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Monday 16 September 2019

Forth target title

Duncannon hopes diminish after loss

Forth Celtic. Back (from left): Connor King, Kevin Reck, Zack Breslin, Evan O'Connor, Josh Kelly, Christopher Ryan. Front (from left): Rory Devereux, Paul Redmond, James Donnelly, John O'Sullivan and Daragh Brownrigg
Forth Celtic. Back (from left): Connor King, Kevin Reck, Zack Breslin, Evan O'Connor, Josh Kelly, Christopher Ryan. Front (from left): Rory Devereux, Paul Redmond, James Donnelly, John O'Sullivan and Daragh Brownrigg
Josh Kelly (Forth Celtic) is pursued by Alfie Eite (Duncannon)
Rory Devereux (Forth Celtic) and James Nolan (Duncannon) battle for possession

Dean Goodison

Duncannon's hopes of lifting the Wexford and District Schoolboys Soccer Under-12 Division 1A title ended on Saturday, but their conquerors Forth Celtic are potentially just two games from championship glory.

Forth Celtic 4 - Duncannon 1

Both sides came into the weekend harbouring hopes of lifting the trophy come season's end, but a stunning first-half performance from the home side Celtic means just themselves and St. Cormac's are still in the race.

Duncannon won the corresponding home fixture, a defeat that remains Forth Celtic's only loss of the season to date.

They set about putting that result right from the off as Rory Devereux hared down the wing and crossed for Darragh Brownrigg whose shot was saved by Finn McLoughlin.

As the game settled into a pattern, Celtic looked strong along the back as they went searching for their third clean sheet of the season.

In midfield Kevin Reck and Evan O'Connor were pulling the strings and always trying to release the lightning-fast Rory Devereux.

It was O'Connor who created the opener when his cross to the back post fell perfectly for the attacker and Devereux was as cool as you like, converting from outside the six-yard box.

Alfie Eite saw a shot well saved by James Donnelly at the other end but Celtic soon had their second when Josh Kelly's corner was volleyed to the net by Devereux from the right of the penalty spot.

Another O'Connor pass saw Devereux control brilliantly and shoot home his hat-trick goal in the 21st minute before John O'Sullivan darted away from the Duncannon defence and made it 4-0 just before the interval.

There seemed no way back for United at the break but a re-shuffle, which saw Joe McPhillips and Stephen McGrath come on in defence, really tightened up the visitors' back four.

Josh Keating's ball into the penalty area caused panic for the Celtic defence ten minutes into the second-half and Colum Fitzgerald profited by poking past Donnelly to make it 4-1.

Duncannon continued to press and went close through Eite twice, and through the lively Peadar O'Connor, but Celtic held on for a crucial victory.

Forth Celtic still have to play Courtown, who have yet to pick up a point this season, so it's likely the league will come down to a the remaining fixture between themselves and current leaders St. Cormac's to decide the destination of the title.

Star man - Rory Devereux (Forth Celtic): Small in stature but couldn't be contained by Duncannon in a first-half that saw him claim a classy hat-trick.

Forth Celtic: James Donnelly (capt.); Paul Redmond, Connor King, Zach Breslin, Conor Monaghan; Josh Kelly, Kevin Reck, Evan O'Connor, John O'Sullivan; Rory Devereux, Darragh Brownrigg. Subs. - Josh Reed for Brownrigg (51), Christopher Ryan for Monaghan (53), also Josh Doyle.

Duncannon United: Finn McLoughlin; Jack Moore, Jack Murray, Mark Whitty, James Nolan; Jamie Foley, Dion Donnelly, Josh Keating, Colum Fitzgerald (capt.), Calum Gamble; Alfie Eite. Subs. - Peadar O'Connor for McLoughlin (31), Joe McPhillips for Moore (31), Stephen McGrath for Nolan (31), Ciarán McPhillips for Gamble (40), also Alex Amos.

Referee: Noel O'Connor.

Wexford People