Billy Mullins, Eoin Forde, Kenny Murphy.

Subs: Shane O’Byrne for Billy Mullins (71).

Knocknaheeny Celtic: Graham Murphy, Anthony Kent, Mark Cambridge, John Paul Long, Nathan Broderick, Patrick Sullivan, Gareth Cambridge, Wayne O’Leary, Daniel O’Donoghue, Shane Blake, Eddie Madigan.

Subs: Wayne Doherty for Shane Blake (25), Ross O’Callaghan for Eddie Madigan (60), Roy Kenny for Wayne O’Leary (73).

Referee: Dan Deady.