Ardee Celtic 'keeper Stuart Reynolds. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
Tully Cup round four
Ardee Celtic 2-0 Rock Celtic
Ardee Celtic’s Tully Cup run continued at Townparks on Friday night as they sent Louth rivals Rock Celtic crashing out of the competition
Second half strikes from Bryan O’Connor and Ken Thornton proved decisive as the hosts edged a highly competitive game between the NEFL Premier Division pair.
Rock started the match the better without forcing Stuart Reynolds into much action.
And that helped the Deesiders to feel their way into the affair. O’Connor had a penalty claim turned down before Ryan Burns brought the best out of John Rogers in the Rock goal.
Though, right on the stroke of half-time, Reynolds was called into action, saving Fearghal McDonald’s shot with his feet to ensure the match remained scoreless.
And Paudie Gollogley’s side appeared to bring that momentum into the second half, getting on top just before the hour.
However, from one of their attacks, Ardee broke quickly and a vicious strike from Robbie Reynolds flew just over the ‘bar. It was a signal of the winners’ intent, though, and a prelude to the opening goal, scored by O’Connor, whose waist-high shot evaded Rogers.
Rock’s reply was almost instantaneous as poor defending from the hosts gifted them a shooting opportunity, which they were unable to convert.
The pressure continued to build on the Ardee backline and Rock would have been level only for Lorcan Myles pulled off a miracle clearance on the goal-line to prevent substitute David Ward from levelling.
And how crucial an intervention it would prove as, just minutes later, centre-half Thornton fired in the insurance goal for the home team from all of 30 yards.
The teams meet again this weekend where three league points will be at stake. Ardee will go in full of confidence, while Rock may have something to prove.
Ardee Celtic: Stuart Reynolds; Lorcan Myles, Ken Thornton, Niall Sharkey, Robbie Reynolds; Shawni Dowdall, John Bingham, Aaron Roche, Gareth Kane; Bryan O’Connor, Ryan Burns
Subs: Hugh Murphy, Ryan Ward, Lorcan Malone, Tristan Knowles
Rock Celtic: John Rogers; Liam McDonnell, Jason Mok, Shane O’Callaghan, Fearghal McDonnell; Seán Hand, Éanna McArdle, Paddy Reilly, Ed Maguire, Aidan Curtin; Niall Donnelly
Subs: Derek Delany, David Ward, Aaron Casey