KILLARNEY CELTIC have booked their place in the last 16 of the FAI Junior Cup following a remarkable victory over Newmarket Celtic in Clare on Sunday.
Kerry teams seldom make it beyond the last 32 in junior soccer’s showpiece competition (Celtic last made it this far thirty years ago) and manager Brian Spillane believes his players’ willingness to play possession football was pivotal to their success. “When you come up against the top teams you have to be brave,” he said.
“You have to be able to play soccer. When it was 2-2 we were keeping the ball, we were working triangles, and even when we went 3-2 up with four minutes to go we were still holding onto the ball. There was loads of confidence in the team. We were very brave.”
In a pulsating tie that ebbed and flowed, the boys from Killarney showed great character to come from behind and eventually overcome very strong and highly fancied opposition in Clare champions Newmarket. Spillane certainly wasn’t thrilled when their name came out of the hat. “Before the draw was made Newmarket were one of the teams I just didn’t want to play. Especially away from home - I don’t think they had been beaten there in three years - so I knew it’d be a tough task.”
Indeed Celtic were 11/2 outsiders to prevail on the day and any brave Killarney punters would have feared the worst when Newmarket took a first half lead through Paddy Purcell, the former League of Ireland centre half heading home from a corner.
Celtic responded well, however, and they found themselves on level terms shortly after, last season’s Player of the Year Wayne Sparling latching on to Cathal O’Shea’s pass before firing coolly beyond the home keeper.
It didn’t take long for Sparling to double his tally. This time Gary Keane provided the assist for the talented forward who broke free of the Newmarket defence and lobbed the keeper from outside the box.
A controversial incident ten minutes before half time led to a double red card when Celtic striker Cathal O’Shea apparently got involved in a bust up of sorts with a Newmarket defender. Both players received their marching orders so Celtic will have to plan for the next round without O'Shea and also left back Brendan Falvey who broke his hand during the game.
Confidence was high after the restart but Celtic suffered a major setback on the hour mark when Newmarket were awarded a questionable penalty. Star striker Eoin Hayes duly converted and the sides were level once more.
With the game deadlocked at 2-2 and the final whistle fast approaching it appeared as though extra time was on the cards – but there was still time for one final twist.
Substitute Conor Randall's corner was cleared but the ball made its way back out to him on the wing. At the second time of asking his cross found right back Chris O’Leary who rose highest to head Celtic into the last 16 and send the travelling support into raptures.
Spillane felt those away fans were crucial. “They made a big difference. There were a lot of old heads on the sideline, guys like Frankie Roberts, the two Huggards, Ray Hoctor, Pat O’Neill, Karl McMahon, Noel Brosnan… All the players have huge respect for these fellas and when you see them on the line it raises it another level. Altogether there were about eighty supporters. It was fantastic.”
Celtic can now look forward to the draw for the last 16 and the manager is clear on what they want. “We’ll be looking for a home draw and then try to get to a quarter final,” Spillane said. “The way we’re playing this year and the confidence we have at the moment it’s going to take a good team to knock us out.”
Celtic (4-2-3-1): Roy Kelliher; Chris O’Leary, Jamie Spillane, John McDonagh, Brendan Falvey; Gary Keane, Pa McGrath; Wayne Sparling, Matt Keane, Stephen Hayes; Cathal O’Shea. Subs: Peter McCarthy (for Falvey), Conor Randall (for McGrath), Connall Murphy (for Sparling).
Fossa’s marathon man competes in Vienna
By Sean Moriarty They are a familiar sight on training sessions out the Fossa way, but last weekend two Killarney marathon runners made themselves known in Vienna, Austria. Tony Harty (Fossa) and Seamus Murphy (Milltown and Glencar) train together and travel together to international marathons all over the world. On Sunday they contested the Vienna Marathon […]
By Sean Moriarty
They are a familiar sight on training sessions out the Fossa way, but last weekend two Killarney marathon runners made themselves known in Vienna, Austria.
Tony Harty (Fossa) and Seamus Murphy (Milltown and Glencar) train together and travel together to international marathons all over the world.
On Sunday they contested the Vienna Marathon with Tony recording a personal-best time of 2hrs and 45mins. He finished second in the Over 45 category and 27th overall, while Tony completed the course in 3hrs and 3mins.
“You won’t see one of us without the other,” said Tony.
Niall Thompson of Killorglin was also competing in the event.
Tony is a member of the well-known Harty family of Waterford. His two brothers Phillip and William and sister Rebecca all raced for Ireland.
Tony took up running later than his siblings and contested his first marathon in 2015 when was 39-years-old.
Now 45 he cannot stop running and takes in at least two overseas marathons every year as well as Irish and local events.
“It is all part of the experience,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. Both he and Seamus have previously contested marathons in Barcelona, Valencia and Rotterdam and he intends to return to Spain in early December for another crack at the Valencia event.
He prepared for Sunday’s race by winning overall at the Churchtown 5-mile race in Cork last month and the Antrim Half-Marathon a few weeks ago.
“Vienna was very hot, up to 26 degrees, and lots of people were suffering,” he added. “Vienna was supposed to run in April but it got deferred. We prefer running in cooler conditions. Valencia will be around 10 degrees in December which is ideal.”
Jordan’s new role with St Paul’s
By Sean Moriarty Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club. Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level. The High Jumper then switched […]
By Sean Moriarty
Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club.
Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level.
The High Jumper then switched to track and field and qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics where he made history by becoming the first Kerry athlete to act as a flag bearer for an opening ceremony and lead an Irish team into an Olympic Stadium.
Now back home and preparing for the next Olympics in Paris, he has returned to his first love and will join the backroom staff at the local Division One basketball club ahead of their National League campaign which begins next month.
His father Jarlath Lee is head coach with St Paul’s.
“Jordan is joining us as our strength and conditioning coach,” Jarlath told the Killarney Advertiser.
Meanwhile, Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club National League team will have a distinctive feel to it this year after securing the services of three overseas players it for the season ahead.
The club’s biggest signing is Canadian professional Ben Miller. It was originally hoped that the former two-time Manitoba Player of the Year would play for the local side last season but the pandemic got in the way and the National League was never played. However, he did play two training games this time last year before returning to Canada until travel restrictions lifted.
“He is a good guy, very approachable and very good with the young members,” Jarlath said.
The club has also signed Bulgarian International Emilian Grudov.
The 20-year-old has already represented his home country at U16, 18 and 20 level.
“He is young, athletic and very good offensively,” added Lee.
The returning Lithuanian Dianius Varanaukus completes the club international line up for the 2020/21 season.
Fossa’s marathon man competes in Vienna
By Sean Moriarty They are a familiar sight on training sessions out the Fossa way, but last weekend two Killarney marathon...
Jordan’s new role with St Paul’s
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