Moyne Rangers 0 New Ross Celtic 0
Hosts Moyne Rangers dropped their first points of the season as a spirited New Ross Celtic side came away from Enniscorthy with a deserved draw in this Under-13 Division 1 schoolboys soccer clash on Saturday.
Rangers are brimming with confidence this season after making the cup final last term, while also progressing to the quarter-finals of the S.F.A.I. South-East Under-13 Cup before the Christmas break.
However, they were given all they could handle and more from a tenacious Celtic side which played with incredible heart and determination.
In fact, on another day and with a bit of luck they could have come away with all three points.
They did have the best chance of the game, five minutes into the second-half. The direct running of Conor Power and the trickery of Cathal Sheehan caused Moyne problems all game, and it was the latter who jinked his way into the box before being taken down for a penalty.
Given the recent rain, the pitch was in as good a condition as you could hope to expect but it was still slick and slippery with underfoot conditions tricky.
It means instinctive play is often easier than anticipation and that's how it transpired with the spot-kick.
Celtic captain Lee O'Neill made reasonable contact with the penalty but not the kind he would be able to apply with solid underfoot conditions.
His shot scooped up to goalkeeper Liam Kenny's left and rebounded out off the crossbar.
Earlier, Moyne looked the more likely to score but didn't exactly create a string of clear chances. James Lawless was at the heart of most of what was good about Rangers in the opening half while Jack Whiteley looked the most likely to break the deadlock.
Patrick O'Connor made a couple of fine saves from Jamie Pepper and Lawless as the first-half wore on, while Conor Power forced Kenny into a fine stop just before the break at the other end after great work by Ryan Murphy and Andrew Murphy.
As the game moved into the second-half the defending got even more impressive with tired legs keeping dangerous attackers at bay at both ends of the field. Brennan O'Neill fed Lawless in on the left but O'Connor made a sharp save three minutes after Celtic missed their penalty.
Both 'keepers made further classy stops before O'Connor produced the tackle-cum-save of the game to keep out Lawless when the dangerman was through on goal. At the other end Conor Power raced clean through with five minutes left but Kenny again made a fantastic stop to ensure the sides took a share of the spoils.
Moyne Rangers: Liam Kenny (capt.); Jack Carroll, Kyle Delaney, Cian Murphy, Lee Morris; James Lawless, Dylan Browne, Jamie Pepper, Stephen Fortune; Jack Whiteley, Brennan O'Neill. Subs. - Robert Mitchell, Fionn O'Reilly, Jack Boyne, Ben Walsh, Airidis Balicus.
New Ross Celtic: Patrick O'Connor; Jamie Hudson, Keenan Stacey, Jake Cullen, Seán Lennon; Conor Power, Lee O'Neill (capt.), Ryan Murphy, Cian Kielthy, Cathal Sheehan; Dylan Lennon. Sub. - Andrew Murphy.
Referee: Kevin Murphy.