Celtic fail to stop mighty Mark

Celtic fail to stop mighty Mark

11 April 2018

BALLYVEA cooked up a sizzling second half storm to book their place in the SportLoMo Harry Clarke Cup final and leave Celtic Bhoys floundering at a windy and bitterly cold Bignian Park on Friday night.

In a thoroughly entertaining affair, Celtic took an early first half lead through Stevie Galbraith, but they got lost in the mist after the break and goals from William Glenny, a ‘worldy’ from Mark Burden and a third from Philip Dodds sealed the deal.

Galbraith, Celtic’s most potent performer on the night, added a second in added time, but it came too late for Stephen Torney’s side, who were also beaten in the semi-finals of the Bobby Dalzell Cup by Ballynahinch Olympic at the same venue back in December.

Ballyvea started with intent and a long  ball from Mark McConnell in the first minute picked out Burden, who was playing in a more familiar attacking role, but the big striker failed to get a great connection on his shot and Nathan Curran had an easy save to make.

Celtic retaliated quickly in a surprisingly free-flowing game and two minutes later Marty Robinson released Marc Feenan, but he was off target with a well-struck shot.

With 18 minutes gone a headed back pass from Ciaran McGarrity fell short of Curran, but neither Robert Stevenson or Burden were able to take advantage, the latter’s shot turned round the post by the Celtic custodian for a corner.

There is no doubt that Celtic were dominating, but chances were hard to come by. Galbraith had a shot saved in the 18th minute before the same player beat the offside trap after he was ‘played on’ and the lethal finisher made no mistake with an angled drive that beat David Fitzpatrick all ends up.

The lead was no more than Celtic deserved and now was the time to go for the kill, but Ballyvea were not for rolling over.

With 23 minutes gone Burden, who roamed all over the front line, could only find the side netting after good approach play from Alan Chambers.

Five minutes later Curran saved well from Mark McConnell as Ballyvea continued to threaten on the break. Celtic just couldn’t find the insurance goal as Caolain Boyd headed a deft Galbraith cross over the top and the latter had a shot saved after another good run.

These misses were to prove costly.   

Ballyvea hadn’t finished with the first half just yet and Burden really should have equalised in the 45th minute when he was gifted the ball in the box with only the ‘keeper to beat, but he was again denied by Curran.

The second half saw Celtic push for the insurance goal and Robinson wasn’t far away after Galbraith created the opening. Boyd was also off target with a speculative effort in the 52nd minute, but Celtic were starting to withdraw into a shell leaving Galbraith and Boyd isolated. 

Ballyvea sensed Celtic’s frustration at this stage and with Chambers pulling the strings, they assumed control and three goals in a magical 12 minute spell had the Hoops in the horrors.

With 63 minutes gone Burden was given the time to pick out Glenny, coming from deep and he beat Curran with a neat finish.

It was 2-1 seven minutes later and what a goal it was. Celtic’s central defenders failed to deal with a bouncing ball inside the centre circle and Stevenson was able to poke it in the direction of Burden, who was again unmarked.

The big striker had only one thing on his mind and from from fully 40 yards out caught Curran off his line with an audacious effort that flew into the back of the net.

Burden had another strike saved by Curran as Celtic struggled on the ropes and with 75 minutes played Dodds made it 3-1 after Chambers and Stevenson had combined in the middle of the park.

Celtic managed to reduce the arrears through Galbraith in the 90th minute, but Ballyvea held on for a brilliant victory. They will now meet the winners of Friday night’s second semi-final between Killough and Ballynagross.

Ballyvea: D Fitzpatrick, M Haugh, K Hanna, G Bennett, D McConnell, P Dodds, M McConnell, A Chambers, R Stevenson, W Glenny, M Burden. Subs: D McConnell, G Stewart, A McConnell, G McKibbin, A Burden.

Celtic Bhoys: N Curran, R Laverty, C McDowell, C McGarrity, M Rice, J Curran, M Robinson, M Feenan, S Galbraith, C Boyd, K Grant. Subs: J Dagens, D Wilson, G Burns, C Laverty, M Burns.