NEFL | Quay boys off to a flying start as Smith and Comerford hit a brace apiece against Duleek
NEFL Premier Division | Quay Celtic 4–0 Duleek
Quay Celtic got the new North East Football League season off to a flying start with a 4–0 win over Duleek at a wet Clancy Park on Friday evening.
The Point Road side are looking to build on last season’s Kilmessan Shield win and they had the points wrapped up when referee Brendan Gillespie blew for half-time after a four-goal blitz that left the Meath side reeling.
There were less than two minutes played when Quay hit their first, player-manager Martin Smith pouncing on a slip by Duleek midfielder Gareth Toal to take control and send a classy left-footed finish whistling past Keith Carolan in the visitors goal.
Smith was partnered in attack by new signing Aaron Comerford — who bagged a hat trick against Woodview in the Kilmessan Shield five days earlier — and the duo combined well in the sixth minute when the former Catholic United man picked out the Quay boss at the near post but he couldn’t keep his effort down.
The hosts maintained their high tempo start and they doubled the advantage just seconds later. Smith was taken down in the penalty area and Comerford stepped up to send Carolan from the spot.
Duleek took time to get back on their feet but they enjoyed a good spell of pressure midway through the half with Quay Celtic ‘keeper John Rogers happy to see a deflected effort fly wide of his upright.
Dave Redmond, who defended well throughout, then produced a fine tackle to deny Cormac McGuigan before Barry Kavanagh beat Rogers with a cool finish only to see the effort ruled out for offside.
With Drew Duffy, Cody Magill and Niall McLaughlin patrolling in front of the backline, Quay regained control and the result was put beyond doubt in the 33rd minute. Not for the first time, Duffy’s left foot was the supply line, his corner picking out Smith who applied the finish.
There was still time for a fourth before the break. Comerford again leaving Carolan with no chance from the penalty spot after he was hacked down by Duleek centre-back Bryan Murphy.
With the points in the bag, Quay played out the second half in cruise control with the back three of Stefan McKevitt, Dean Sheil and Robbie Gavigan giving very little away.
Smith rang the changes with Johnny Lynch and Shaun O’Connor amongst the subs who were introduced. Lynch fired a half-volley just over the top in the 70th minute while another replacement, Vinny O’Connor, looked lively, threatening to get in behind the Duleek backline on a number of occasions and almost set Comerford up for another hat-trick.
Duleek offered little to suggest they would find a way back into things and the cap was put on a fine start by the Quay boys when Rogers made sure of clean sheet by tipping sub Paul Martin’s late effort over the top in the dying stages.
QUAY CELTIC: John Rogers; Stefan McKevitt, Dean Sheil (Sean Matthews 72), Robbie Gavigan; Michael Burke (Shaun O’Connor 78), Cody Magill (Johnny Lynch 60), Drew Duffy (Dennis Cholach 69), Niall McLaughlin, Dave Redmond; Aaron Comerford, Martin Smith (Vinny Smith 51). Sub not used: Eanna McArdle.
DULEEK: Keith Carolan, Jack Fitzpatrick, Craig Brodigan, Jamie Flaherty, Bryan Murphy, Gareth Toal (Aaron Keenan 51), Robbie Duffy (David Martin 51), James Guilfoyle, Barry Kavanagh, Cormac McGuigan (Paul Martin 72), Raymond Hamilton (Matthew Noonan 51). Subs not used: Colin Woods.
REFEREE: Brendan Gillespie.