The MDL Premier Division title race is down to a three way shoot-out following Duleek’s 1-0 win over Rock Celtic at the Tollstone on Sunday afternoon.
The result leaves both clubs level on 42 points but Duleek have a game in hand on the Seasiders. Both sides, though, still trail by one point behind defending champions Woodview Celtic who still have both Rock and Duleek to play so this title race is going down to the wire.
Rock, who were playing their third game in a week, came up against a strong swirling breeze in the first half on a playing surface that did their crisp passing style no favours but they went close to opening the scoring on 25 minutes.
Paddy Quinn sent David Ward through with just Tommy Melia to beat but the former Dromin United goalkeeper made a terrific save to keep the game scoreless.
The visitors were enjoying the majority of possession and they carved open a couple of further opportunities with Derek Delany and Gerard McSorley going close as they worked hard to make the breakthrough.
With the first half two minutes into stoppage time the crucial - and only - score of the match arrived. Paul Mantando swung in a left wing delivery to the Rock back post which saw Cormac McArdle and goalkeeper John Rogers hesitate and they paid the ultimate price as Paddy Coates arrived on the blind side to power a header to the back of the net.
The second half saw the Rock take the game to Duleek as they chased an equaliser and midway through the half Ward, having been played in by Delany, was denied by a brilliant goal-line clearance by Ray Hamilton while at the other end a terrific block tackle by Ross Quigley denied Tony Grant a clear sight of goal.
With ten minutes to go, after a bout of continuous pressure, the visitors were awarded a free-kick following a foul on Ward just outside the Duleek penalty area.
Up stepped Nathan Murphy to try his luck but his curling free-kick smacked an upright with Melia flat-footed and in the ensuing scramble McSorley managed to get a toe poke on the ball but once again the goalbound effort was cleared to safety and with it went the Seasiders’ chances of getting something from the game.
ROCK CELTIC: John Rogers, Ross Quigley, Sean Watters (Nathan Murphy), Paddy Reilly, Cormac McArdle (Conor McDonnell), Mark McGeown (Chris Ward), Paddy Quinn, Paul Gore, Gerard McSorley, Derek Delany, David Ward.
q Rock beat Trim Celtic 4-0 at Sandy Lane on Wednesday night at Sandy Lane. Two goals in the first ten minutes from David Ward and Gerard McSorley set the home side on their way and Ward added second goal before the in form Paddy Quinn completed the scoring late on.