NDSL 12 Premier

Ratoath Harps 1  Castleknock Celtic 2


This was a super win for the Celtic U12 Premier team, coming on the back of last week's difficult game in the Pepsi National Cup against Ardee, which Celtic won with the same score line. 

Celtic had hosted Ratoath on the opening day of the season at Porterstown and with the team still being enlisted, had lost on that occasion. This meant a determined display by Celtic brought the very best out of the players. 

Preparation for the match had started early and after a minute silence for the late, great George Best, the hoops were out of the starting blocks like a light. The team displayed great determination and concentration, with a quality of passing and support play that caught Ratoath Harps by surprise. 

With man of the match performances in most positions, it was fair that Celtic took the lead after 20 minutes. Good ball winning and crisp passing to the right wing by Joe Crampton in midfield saw Conor Fitzpatrick make the Ratoath Harps defence look invisible and supply a quality cross to the box which was aggressively attacked and headed home by Dan Mangan. 1-0 Celtic. 

Ratoath who are having an excellent season were visibly shaken, but the response came from Celtic, who used the goal to galvanise their performance. Their reward came just before half time, when another good cross from the right wing by Conor Fitzpatrick was too hot for the Ratoath keeper to handle and the ever alert Dan Mangan was onto the loose ball to bury it from a tight angle into the back of the net. 2-0 Celtic. 

At half time Ratoath shuffled the pack in response to the strong Celtic performance, but found defensive performances by Eamonn O’Donoghue, Mark Kelly and Olivia Smartt equal to their fresh impetus. Celtic could have stretched the lead with a free kick by Jason Morgan from just outside the box, which was well stopped by the Ratoath keeper. 

Naturally Ratoath began to push on and their pressure paid off when a cross to the back of the box was returned from a disputed dead ball position for their opening goal. 

For the next five minutes however, it was Celtic who showed their conviction by pushing into the gaps opening up in the Ratoath defence and were unlucky not to kill the game off with a third. 

In the closing minutes however, it took a magnificent full stretch save from Celtic keeper Shane McGrath to deny Ratoath a share of the points. 

Every player in the green and white hoops was delighted to reverse the result from earlier in the season and given their individual and collective team performance, were fully entitled to their three points.