Corkbeg FC

Corkbegs First Game Of 2018 Ends In Defeat

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Corkbeg were beaten 2-1 by a strong Pearse Celtic ‘B’ team in AULDiv1A on an atrocious Sunday morning in Mayfield. The game was switched to Mayfield Uniteds All-Weather facilty, as Celtics pitch in Lehanaghmore was unplayable and both teams served up an entertaining 90 minutes, despite the awful weather conditions.

Pearse are worthy title challengers this season and were quick into their stride. They should have taken an early lead, when Eric Hayes found Keith McCarthy unmarked after 3 minutes, but the striker somehow missed the target from 10 yards. But only three minutes later, McCarthy made amends for his miss and fired a low shot from 20 yards that found a way past Eric Higgins for an early lead for the city team. Corkbeg were in danger of being over-run in the opening exchanges and McCarthy broke the offside trap again after 12 minutes, but this time Eric Higgins produced a stunning stop to turn the ball over the crossbar.

But, that save galvanised Corkbeg and they soon found their feet, beginning to press the Pearse Celtic defence and have chances off their own. In fact, aided by the strong breeze, Corkbeg dominated the remainder of the opening half, with Shane Bennett, Dylan O Neill & Ozzy Mombo all looking dangerous. Jordan Ryan & Colin Horgan both went close for Corkbeg, before Shane Bennetts curling shot was brilliantly saved by Pearse goalkeeper Johnathan Murray; somehow getting a hand to a ball that looked destined for the top corner. On the half hour, Corkbeg were level. A good move involving Ozzy Mombo and Tom Smyth, saw Jordan Ryan pounce on a defensive error to slot past Murray for the equaliser. Corkbeg continued to dominate for the remainder of the half and might have taken a half time lead, but Fred Wenham badly shanked his shot wide from 18 yards after Jordan Ryans pass.

Corkbeg might have also led early in the second half, when Colin Horgans great through-ball found Fred Wenham, but his shot from ten yards cleared the crossbar. This was as good as it got in the second period for Corkbeg and as the wind & rain got heavier, so did the pressure from Pearse Celtic. Pearse laid siege to the Corkbeg goal for the next twenty minutes, with Eric Hayes, Stuart Morrissey & Keith McCarthy at the centre of all their good work and substitute Dave O Connell making a big difference. Eric Higgins made a brave block at Hayes feet and Tom Smyth took a McCarthy shot of the line. Shots whizzed past the Corkbeg goal and a lead goal looked only a matter of time for the city side. There was some heroic defending from the Beg, with Ian Casey, Colin Horgan, Alan Horgan, Tom Smyth & Stephen O Halloran all putting in huge shifts. Corkbeg were reduced to ten men with 25 minutes remaining, when Colin Horgan received his second yellow card for a last gasp challenge on Hayes. But two minutes later, it was even-steven again, when Danny Moore saw red for Pearse for an off-the-ball incident.

The second half pressure from Pearse Celtic finally paid off with twenty minutes left, when Wayne O Donovans header from a corner, was headed home by Keith McCarthy for his second goal of the game. It was no more than they deserved. Corkbeg huffed and puffed after this and threw caution to the wind for the final ten minutes with Alan Horgan & Steve O Halloran really pushing on, but could not break down a very well marshalled Pearse back line, despite the best efforts of Shane Bennett & Dylan O Neill. Pearse almost put the icing on the cake late on, when substitute Alan Harte bore down on goal, but once again, Eric Higgins saved well, before McCarthy rolled home the rebound from an offside position.

Despite the loss, this was a hard-working and spirited performance from Corkbeg on a morning where conditions made life very difficult against a really good side who are certainly one of the favourites to lift the league title.

Corkbeg: E. Higgins, A. Horgan, T. Smyth, I. Casey, C. Horgan, S. O Halloran, J. Ryan, D. O Neill, S. Bennett, O. Mombo, F. Wenham. Subs: M. Collins, P. O Reilly

Pearse Celtic: J. Murray, D. Moore, E. Harrington, W. O Donovan, J. Keegan, S. O Connor, A. Pender, J. Crean, S. Morrissey, K. McCarthy, E. Hayes. Subs: D. O Connell, A. Harte, S. O Leary, J. McCarthy, B. Conroy