Casement miss chance to bag MSL junior title with loss to Douglas Hall

Casement miss chance to bag MSL junior title with loss to Douglas Hall

Jason Hurley, Casement Celtic and Douglas Hall’s Colin Manning during their league game. Picture: Jim Coughlan

Casement Celtic 2

Douglas Hall Athletic 3

CASEMENT CELTIC went into their final game of the Beamish Stout Junior Division against Douglas Hall Athletic with one hand on the league trophy.

Casement were three points clear of their closest rivals Carrigtwohill United and a draw on home turf would have sufficed for the Ballyphehane side.

Casement beat Hall 4-0 in the corresponding game at Moneygourney earlier in the season and they had only lost once in their previous 17 league games so form suggested that Casement would at least get the point they needed and lift the title, but Douglas Hall had other ideas.

The visitors settled into the game quicker than their hosts and 15 minutes in they jumped in front when Adam Hennessy reacted to a short back pass from full-back Craig Murphy and raced through on goal on the right, keeping his cool, before planting the ball into the far corner of the net.

Casement had a lot of possession in the first half, but clearcut chances were scarce.

Michael Lennon got on the end of long delivery from left to right, but the Casement defender drove his shot wide at the far post.

 Niall Kennedy, Casement Celtic and Thomas Murphy in action during the Beamish Stout , Junior Third division game at Casement Park. 	Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Niall Kennedy, Casement Celtic and Thomas Murphy in action during the Beamish Stout , Junior Third division game at Casement Park. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

At the other end a short free kick from Hennessy to Ben Lucey saw him shoot from outside the penalty area which Casement keeper Ryan Delaney saved easily.

Midway through the half a Casement corner from Ian Towler, low into the box, was cleared off the line at the far post and into the air and Casement centre-back David Burke headed over.

Casement were applying a lot of pressure at this point, but with no real threat, while Hall continued to pose a threat of their own in spells one of which saw Lucey play a nice ball in behind the home defence for Hennessy to run on to, but his shot from a tight angle went high and wide.

Just after the half hour mark, Towler got on the end of a ball through the middle and took it around Hall keeper Jack Austin, but didn’t get good contact with his shot under pressure and Austin recover to save.

Five minutes before half-time Casement went close to a leveller with a fine strike from distance by Niall Kennedy which struck the bar and went over.

Casement appeared to be getting a grip on the game as half-time approached, but they were dealt another blow in the dying moments.

Hennessy, man of the match on the night, broke free on the right and was bearing down on goal but unselfishly squared for Fiachra O Luanaigh who had a simple tap-in for a 2-0 lead.

Casement’s Michael Lennon and Jason Hurley and Douglas Hall’s Conor Cronin battle for the ball. 	Picture: Jim Coughlan
Casement’s Michael Lennon and Jason Hurley and Douglas Hall’s Conor Cronin battle for the ball. Picture: Jim Coughlan

Casement started the second half in whirlwind fashion and a goalmouth scramble a minute in produced three chances, all of which were spurned.

They continued to apply the pressure and got their reward in the 51st minute when Towler broke into the box on the right and pulled the ball back for Jason Hurley who tucked it away in the far corner of the net.

The comeback was on, or so it seemed as they went in search of the equaliser. However, they came close to conceding again when Hennessy broke from inside his own half and ran a long way before driving the ball wide at the far post.

It was a warning sign that wasn’t heeded as five minutes late Hennessy, with lots of space on the left, raced clear again; this time he picked out Lucey who was unmarked in the middle and he drove the ball home to restore Hall’s two-goal lead.

Casement upped the tempo again and applied a lot of pressure on the visitors’ defence who had Mick Nolan in top form.

Casement had plenty of chances, but couldn’t find the target, but they were given a lifeline with 10 minutes remaining when a Hall hand struck the ball in the box and Alex Cummins tucked away the resulting penalty.

A late onslaught ensued, but Casement couldn’t find a way through.

Defeat left Casement still in top spot, three points ahead of Carrigtwohill United who had one game to play against Macroom. That game hadn’t taken place at the time of writing, but a win for Carrig would force a play-off with Casement; anything less and Casement would still lift the trophy.

CASEMENT CELTIC: Ryan Delaney, Michael Lennon, Craig Murphy, Alex Riordan, David Burke, Niall Kennedy, Craig Noonan, Jason Hurley, Jason Hooley, Alex Cummins, Ian Towler.

Subs: Scott Hurley for Murphy (h/t), Ryan Towler and Aaron Lennon for Kennedy and Hooley (both 68).

DOUGLAS HALL ATHLETIC: Jack Austin, Kevin Deane, Colin Manning, Sam Gallagher, Andrew Cotter, Mick Bogan, Conor Cronin, Thomas Murphy, Ben Lucey, Adam Hennessy, Mick Nolan.

Subs: Fiachra O’Luanaigh for Cronin (23 inj), Tomas Territt for Manning (58), Adam Garvey for Keane (60).

Referee: Ray Murphy.

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